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Announcement: Installation of the Collegium Institute Anscombe Archive at the University of Pennsylvania

April 22, 2019

 

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries, the Department of Philosophy, and the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS) are pleased to announce the installation of the Collegium Institute Anscombe Archive at the University of Pennsylvania.

According to Professor Michael Weisberg, Chairperson of the Penn Department of Philosophy, G.E.M. Anscombe (1919-2001) “was, perhaps, the most significant 20th century female analytic philosopher,” a world-renowned thinker whose “work spans many areas of contemporary concern especially in moral philosophy, the theory of free will, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of language.” Professor Weisberg also noted that while Anscombe “is primarily associated with Oxbridge, she and her husband Peter Geach-an accomplished philosopher in his own right-were regular visitors to Penn in the 70s and 80s.” Finally, speaking for himself and many other Penn colleagues, Professor Weisberg expressed being “thrilled” at the “prospect of Anscombe’s archive … coming to Penn.” 

Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe, FBA was professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University and a principal literary executor of Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Before Cambridge she — together with celebrated philosophers Philipa Foot, Iris Murdoch, and Mary Midgley — was a core member of what recent scholars have called “A Female School of Analytic Philosophy”, which transformed moral philosophy in wartime Oxford, culminating with Anscombe’s most famous essay, “Modern Moral Philosophy”, wherein she coined the term “consequentialism.”  Her opposition to consequentialist ethics was manifested in her public defiance of Oxford University’s decision to award President Harry S. Truman an honorary degree in 1956, since he had authorized the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   

In America, Anscombe was appointed an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania (1968-1980).  She was also a prominent Catholic public intellectual, and the Anscombe Archive was acquired by the Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought & Culture (CI) in Philadelphia.  CI is an integral partner of PRRUCS, particularly its Perry Scholars for Science, Spirituality, and Service Project.

Last year, through the support and generosity of Mr. James N. Perry (C’82), a former member of the Penn School of Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers, Dr. Matthew O’Brien of the Collegium Institute, and Mr. Vincenzo La Ruffa (C’02), and through a collaboration between the Penn Department of Philosophy and PRRUCS, the Collegium Institute Anscombe Archive was transferred to the Penn Library’s Kislak Center for Special Collections, where it will be housed and studied through June 2022. This study will build upon an invaluable preliminary cataloging of the Anscombe Archive, which was undertaken by Dr. Luke Gormally, who along with his wife, Dr. Mary Geach, the daughter of Anscombe, stewarded the Archive from Anscombe’s death in 2001 until its acquisition by the Collegium Institute.

The Anscombe Archive consists of over six hundred catalogued items (including unpublished manuscripts in various stages of revision, philosophical offprints with substantial marginalia, personal correspondence with major philosophical figures, and journals) in twenty-one archival boxes. It is a treasure trove of information for scholars seeking to deepen their understanding of Anscombe and her contributions to many different areas of philosophy.  Among the most exciting and intimate objects are a journal of remembrances of Wittgenstein, as well as the over eighty letter and postcard exchanges between Anscombe and Sir Anthony Kenny, former president of the British Academy and Royal Institute of Philosophy, on ultimate philosophical and theological questions.  These eighty exchanges were the spark for the international Philosophy by Postcard Project, of which the Collegium Institute is the American partner.

The Collegium Institute Anscombe Archive at the University of Pennsylvania is expected to become a nexus for new academic networks and learning opportunities on campus, including four annual conferences based on Anscombe’s work, other special events and seminars, and the appointment of undergraduate, graduate, and faculty fellowships.  Beginning their terms this fall will be two new PRRUCS Fellows, Dr. Janice Chik and Dr. John Peter DiIulio, who were recently appointed as the John and Daria Barry Foundation Fellow and the James N. Perry Scholar of Philosophy, Politics, and Society, respectively, and who will be devoted largely to scholarship on the archive.
 
On April 26-28, 2019, the Philosophy Department and PRRUCS will host the first Anscombe Archive Conference on Mind & Action, which will feature the premier display of the archive in the Henry Charles Lea Library (6th Floor Van Pelt Library) on Friday at one o’clock pm. Immediately before the academic conference, the Collegium Institute also will host a public engagement lecture and reception on April 25th at noon in which Professor Jennifer Frey of the University of South Carolina will deliver a lecture titled, “Living the Truth: On the Relevance of Elizabeth Anscombe’s Thought Today.”

G.E.M. Anscombe Archive Conference on Mind & Action

Welcome:

Please join us on April 26-28, 2019 as the Philosophy Department at the University of Pennsylvania, the Collegium Institute, and the Penn Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society host the first Anscombe Archive Conference on Mind & Action.

This year’s speakers will be Prof. Michael Bratman, Prof. Jennifer Ann Frey, Prof. Ellen Fridland, Prof. Jennifer Hornsby, Prof. Richard Moran, Prof. Susanna Schellenberg, Prof. John Schwenkler, Prof. Kieran Setiya, and Prof. Rachael Wiseman.

 

Commentators at Large

We will not have commentators for each talk. Instead, we will have a number of faculty to serve as Commentators-at-Large who are expected to be active participants in the discussion and help drive productive interaction.

This year’s Commentators-at-Large are Prof. James Doyle, Prof. Kim Frost, Prof. Grace Helton, Prof. Antonia Peacocke, Prof. Adrienne Prettyman, and Prof. Eric Wiland.

Registration

Registration (free) is required for anyone who wishes to attend. Please register by filling out this form.

Schedule

Friday April 26th

All Friday Talks in Fisher-Bennett Hall (corner of 34th and Walnut) Room 401
    10,30-12,00: Susanna Schellenberg, “The First Person Perspective and de hinc Content”
    12,00-2,00: Lunch and Reception at the Archive
    2,00-3,30: Rachael Wiseman, “Linguistic Idealism, Rule-Following & Human Essence”
    3,30-4,00: Coffee break
    4,00-5,30: Michael Bratman, “Intention, Shared Agency, and the Construction of Organized Institutions”
    6,30: Dinner at Louie Louie

Saturday April 27th

All Saturday Talks in Cohen Hall Room 402
    10,00-11,30: Jen Frey, “Anscombe on Practical Truth”
    11,30-11,45: Break
    11,15-1,15: John Schwenkler, “The Concept of a Person”
    1,15-2,30: Lunch
    2,30-4,00: Ellen Fridland, “Rethinking Practical Intentions”
    4,00-4,30: Break
    4,30-6,00: Kieran Setiya, “Three Dogmas of Anscombeanism”
    6,30ish: Dinner at Han Dynasty

Accessibility Information

The talks on Saturday and Sunday and all of the meals except dinners will take place on the fourth floor of Cohen Hall. Accessibility information for Cohen Hall can be found here. The talks on Friday will be held in Fischer Bennett Hall, room 401 (BENN 401). On Friday afternoon there will be a reception at the Archive in Van Pelt Library.

We hope to make this event accessible to all who wish to participate. If you have any special requests for accommodations, please let us know as soon as possible by contacting Errol Lord.

About the Archive

Last year, through the support and generosity of Mr. James N. Perry (C’82), a former member of the Penn School of Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers, Dr. Matthew O’Brien of the Collegium Institute, and Mr. Vincenzo La Ruffa (C’02), and through a collaboration between the Penn Department of Philosophy and PRRUCS, the Collegium Institute Anscombe Archive was transferred to the Penn Library’s Kislak Center for Special Collections, where it will be housed and studied through June 2022. This study will build upon an invaluable preliminary cataloging of the Anscombe Archive, which was undertaken by Dr. Luke Gormally, who along with his wife, Dr. Mary Geach, the daughter of Anscombe, stewarded the Archive from Anscombe’s death in 2001 until its acquisition by the Collegium Institute.

The Anscombe Archive consists of over six hundred catalogued items (including unpublished manuscripts in various stages of revision, philosophical offprints with substantial marginalia, personal correspondence with major philosophical figures, and journals) in twenty-one archival boxes. It is a treasure trove of information for scholars seeking to deepen their understanding of Anscombe and her contributions to many different areas of philosophy.  Among the most exciting and intimate objects are a journal of remembrances of Wittgenstein, as well as the over eighty letter and postcard exchanges between Anscombe and Sir Anthony Kenny, former president of the British Academy and Royal Institute of Philosophy, on ultimate philosophical and theological questions.   Read More →

You may find a working list of available items in the archive here

Visit the Archive

The Collegium Institute Anscombe Archive at Penn is housed within the Library’s Kislak Center for Special Collections.  Please find information about Kislak Center policies and about guest reading privileges (which requires registration) here.  Note that the Kislak Center will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, but is open on Thursday and Friday from 10am-4:45pm.  Plan to visit during those hours if you would like to view items from the Archive, apart from the display for conference participants scheduled on Friday from 1:00-2:00pm in the Lea Library.

Sponsor Information

We are incredibly thankful to the Penn Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS), the Collegium Institute, and the Penn Department of Philosophy for their support.

Organizers

The first Anscombe Archive conference is being organized by Errol Lord. He is being assisted by Paul Musso and Michael Vazquez.

Living the Truth

Date & Time

Thu, April 25, 2019
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Location

Cafe 58, Irvine Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania

3401 Spruce Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Description

Collegium Institute welcomed Prof. Jennifer Frey (University of South Carolina) for a special luncheon to discuss the life and legacy of Elizabeth Anscombe.

Elizabeth Anscombe was one of the most important and influential analytic philosophers of the twentieth century. One of the last lectures she delivered was titled “Doing the Truth.” In it, she set out to identify and clarify a specifically practical mode of truth as the proper goal of a specifically practical mode of reasoning and knowledge. This talk explored how Anscombe understands practical truth by relating it to her influential theory of the intentionality of action; its ultimate suggestion is that “doing the truth” just is living a good human life–i.e., knowingly performing actions in accordance with true judgments of right practical reasoning. The person who achieves this truth is virtuous, someone who can stand as an exemplar (or rule and measure) for those who seek the truth but have not yet realized it in their lives.