Dedicated to the philosophy of John William Miller, this website is a comprehensive resource on Miller’s career and thought. Inside is information about Miller’s life, teaching practice, and philosophy. Also available is a wealth of more detailed material including bibliographies, archival resources, and other items of interest to those considering Miller’s philosophy. Select any of the pages from the above menu and peruse the gathered materials. Information on essay prizes, research fellowships, and travel stipends are on the menu to the right. Please contact the Fund with proposals and to inquire about funding in these three categories.
What’s New in Print
The Journal of Speculative Philosophy
In a recent number of The Journal of Speculative Philosophy (v. 26, no. 4, 2012: 589-626) there is an essay by Joseph P. Fell titled “Some Thoughts on the Modern Mind.” In the essay Fell considers the supposed eclipse of modern intelligence (founded intellectually by René Descartes) by post-modernism and then takes this examination as an opportunity to assess the value of Miller’s thought within that context.
Katie Terezakis’s essay, “Knowledge and Authority in the Metaphysics of John William Miller” was published in The Pluralist (vol. 7, no. 3, 2012, pp. 55-76). (The Pluralist is the official journal of the Society of the Advancement of American Philosophy.) In the essay, Terezakis reconstructs Miller’s actualist account of semiotic order and human agency, and she argues that Miller’s actualism is best understood as an extension of the “metacritique” brought against Kant’s transcendental idealism. In so doing, Terezakis establishes the distinction between the epistemically authoritative and the destructively authoritarian. The understanding of this distinction, she argues, is crucial to grasping the symbolic modes of control practiced in all attempts to organize and convey meaning.
What’s New Online
Researchers and readers can now scan the finding guide to the Miller Papers online. (Click here to access the finding guide or go to the Web page of Archives and Special Collections at Williams College.) The find guide provides basic information on the contents of the archival collection including the titles of items, their date, and the basic subject matter addressed by each item. The online guide will be an invaluable aid to those planning their research or searching for an overlooked piece of writing.
What’s New in Presentations
At the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, a group of scholars presented on the theme of “Action and Historical Absolutes: Existential Strains in American Philosophy.” Topics addressed were:
- “Habit, Relaxation, and the Open Mind: James and the Increments of Ethical Freedom” by Megan Craig
- “Existentialism Comes (Again) to America: From Emerson to Miller, from Sartre to Fell” by Michael J. McGandy
- “Royce on Being-with-Others: The Sociality of Self and Nature” by Mark D. Moorman
Michael J. McGandy, Katie Terezakis, and Stephen Tyman presented on the topic of “An American Existentialism: John William Miller’s Philosophy of the Act” at the 51st annual meeting of Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. The meeting took place in Rochester. (The program can be seen here.) The papers presented were:
- “Embodiment, Language, and Demonry in Miller’s Actualism” by Katie Terezakis
- “John William Miller and the Problem of Freedom” by Stephen Tyman
- “John William Miller, C. I. Lewis, and the Existential Inheritance of the
Golden Age” by Michael J. McGandy
The papers by Terezakis and Tyman are accessible via the linked titles.
Four scholars presented papers at the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. The title of the panel was “John William Miller’s Actualism and the Genealogy of Idealism” and explored a crucial genealogy of idealism. Idealism has always been a provocative but flawed way to articulate the order of experience as well as our own compulsion to order experience. A more nuanced, earthy, and, indeed, pragmatic approach to idealism, such as that offered by Miller, the panelists argued, casts great light not only on the history of idealism but also on its future prospects.
The four papers can be accessed by means of the following links:
- “John William Miller, C. I. Lewis, and the Inheritance of the Golden Age” by Michael J. McGandy
- “Idealist Affinities: John William Miller and Josiah Royce” by Mark D. Moorman
- “John William Miller and the Metacritical Initiative” by Katie Terezakis
- “John William Miller and Henri Bergson on Activity and Consciousness” by Stephen Tyman
What’s New with the Fund Committee
Three members were recently welcomed to the Committee: Douglas Brockway (son of original Chair, George P. Brockway), Sylvia Kennick Brown (Williams College Archivist), and Katie Terezakis (Associate Professor of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology).
S. Cushing Strout, Jr.
At the age of 90, S. Cushing Strout, Jr., passed away on November 21, 2013. Cushing was a graduate of Williams College (class of 1945) and he took his doctorate in English literature from Harvard University. At the height of his career at Cornell University, he was named Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters, and he was the author of several important books, including Making American Tradition: Visions & Revisions from Ben Franklin to Alice Walker and The Veracious Imagination: Essays on American History, Literature, and Biography. Cushing served as a committee member of the John William Miller Fellowship Fund for more than three decades. He is survived by his wife Jean.
Cornell University has posted this obituary.
Cushing will be sorely missed by the members of the Miller Fund Committee.