Keith Lehrer ’60 Ph.D.
At seventy-four Keith Lehrer is looking retirement in the eye. He’s practiced, written, and taught philosophy for the past fifty years, twenty-six of them at the University of Arizona. He has written seven books (his classic Theory of Knowledge has just been reissued) as well as 150 articles, and he has edited another ten books and most of the major journals in his field—inspiring others to write three volumes of essays about his thought.
Asked how he’d like to be remembered, Lehrer answers: “I’d like to be seen as a philosopher who began thinking, as a very young man, about freedom and autonomy and who turned to the quest for knowledge. I want to be seen as a defender of the coherence theory of knowledge: knowledge as a system that enables us to fit things together.”
Roderick M. Chisholm ’38
For more than half a century, until his death in 1999, Rod Chisholm explored the intricacies of epistemology. His was not the armchair sort of philosophy: it examined abstract ideas with great clarity and precision and earned him a reputation as one of the century’s great thinkers. In 1991 Chisholm was selected as the subject of a volume in the Library of Living Philosophers, joining a select group that included Martin Buber, Albert Einstein, and Jean-Paul Sartre.
Chisholm was also a great teacher: the style of thinking he taught was so distinctive that his students—many became distinguished philosophers—delighted in being identified as “Chisholm students.” In 1975 they published a tribute, Metaphysics and Analysis: Essays in Honor of R. M. Chisholm.