Summary and Info
Contrary to popular belief, professional philosophers want and need to be heard. Lacking a large and general public in this country, they turn to audiences of peers and rivals. But these audiences are found either in giant, unfocused professional bodies, or in restrictive groups of specialists. In this respect, the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy can claim a unique role among academic organizations in this country. Now in its tenth year, it has become one of the most important forums in America for the open exchange of ideas. The Society has grown considerably since its founding, and its annual meetings attract scholars in philosophy and other disciplines from across the country and abroad. But these meetings differ markedly from others: too large to be dominated by any single clique or doctrine, they are at the same time small enough to encourage lively discussion within its organized sessions and not just in the corridors outside. The Society derives its focus from the two closely allied philosophical "directions" indicated in its title. Yet from the beginning it has included in its meetings a sizeable number of contributors who are not identified with or even sympathetic to these directions, but are at least willing to engage in a dialogue with those who are. Furthermore, the Society has accomplished to a limited degree something rare indeed in American intellectual life: an interdisciplinary ex- 2 INTRODUCTION change.
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