Metaphysical Society of America

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The Metaphysical Society of America is a philosophical organization founded by Paul Weiss in 1950. As stated in its constitution, "The purpose of the Metaphysical Society of America is the study of reality." The society is a member of the American Council of Learned Societies. Philosophers may join by contacting the Secretary of the Society.

Early history and purpose[edit]

In his opening address, "The Four-Fold Art of Avoiding Questions," Paul Weiss spoke of the need for a society that would reinvigorate philosophic inquiry. He denounced "parochialism," referring to those who insisted upon "some one method, say that of pragmatism, instrumentalism, idealism, analysis, linguistics or logistics, and denied the importance of meaningfulness of anything which lies beyond its scope or power," as well as those who confined their studies to only some historic era.

Early in the history of the Society, there was some dispute about whether certain schools of thought should be included in the program. By the second meeting there was controversy regarding papers by logicians, a controversy possibly fueled by the dominance of positivism in that decade. Before 1960, there had been some fear of admitting the existential metaphysics. However, as Paul Weiss remarked in 1969, the Society had succeeded in accomplishing metaphysical diversity:

Gradually and persistently, year after year, men of the most diverse backgrounds and commitments exhibited the strengths and weaknesses of their doctrines and methods. Every year, men from all over the United States met to engage in original and historic studies of basic questions regarding the nature of knowledge and reality.

A book on the history of the Society, Being in America: Sixty Years of the Metaphysical Society, was published by Rodopi in 2014 in its Histories and Addresses of Philosophical Societies Series.

Presidents and addresses[edit]

Year President Presidential Address[1]
1952 Paul Weiss "The Past: Its Nature and Reality"
1953 Paul Weiss "The Contemporary World"
1954 John Wild "The New Empiricism and Human Time"
1955 Charles Hartshorne "Some Empty Though Important Thoughts"
1956 Newton Stallenacht "The Quality of Man"
1957 George Klubertanz "The Problem of the Analogy of Being"
1958 William Ernest Hocking "Fact, Field and Destiny: Inductive Elements of Metaphysics"
1959 Rudolph Allers "The Subjective and the Objective"
1960 Richard McKeon "Being, Existence, and That Which Is"
1961 Henry Veatch "Matrix, Matter, And Method in Metaphysics"
1962 James Collins "The Bond of Natural Being"
1963 Donald Williams "Necessary Facts"
1964 Peter Bertocci "Toward a Metaphysics of Creation"
1965 Francis Parker "The Temporal Being of Western Man"
1966 Robert Brumbaugh "Applied Metaphysics: Truth and Passing Time"
1967 John Herman Randall, Jr. "Metaphysics and Language"
1968 W. Norris Clarke, S.J. "The Self as Source of Meaning in Metaphysics"
1969 Errol Harris "The Power of Reason"
1970 Richard Hocking "Event, Act and Presence"
1971 John E. Smith "Being, Immediacy and Articulation"
1972 Joseph Owens "Reality and Metaphysics"
1973 Roderick Chisholm "Parts as Essential to Their Wholes"
1974 Ernan McMullin "Two Faces of Science"
1975 J. N. Findlay "The Three Hypostases of Platonism"
1976 Marjorie Grene "Merleau-Ponty and the Renewal of Ontology"
1977 Wilfrid Sellars "Being as Becoming: Towards a Metaphysics of Pure Reason"
1978 Andrew Reck "Being And Substance"
1979 John Compton "Reinventing the Philosophy of Nature"
1980 Kenneth L. Schmitz "A Moment of Truth: Present Actuality"
1981 Ivor Leclerc "The Metaphysics of the Good"
1982 Thomas Langan "A Strategy for the Pursuit of Truth"
1983 Richard T. De George "Social Reality and Social Relations"
1984 Jude P. Doughterty "Structure: Substantial and Other"
1985 R. M. Martin "The Metaphysical Status of Mathematical Entities"
1986 George L. Kline "Past, Present and Future as Categorical Terms and the Fallacy of the Actual Future"
1987 Edward Pols "On Knowing Directly: The Actualization of First Philosophy"
1988 Richard Bernstein "Metaphysics, Critique and Utopia"
1989 Robert Neville "Value, Courage and Leadership"
1990 Robert Sokolowski "The Question of Being"
1991 Stanley Rosen "Is Metaphysics Possible"
1992 Mary T. Clark "An Inquiry Into Personhood"
1993 Ralph McInerny "The Science We Are Seeking"
1994 Donald Sherburne "Some Reflections on Sartre's Nothingness and Whitehead's Perishing"
1995 William Desmond "Being, Determination and Dialectic: On The Sources of Metaphysical Thinking"
1996 Sandra Rosenthal "Self, Community, and Time: A Shared Sociality"
1997 John Lachs "Valuational Species"
1998 Eugene Thomas Long "Quest for Transcendence"
1999 Oliva Blanchette "Suarez and the Latent Essentialism of Heidegger's Fundamental Ontology"
2000 George Allan "Perishable Goods"
2001 Jorge Gracia "Are Categories Invented or Discovered? A Response to Foucault"
2002 James Felt "Epochal Time and The Continuity of Experience"
2003 Vincent Colapietro "Striving to Speak in a Human Voice: A Peircean Contribution to Metaphysical Discourse"
2004 Frederick Ferre "The Practicality of Metaphysics"
2005 Nicholas Rescher "Textuality, Reality and the Limits of Knowledge"
2006 John Wippel "Thomas Aquinas on the Ultimate Question: Why is there anything at all rather than nothing whatsoever?"
2007 Lenn Goodman "Value and the Dynamics of Being"
2008 Joseph Grange "The Generosity of the Good"
2009 Donald Verene "Metaphysics and the Origin of Culture"
2010 Dan Dahlstrom "Being and Negation"
2011 Thomas R. Flynn "Whatever Happened to Humanism? Reconciling the Being of Language and the Being of Man"
2012 Edward Halper "Reason and the Rationality of Being"
2013 May Sim "Metaphysics and Ethics, East and West"
2014 Alan White "Rearticulating Being"
2015 Richard Dien Winfield "Self-determination in Logic and Reality"
2016 George R. Lucas, Jr.

Since the founding of the Metaphysical Society, presidential addresses have been published in the Review of Metaphysics, which was also founded by Paul Weiss.

References[edit]

External links[edit]