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Time in the Ditch: American Philosophy and the McCarthy Era
In Time in the Ditch, John McCumber explores the effect of McCarthyism on American philosophy in the 1940s and 1950s. The possibility that the political pressures of the McCarthy era might have skewed the development of the discipline has rarely been addressed in the subsequent half century. Why was silence maintained for so long? And what happens, McCumber asks, when poli ...more
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published March 28th 2001 by Northwestern University Press
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Wholly dissatisfying on every level. For starters, McCumber takes the addresses by the Presidents to the American Philosophical Association's annual divisional meetings as indications of the content, direction, and tendencies of the "profession." Further, he takes the "profession" to include, it appears, those who publish in the big-time journals, attend and are elected to presidencies of big-time societies, but mainly of the APA. All this could confirm is the direction taken by a particular ...more
Apr 08, 2014 Matthew Linton rated it liked it
An interesting fusion of intellectual history and philosophy. McCumber seeks to explain analytic philosophy's near hegemony in the American university by looking back to its brush with McCarthyism in the 1950s. Unfortunately, McCumber largely fails to demonstrate McCarthyism's impact on philosophy instead going off on a series of (fascinating) tangents and anecdotes about his experience as a philosophy professor in the 1980s and 1990s. Not the best argued book I've ever read, but an informative ...more