Margaret Atherton, UWM distinguished professor of philosophy, delivered the 2017 John Dewey lecture at the American Philosophical Association Central Division meeting on March 2.
She credited the reputation of UWM’s philosophy department as a major reason for being selected. Although the department doesn’t grant doctoral degrees, its master’s program has been instrumental in preparing students for further work.
“I have to say our success has been astounding,” she said. “Our students have been placed at all of the prominent universities that do offer Ph.D.s.”
Atherton spoke on “My History: Becoming an Historian of Philosophy,” and described it as an upbeat account of how her field has changed during her career.
“In the ’60s, people viewed texts as though they were written yesterday, but we developed a new approach,” Atherton said. “People started to realize that you had to broaden the context that you are looking at to include the areas that today we don’t count as part of philosophy.”
John Dewey lectures are sponsored by the John Dewey Foundation and presented annually at APA divisional meetings. Each John Dewey lecture is given by a prominent and senior philosopher associated with that division, and lecturers reflect broadly and in an autobiographical spirit on philosophy in America.