bad old days

by newschoolphilosophy

The philosophy department at the New School has long been unconventional and thus sometimes controversial. But it is not nearly so controversial today as it once was. As John McCumber reports in his book Time in the Ditch: American Philosophy and the McCarthy Era (Northwestern UP 2001, p.51),

[The dismissal of the philosophical canon by American philosophy departments] provided another, more timely motive for anguish among the people who met in January 1978 in the Manhattan apartment of Charles Sherover, a professor at Hunter College. An accrediting committee of the state of New York – its personnel supplied by the APA – had just visited the philosophy department at the New School for Social Research. The committee had recommended that the program be disaccredited, on the grounds that it was so far removed from the mainstream of American philosophy as to be overspecialized and sectarian.

We “party line continental” philosophers might still be underrepresented in certain places – no graduates of the New School currently teach at Ivy League schools for example – but things are better than they used to be in the bad old days.