Dan Goldstick

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Dan Goldstick
Palestinian Rally - 2007-06 - 01.jpg
Dan Goldstick is a member of Not In Our Name, a Jewish group opposed to Israeli Zionism
Born Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Marxist Philosophy, pre-Kantian rationalism
Main interests
marxism, ethics, epistemology, metaphysics
Notable ideas
a priori probabilities, universal impermanence thesis, Goldstickian principle of simplicity

Daniel (Danny) Goldstick is a Canadian philosopher, writer and political activist. He is currently a Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.[1]

Academic biography[edit]

Goldstick was born in Toronto. He received his B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1962, and went on to graduate studies at Oxford University, where he received a B.Phil in 1964 and D.Phil. in 1969, although he returned to Canada in 1965; his thesis, under the supervision of Alfred Jules Ayer, attempted to refute empiricism. In 1965, he took a position as a lecturer at Carleton University, and in 1967, became an assistant professor there, but in the same year he moved back to Toronto after philosophy department members David Savan and David Gauthier persuaded the other faculty to overlook his radical politics.[2]

At Toronto, Goldstick taught Marxism, synthetic apriority, and ethics. His work in philosophy centres on topics in metaphysics and epistemology. His philosophical work consists of approximately 75 papers,[2] including:

  • "Methodological Conservatism" (Am. Phil. Quart. 1971);
  • "Dialectics versus Metaphysics" (Explorations in Knowledge, 1988);
  • "Cognitive Reason" (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 1992)

He is the author of Reason, Truth, and Reality,[3] a "defense of pre-Kantian rationalism". The book asks what sort of world do we inhabit? and what moral obligations do we have? According to reviewer Peter Tramel, his effort culminates in arguments for universal impermanence, continuous deterministic causality, and utilitarianism.[4] Others claim that, "at its core, this book is addressing the Marxian concern with relating theory to practice."[5]


Dan Goldstick came from a progressive Jewish family. His mother was a lawyer and anti-war activist and friends with politicians like J. S. Woodsworth and Tim Buck. According to Hewitt (2002), Goldstick has been the subject of illicit Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) surveillance since the age of 15.[6]

As a high school student, Goldstick was a member of the National Federation of Labor Youth. He became politically involved in student movement politics at the University of Toronto while an undergraduate there in the 1950s. Later, he campaigned with a young Tariq Ali at Oxford against the Vietnam war. Since returning to Canada he has worked on many direct action campaigns including students issues like tuition reduction and elimination; against sexism, homophobia and racism such as the Dr Chun case;[7] international solidarity with the ANC, Black Panthers, Angela Davis, and FMLN; as well as electoral politics on the municipal, provincial and federal level. For many years he was involved in the University of Toronto Marxist Institute. Goldstick is currently a member of the Council of Canadians and is active in peace, anti-war, and Palestinian solidarity movements. He is a member of Not In Our Name, an anti-Zionist group and has participated each week since the mid 2000s in a picket of Chapters Indigo bookstore on Bay Street. He is a supporter of the Canadian Peace Alliance and recently presented on “Sovereignty and Global Peace” at the 2010 Canadian Peace Research Association.[8]

Advocacy of Atheism[edit]

Goldstick has been involved in debates across Canada on the existence of God. He has publicly debated writers such as Micheal R. Butler, attempting to refute Butler's Transcendental argument for God. Goldstick maintains that an omnipotent God must be able to accomplish anything, even if it entails a contradiction—genocide, famine, etc. On this account, the Christian God cannot be omnipotent and benevolent, for a benevolent, omnipotent God would have prevented the introduction of suffering into the world.[9] He is a faculty advisor of the U of T Secular Alliance and a founding member of the Humanist Association of Toronto [10]

Communist Party of Canada[edit]

Goldstick is a long-time member of the Central Committee [11] of the Communist Party of Canada and a former member of its Executive, working closely with Miguel Figueroa and Elizabeth Rowley. He has been a frequent candidate at the federal and provincial level for the CPC. Goldstick is the founding editor of the Communist Party's theoretical journal The Spark.[12] which is on its 21st edition. His recent editorials have addressed the state and nationalization, the economic crisis, and democracy.

Federal electoral record[edit]

As Slater (2005) writes,[2] Goldstick has frequently stood for office as the communist candidate in the parliamentary elections for the Rosedale district, which has approximately 100 communist voters. Although never been elected, "Red Danny" is still remembered for his sense of humor, satire and wit during public all-candidates meetings—sometimes even getting the strongest applause from audiences by the end of debates.


  1. ^ Goldstick's faculty profile at Toronto.
  2. ^ a b c Slater, John G. (2005), Minerva's aviary: philosophy at Toronto, 1843-2003, University of Toronto Press, pp. 394–395, ISBN 978-0-8020-3870-8 .
  3. ^ (University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9594-7)
  4. ^ Peter Tramel, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Oct 1st 2010, http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=18508
  5. ^ http://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/pir/article/view/2145/80Melanson, Glen (2010), Philosophy in Review, Daniel Goldstick, Reason Truth Reality, University of Victoria, pp. 266–268 . 0
  6. ^ Hewitt, Steve (2002), Spying 101: the RCMP's secret activities at Canadian universities, 1917–1997, University of Toronto Press, pp. 122–123, ISBN 978-0-8020-4149-4 .
  7. ^ http://www.communist-party.ca/english/pv/oct1_00_univtoro.html
  8. ^ http://programs.congress2010.ca/downloader.php?id=147
  9. ^ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1468-2265.00152/abstract?systemMessage=Due+to+scheduled+maintenance+access+to+the+Wiley+Online+Library+may+be+disrupted+as+follows:+Saturday,+16+October+-+New+York+0700+EDT+to+0900+EDT;+London+1200+BST+to+1400+BST;+Singapore+1900+SGT+to+2100+SGT.
  10. ^ http://humanist.toronto.on.ca/newsletters/newsletter41.html
  11. ^ http://drdawgsblawg.blogspot.com/2008/11/old-home-week.html
  12. ^ The Spark, Editorials http://thesparkjournal.blogspot.com/search/label/Editorials