John J. McDermott (philosopher)

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John Joseph McDermott (born January 5, 1932) is an American philosopher and a professor at Texas A&M University. He has been a distinguished professor at Texas A&M since 1981 and holds the Melbern G. Glasscock Chair in the Humanities.


McDermott grew up in New York City as the first of eight children in a lower-middle class family.[1] He earned an undergraduate degree in 1953 at St. Francis College. He went to Fordham University to complete a master's degree and a Ph.D. in the late 1950s. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Union Theological Graduate School. McDermott joined the faculty of Queens College, City University of New York, where he stayed until he took a position at Texas A&M University as philosophy professor and department head in 1977.[2]

A focus of McDermott's work is the connection between American philosophy and culture. He has compiled and introduced volumes of writing by William James, Josiah Royce and John Dewey.[3] He was president of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy from 1978 to 1980.[4] He is a past president of the William James Society.[5] In 2016, he was awarded the society's first Lifetime Achievement Award.[6]

At Texas A&M, McDermott called the school's first faculty meeting in 1983. That meeting resulted in the formation of the school's faculty senate and McDermott was the group's first speaker.[1] That year he won a Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching from the university.[7] In 2012, McDermott was named the founding director of the school's Community of Faculty Retirees.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Blackwell, Monika (October 16, 2014). "A tapestry of woven tales: The legacy of John J. McDermott". Texas A&M Today. Texas A&M University. Retrieved May 17, 2016. 
  2. ^ Shook, John R., ed. (2010). "McDermott, John Joseph". The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 9780199754663. Retrieved May 17, 2016. 
  3. ^ Lachs, John; Talisse, Robert B. (2008). American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 492. ISBN 9781135948870. Retrieved May 17, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Officers". Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. Retrieved May 17, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Annual Meetings". William James Society. Retrieved May 17, 2016. 
  6. ^ "News: 2016". William James Society. Retrieved May 17, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Distinguished Achievement Award winners". Texas A&M University. Retrieved May 18, 2016.