Curt John Ducasse

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Curt John Ducasse
Curt John Ducasse.jpg
Born(1881-07-07)July 7, 1881
DiedSeptember 3, 1969(1969-09-03) (aged 88)
Alma materUniversity of Washington
Harvard University
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic philosophy
InstitutionsUniversity of Washington
Brown University
Doctoral advisorJosiah Royce[1]
Doctoral studentsRichard Cartwright[2]
Main interests
Philosophy of mind, aesthetics, philosophy of religion
Notable ideas
Philosophical examination of the idea of life after death

Curt John Ducasse (French: [dykas]; 7 July 1881 – 3 September 1969) was a French-born American philosopher who taught at the University of Washington and Brown University.[3]


Ducasse was born in Angoulême, France. He obtained A.B. and A.M. degrees in philosophy from University of Washington. In 1912, he obtained his PhD from Harvard University.[3]

He is most notable for his work in philosophy of mind and aesthetics. His influence can be seen in the work of Roderick Chisholm and Wilfrid Sellars. Ducasse served as the president of the Eastern division of the American Philosophical Association (1939–40) and president of the Philosophy of Science Association (1958–61).[3]

Ducasse was influenced by William James and Josiah Royce.[4]


Ducasse wrote on parapsychology. He joined the American Society for Psychical Research in 1951 and served a term as vice president beginning in 1966.

His book A Critical Examination of the Belief in a Life After Death is a philosophical attempt to examine the idea of life after death.[5] In it he expressed his belief in survival.[3] The book was praised by parapsychologists.[6] Criticism came from philosopher Corliss Lamont who asserted that some of the content was based on wishful thinking.[7]

Ducasse was a believer in reincarnation. Science writer Martin Gardner observed that Ducasse was notable for "combining nonbelief in God with a belief in the preexistence and the afterlife of human souls."[8]


  • Ducasse, Causation and the Types of Necessity, (1924)
  • Ducasse, The Philosophy of Art, (1929)
  • Ducasse, Philosophy as a Science, (1941)
  • Ducasse, Art, the Critics, and You, (1944)
  • Ducasse, Is a Life After Death Possible?, (1948)
  • Ducasse, Nature, Mind, and Death, (1951)
  • Ducasse, A Philosophical Scrutiny of Religion, (1953)
  • Ducasse, A Critical Examination of the Belief in a Life after Death, (1961)
  • Ducasse, Truth, Knowledge, and Causation, (1968)


  1. ^ Peter H. Hare, Edward H. Madden (eds.), Causing, Perceiving and Believing, Springer, 2012, p. 6.
  2. ^ John R. Shook (ed.), Dictionary Of Modern American Philosophers, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005, p. 444.
  3. ^ a b c d Chisholm, R. M. (1970). C. J. Ducasse (1881-1969). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 30: 631–633.
  4. ^ Shook, J. R. (2010). "Peter Hare on the Philosophy of Curt John Ducasse". Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society. Vol. 46, No. 1, A Symposium in Memory of Peter H. Hare / Joseph Palencik & Russell Pryba, Guest Editors. pp. 47–52.
  5. ^ Flew, Antony. (1962). Review of A Critical Examination of the Belief in a Life After Death. The Philosophical Review 71: 402–404.
  6. ^ Price, H. H. (1963). Review of A Critical Examination of the Belief in a Life after Death. Philosophy East and West 12: 362–364.
  7. ^ Lamont, Corliss. (1962). Review of A Critical Examination of the Belief in a Life after Death. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 13: 244–248.
  8. ^ Gardner, Martin. (2009). When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish: And Other Speculations About This and That. Hill & Wang. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-374-53241-3

Further reading[edit]

  • Frederick C. Dommeyer. (1966). Current Philosophical Issues: Essays in Honor of Curt John Ducasse. Thomas.
  • P. H. Hare and Edward H. Madden. (1975). Causing, Perceiving and Believing: An Examination of the Philosophy of C. J. Ducasse. Springer.
  • Barry, Jay, Gentlemen Under the Elms, Brown University, 1982. (Chapter 10 is a profile and biography of Ducasse, with photographs).

External links[edit]