Authority on African American Philosophy to Give WSU Potter Lecture

PULLMAN, Wash. — “Is There Such a Thing as African American Philosophy? A Debate
with Michael Roth and Lucius Outlaw” is the title of the 38th Potter Memorial Lecture at
Washington State University. The lecture will be delivered by Haverford College professor
Lucius Outlaw Jr. at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in Todd Auditorium.
In the lecture, Outlaw will review a debate between himself and Michael Roth, of Franklin
and Marshall College, conducted through an exchange of letters over a two-year period. Roth
argued that there is no subfield of philosophy that can properly be called African American
philosophy, and Outlaw argued that there can be and is. The letters were published in
“Academic Questions.”
Outlaw is the T. Wistar Brown Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College in
Pennsylvania. He specializes in African, African American, and social and political philosophy,
as well as the history of philosophy in the West. He earned an undergraduate degree in
philosophy from Fisk University in Nashville in 1967, and a doctorate from Boston College in
1972. He has been a member of the faculty at Morgan State University, Fisk, and a visiting
professor at Spelman College, Howard University and Hamilton College. He served as the David
S. Nelson Professor of Boston College for two years.
His recent essays have been published in Philosophical Forum, the Journal of Social
Philosophy, the Journal of Ethics and in several anthologies. Several of his essays were included
in the collection “On Race and Philosophy” published by Routledge. He is completing a book
entitled “Race, Reason and Order” that explores the conceptions of race held by several major
Western philosophers.
On Sept. 24, Outlaw will present a Department of Philosophy seminar at 3:30 p.m. in Avery
Hall’s Bundy Reading Room. He will lead the group in reading and discussing an essay by
W.E.B. DuBois. Copies of the essay will be provided at the door.
The Frank Potter Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy.
Professor Potter came to Washington State College in 1912 and, shortly before his retirement in
1949, was instrumental in founding the Department of Philosophy. Potter and his wife were
known for their work with students, many who later became Rhodes Scholars. The Potter
Memorial Lectureship was initiated shortly after his death in 1959 by an anonymous gift from a
former student.