Overview of 20th Century Philosophy Topic of WSU Potter Lectures

PULLMAN, Wash. — “Philosophy at the End of the Twentieth Century: Retrospect and Prospect” is the title of the 39th Potter Memorial Lecture at Washington State University. Temple University philosophy professor Jitendranath Mohanty will deliver the lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, in the Compton Union Building’s Cascade Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.

In his Potter address, Mohanty will discuss how philosophy at the beginning of the 20th century confronted the question of whether consciousness or language should be the most primary consideration for philosophizing. He will address his belief that much of that discussion was born of misunderstandings and examine whether a return to Hegel’s notion of geist holds promise for philosophy in this century.

In addition, at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, in the CUB, Room 232, Mohanty will present a public discussion of his current thinking under the title “My Philosophical Position Today.”

Mohanty took his bachelor’s degree with honors, as well as his master’s degree, at Presidency College in Calcutta, India. He then earned a doctorate at the University of Göttingen in Germany. His work spans German Idealism and phenomenology, philosophy of language and logic, and Indian philosophy, making him a leading figure in the field of comparative philosophy. Among his books are “Nicolai Hartmann and A.N. Whitehead” (1957), “Edmund Husserl’s Theory of Meaning” (1964), “The Concept of Intentionality” (1972), “Husserl and Frege” (1982), and “Reason and Tradition in Indian Thought” (1992). “Classical Indian Philosophy” and “The Self and Its Other” are both in production.

Mohanty is a member of the Institut International de Philosophie of Paris. He was president of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy and president of the Indian Philosophical Congress. He won the Humboldt Prize in Philosophy from the German government, and has been a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College at Oxford University. Since 1996, he has held the title of Woodruff Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies at Emory University.

The Frank Potter Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy. 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, Irene, were known for their work with students 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.