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Rebirth of Reason

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Post 20

Sunday, May 20, 2012 - 8:10amSanction this postReply
Mmmmm ... yummie, yummie, yummie!

These morsels look g-o-o-d!


Thanks, Stephen.

[can't wait until 2013]

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Post 21

Saturday, August 31 - 3:38amSanction this postReply

Allan Gotthelf (December 30, 1942 – August 30, 2013)

Fond memories of Allan, with highest esteem and appreciation. His written works,* and the younger generation of scholars he assisted, will continue to expand my understanding.

From the festschrift for him, Being, Nature, and Life in Aristotle (2010):
    Allan Gotthelf was born in Brooklyn during the glory years of the Brooklyn Dodgers—he recalls attending games at Ebbets Field, once watching Jackie Robinson (who joined the Dodgers’ roster in 1947) steal home, and forming an informal “Gill Hodges Fan Club” with two friends. But as passionate as he was for sports, his true love was understanding things at the deepest level, and after doing three years of junior high school in two he attended the justly famous Stuyvesant High School, with its rigorous training in mathematics and science, from 1956 to 1959. . . .

    Prior to discovering philosophy, Allan focused his thirst for understanding on mathematics and physics, and in 1959, at the age of sixteen, he entered Brooklyn College, intending to major in physics, but shifting after he arrived toward theoretical mathematics. During the summer of 1961 he read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, which influenced him to redirect his intellectual focus toward philosophy. He graduated in 1963 with a Major in Mathematics and a Minor in Philosophy, having taken classes in philosophy with Martin Lean and John Hospers. Though he had decided to pursue an advanced degree in philosophy, he had a strong interest in philosophy of mathematics and had already accepted a graduate assistantship at Penn State in mathematics. So after completing his MA in mathematics there in one year, he entered the graduate program in philosophy at Columbia University in 1964.

    . . . He eventually settled on “Aristotle’s Conception of Final Causality” as the topic for his dissertation, and received his Ph.D. in 1975. An essay based on his dissertation won the dissertation essay prize of the Review of Metaphysics and was published in its 1976/7 volume. . . .

From his Preface to Teleology, First Principles, and Scientific Method in Aristotle’s Biology (2012):
    In 1961, midway through my undergraduate studies, I read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I loved the novel. It glowed with respect for the mind, and for much else that I valued or came to value. Rand loved Aristotle, and that love permeated especially her later writings, from Atlas Shrugged on. . . .

    I started reading Aristotle myself and found much of profound value philosophically, certainly more than I had found in the contemporary philosophy materials I studied for my regular courses. I had been fortunate to meet and get to know Rand, and I talked with her about Aristotle (and much else) on and off over the next fifteen or so years. Two ideas I would like to highlight here that attracted me to Aristotle from the beginning (in the first case, with the help of Rand’s own discussion of the issues) were: (i) an understanding of causality and explanation in terms not of events and laws but of things with natures and potentials; and (ii) the idea that developed human knowledge takes the form of axiomatically structured bodies of understanding, which reflect a grasp of the essential natures and potentials of the relevant things (including their attributes), a grasp acquired through systematic sensory observation and a broadly inductive methodology.

    And so began an adventure . . . .

Post 22

Thursday, September 5 - 3:56amSanction this postReply
From The Times, Trenton:

Philosopher Allan Stanley Gotthelf died of cancer at age 70 on Friday, Aug. 30, at his home in Philadelphia, in the company of his dear friend Cassandra Love. A memorial service will be held Saturday, Sept. 7, at 10 a.m. at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan, NY; burial will be at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, NY, at 3 p.m. He is survived by Ronald and Cassandra Love, and their sons Zach and Ian Barber (whom Allan regarded as his family), by his many friends and students, and by his sister, Joan Gotthelf Price.

From The New York Times:

David Charles (Oxford University) speaks of Gotthelf's "decisive role in the renaissance of scholarly and philosophical interest in Aristotle's biological writings," and Alan Code (Stanford University) comments that "no scholar has had a deeper and more lasting impact on the scholarly understanding of Aristotle's biological corpus than Allan Gotthelf." Gotthelf made this impact through a series of path-breaking essays now collected in Teleology, First Principles, and Scientific Method in Aristotle's Biology (Oxford University Press, 2012) and through the conferences and workshops he organized. These events formed the basis for two books: Philosophical Issues In Aristotle's Biology (Cambridge University Press, 1987), which Gotthelf co-edited with James G. Lennox (The University of Pittsburgh), and Aristotle on Nature and Living Things (Mathesis, 1985). The latter book, which Gotthelf edited, was in honor of his friend and mentor David Balme (University of London), and after Balme's death in 1989, Gotthelf shepherded several of his projects to publication. In 2004, Gotthelf's "contributions to the study of classical philosophy and science" were celebrated at a conference at the University of Pittsburgh, which led to the volume: Being, Nature, and Life in Aristotle: Essays in Honor of Allan Gotthelf (Cambridge University Press, 2010), edited by Lennox and Robert Bolton (Rutgers University). Gotthelf met Ayn Rand in 1962, in connection with lectures on her philosophy that he attended. Rand took an active interest in philosophy students, and over the next 15 years, he had the opportunity for long philosophical discussions with her. Gotthelf is one of two friends whose expressions of interest Rand said prompted her to write Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, which has become one of history's best-selling works on epistemology. Gotthelf was an active participant in Rand's famous 1969-71 Workshops on that book, an edited transcript of which now appears as an appendix to the book's second edition (Plume, 1990). Gotthelf was a founding member of the Ayn Rand Society, a group affiliated with the American Philosophical Association, and he held the Society's highest office from 1990 until his death. Since April of 2013, he has shared that office with Gregory Salmieri (Boston University), his former student and frequent collaborator. Gotthelf co-edited (with Lennox), and contributed essays to, the first two volumes of the Society's ongoing Philosophical Studies series, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. He is the author of On Ayn Rand (Wadsworth, 2000), and is co-editor (with Salmieri) of Ayn Rand: A Companion to Her Works and Thought (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming).

(Edited by Stephen Boydstun on 9/05, 4:32am)

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