An important part of the development of this site is guided by what visitors contribute in terms of new articles on and references to Miller. Visitors are encouraged to contribute any information that might add to this site, as well direct as any queries, to The John William Miller Fund.
The Journal of Speculative Philosophy
In the most 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 recently 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.
In March four scholars presented papers at the annual meeting, in New York City, 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
In November 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.
The annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy concluded on March 9. A group of scholars, including Michael J. McGandy, 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
New Chair and Members
In the past months the advisory committee of the Fund has undergone a change of leadership and the introduction of new members. In May, after 13 years of inspired stewardship, Joseph P. Fell stepped down as chair of the Fund Committee. Michael J. McGandy succeeded him and is the third Chair of the Committee. In addition, three new members were voted on 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).
Eugene R. Miller
At the age of 87, Eugene R. Miller, son of John William Miller, passed away on July 26, 2012. Eugene followed his father in studying philosophy at Harvard University and went on to have a successful career in journalism. His support of the John William Miller Fund Committee began with the inception of the Fund and he served as a committee member from 1984 until his death. He is survived by two sons, three grandchildren, and his brother Paul Miller. He will be sorely missed.
A full obituary, published in the Shelton Herald, is available 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.