Crispin Sartwell

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Crispin Gallagher Sartwell (born 1958) is an American philosopher, self-professed individualist anarchist[1] and journalist. He received his B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park, his M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia—where his dissertation supervisor was Richard Rorty—-and is currently a member of the faculty of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.


Born in Washington, D.C., he is the son of the late Franklin Gallagher Sartwell, a reporter, editor, and photographer with the Washington Star and several magazines. His grandfather, also Franklin Gallagher Sartwell, was a columnist and editorial page editor at the Washington Times-Herald. His great-grandfather, Herman Bernstein broke the story of a secret correspondence between Kaiser Wilhelm and Czar Nicholas during World War I in The New York Times.[2] Sartwell himself worked as a copy boy at the Washington Star and later as a freelance rock critic for many publications, including Record Magazine and Melody Maker. He has taught philosophy, communication and political science at a number of schools, including Vanderbilt University, The University of Alabama, Penn State, Millersville, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Dickinson College.

His mother, Joyce Abell, and stepfather, Richard Abell, were schoolteachers in Montgomery County, Maryland and organic vegetable farmers in Rappahannock County, Virginia. Richard Abell was a conscientious objector during World War 2. Sartwell's first wife was artist Rachael K. Pats, with whom he has two children, Emma and Samuel Sartwell. His second wife was author Marion Winik. He lives in rural Pennsylvania.


Sartwell's syndicated column, distributed by Creators Syndicate, appeared in numerous newspapers through the 1990s and 2000s, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and Los Angeles Times. Among the most idiosyncratic newspaper columnists of the period, he is a self-described adherent of anarchism. Sartwell acquired a reputation as an epistemologist, whose basic ideas on knowledge involve "three central claims: (1) knowledge is the ultimate goal--the telos--of inquiry; (2) knowledge is true belief; and (3) justification is merely a means for arriving at true belief".[3] Particularly the claim that knowledge equates to true belief has garnered some attention.[4][5]


  • The Art of Living. Albany: SUNY, 1995.
  • Obscenity, Anarchy, Reality. Albany: SUNY, 1996.[6][7]
  • Act Like You Know: African-American Autobiography and White Identity. Chicago, University of Chicago P, 1998.[8][9][10]
  • End of Story: Toward an Annihilation of Language and History. Albany: SUNY, 2000.
  • Extreme Virtue: Leadership and Truth in Five Great American Lives. Albany: SUNY, 2003.
  • Six Names of Beauty. New York: Routledge, 2004.
  • Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Voltairine de Cleyre — Anarchist, Feminist, Genius (Co-edited with Sharon Presley). Albany: SUNY, 2005.
  • Against the State: An Introduction to Anarchist Political Theory. Albany: SUNY, 2008.
  • Political Aesthetics. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2010.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sartwell, Crispin. Against the State: An Introduction to Anarchist Political Theory. SUNY Press, 2008. p. 14
  2. ^ The Willy-Nicky Correspondence, with a forward by Teddy Roosevelt (Toronto: S.B. Gundy, 1918)
  3. ^ Hofmann, Frank (2005). "Epistemic Means and Ends: In Defense of Some Sartwellian Insights". Synthese 146 (3): 357–69. 
  4. ^ Le Morvan, Pierre (2002). "Is Mere True Belief Knowledge?". Erkenntnis 56 (2): 151–68. 
  5. ^ Lycan, William G. (1994). "Sartwell's Minimalist Analysis of Knowing". Philosophical Studies 73 (1): 1–3. 
  6. ^ Stuhr, John J. (1996). "Rev. of Sartwell, Obscenity, Anarchy, Reality". The Personalist Forum 12 (2): 191–92. 
  7. ^ Jeffrey, Timm (1997). "Rev. of Sartwell, Obscenity, Anarchy, Reality". Philosophy East and West 47 (3): 447–48. 
  8. ^ Lazarre, Jane (1999). "Rev. of Sartwell, Act Like You Know". American Literature 71 (3): 598–99. 
  9. ^ Watkins, James H. (1999). "Rev. of Sartwell, Act Like You Know". South Atlantic Review 64 (1): 176–79. 
  10. ^ Olney, James (1999). "Rev. of Sartwell, Act Like You Know". African American Review 33 (4): 696–97. 
  11. ^ Voice, Paul (2011). "Rev. of Sartwell, Political Aesthetics". The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69 (4): 434=36. 

External links[edit]

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