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American Philosophy

This area of philosophical research has as its major focus Classical American Philosophy, namely, the thought of C.S. Pierce, W. James, J. Royce, J. Dewey, G.H. Mead, G. Santayana, and A.N. Whitehead. Dependent on the research issues, forays are made into seventeenth century Puritanism, the philosophy of Jonathan Edwards and the Eighteenth century founders of the American Republic, R.W. Emerson, and Thoreau. American Philosophy is embracive and has spawned serious research interest across all the areas of contemporary philosophy. 

Faculty doing research in American Philosophy include:

  • Robert Burch's special interests in the area of American philosophy focus on three areas (although he is interested in the whole field): 1. Peirce's mathematical logic: he has done extensive work on Peirce's existential graphs (deductive logic) and his reduction theorem.  Burch is also investigating Peirce's theory of inductive inference and estimation of risk, and the relations between Peirce's account and the alternative account, which underlies LaPlace's rule of succession as well as the mathematics underlying the great financial crisis of 2007-2008. 2. James's theory of truth and reference. 3. Royce's mathematical logic: He has investigated Royce's System Sigma in mathematical detail, and is currently writing an essay, "Royce's Canonical Example of System Sigma."

  • Daniel Conway maintains active teaching and research interests in Emerson, Thoreau, and the American transcendentalists. He also is interested in studying uniquely American experiences (and depictions) of wilderness, as found in Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Muir, Leopold, Bugbee, Kerouac, and Cavell.

  • Tommy Curry actively researches the intellectual history of African American thought from the late 1700’s to the present. His focus is specifically on the paradigmatic changes in African American thought from the Convention movement to the founding of the American Negro Academy and the Negro Society for Historical Research. Additionally, Prof. Curry has interests in the social philosophy of Josiah Royce, John Dewey, John M. Mecklin, and Franz Boas.

  • Theodore George focuses on the heritage of classical American philosophy, with emphasis on its interconnections with post-Kantian continental philosophy.

  • Claire Katz

  • John J. McDermott’s primary interest is in the cultural context of an understanding of the themes and issues in Classical American Philosophy. To that end, he traces the notion of experience from the Puritans, through Jonathan Edwards, R.W. Emerson until its efflorescence in the philosophy of W. James, J. Dewey and A.N. Whitehead. Central, as well, is the countervailing philosophy of J. Royce.

  • Gregory Pappas

Faculty in other departments doing research in American Philosophy include:

  • Bedford Clark, as General Editor of the Robert Penn Warren Correspondence Project, has a special interest in the Agrarian tradition in American thought and questions of race and the American imagination. He has a strong secondary interest in Catholic thinkers like Orestes Brownson, Dorothy Day, and Walker Percy.

  • Jerome Loving focuses on American literature of the Nineteenth Century and Early Twentieth. He particularly interested in biography and has written three critical biographies of Walt Whitman (1999), Theodore Dreiser (2005), and Mark Twain (forthcoming in 2010). Within these parameters, Loving is interested in the American Renaissance, the Civil War, Social Darwinism, and Literary Naturalism.

  • Stjepan Mestrovic's interests are to re-describe the philosophical roots of sociology's founders, especially the philosopher and first sociology professor in the world, Emile Durkheim, in ways that are cultural and sociological. He builds upon Durkheim's contemporaries, especially Thorstein Veblen, William James, and Sigmund Freud, to arrive at a notion of what Mestrovic calls "postemotional society." Mestrovic's most recent works are an application of the idea of postemotionalism to war crimes from the Balkans to the current War on Terror.

Department of Philosophy, Texas A&M University, 4237 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4237 • tel: (979) 845-5660, fax: (979) 845-0458
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