|the history of the CPC|
is now called The California Phenomenology Circle originated
in the late 1960’s and early 70’s when David Woodruff Smith
and Ronald McIntyre were writing dissertations at Stanford
with Dagfinn Føllesdal, Jaakko Hintikka, and John D.
This organization began informally and without nomenclature, though many of its members were (and continue to be) part of the “California school,” known for its analytic approach to phenomenology and Husserl studies.
This group has existed in two primary phases: From its inception to the mid 1980’s the group met in the Stanford/Berkeley area. Its later phase is marked by mostly meeting in Southern California.
The group also spun off an American Philosophical Association group in 1990 (originally The Society for the Study of Husserl’s Philosophy, now The Society for Phenomenology and Analytic Philosophy). The APA group, in close affiliation with the discussion group, has met yearly at the Pacific Division APA since 1990. Cognate APA groups at the Central and Eastern divisions were also created under the title The Society for the Study of Husserl’s Philosophy.
In the initial period, from 1968-1970, Smith and McIntyre met weekly with two other Stanford doctoral students, John Lad and Michael Sukale, and Stanford faculty members Føllesdal, Hintikka, and Goheen. They were occasionally joined by another doctoral student, Hugh Silverman, who was working on Existentialism. Some members of this group continued to meet into the 1980’s, with other participants including Hubert Dreyfus, John Searle, John Haugeland, Richard Tieszen, and Izchak Miller. Other analytic philosophers would join in occasionally, e.g., Barry Stroud and Fred Dretske.
In 1980 an NEH Summer Institute in Berkeley on “Phenomenology and Existentialism: Continental and Analytic Perspectives on Intentionality,” directed by Dreyfus and Haugeland, was convened. This was a seminal moment for the group. It brought together for the first time in a deliberate and cooperative way leading figures from the Continental and analytic traditions: lecturers and speakers included Robert Brandom, Rudiger Bubner, David Carr, John Compton, Arthur Danto, Dreyfus, Føllesdal, Harrison Hall, Haugeland, Albert Hofstader, David Hoy, McIntyre, J. N. Mohanty, Frederick Olafson, Paul Rabinow, Richard Rorty, Searle, Wilfrid Sellars, and Smith.
By the late 1980’s the group began holding meetings in Southern California, where Smith and McIntyre were now teaching. Miller was visiting at UCLA, Dallas Willard and Allan Casebier were at USC, and Martin Schwab was at UC Irvine. Arthur Szylewicz (an astute translator of Husserl and Roman Ingarden) also began attending the meetings. Around 1990 Casebier became the effective organizer. Amie Thomasson, working on her dissertation with Smith and Schwab at UC Irvine, later joined the meetings.
In 2001 Jeff Yoshimi, finishing his dissertation with Smith, began serving as the group organizer. In this period, “California Phenomenology Circle” took root as the informal organization’s name. Since 2002 the group has met 3 to 4 times a year, hosting talks with many of the original participants, their students, and other like-minded philosophers who have spent time writing and teaching in the area (such as Charles Siewert, Wayne Martin). In the 2000s, Yoshimi organized the group from UC Merced, which opened as the 10th campus of the UC system in 2005. More recently, Clinton Tolley (UCSD) has taken over organizational duties.
Meetings are now held primarily in Southern California, especially in and around the campus of UC Irvine.
The CPC lost one of its most vibrant members this past year. Dallas Willard (1935-2013) taught at USC from 1965 to 2012, and directed the School of Philosophy from 1982 to 1985. Here, he stands at USC Mudd Hall of Philosophy in 1986.