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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2004 / 04 

Celebration of Philosophy and Humanities Symposium

April 5, 2004

The Philosophy Department at Virginia Tech is celebrating several anniversaries: the 20th anniversary of the founding of the joint philosophy department, the 10th anniversary of the master’s program, and the 50th anniversary of philosophy in the curriculum.

The celebration revolves around the Philosophy Spring Conference and Humanities Symposium “‘Peirce-pectives’ on Metaphysics and the Sciences,” scheduled for April 23-25. The department also is hosting a reception for alumni from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 23, at L’Arche. This year also marks the 90th anniversary of Charles Sanders Peirce’s death, the philosopher that is the focus of the 2004 conference.

Peirce (1839-1914) plays a unique role in the history of American philosophy and of American scholarship in general. Although mistakenly identified as merely a background figure in the development of Pragmatism, his role as founder of this distinctively American movement is now beginning to be recognized. The implications of his ideas have not yet been fully developed. It is only in the past decade or two that his brilliant contributions to practically all academic disciplines (physics, astronomy, topology, criminology, optics, metaphysics, logic, architecture, anthropology, economics, linguistics, psychology, education, religion, law, politics, business and management, and computer science) have been discovered. His ideas have so pervaded our lives, that the term “pragmatist” is now part of our everyday vocabulary.

In conjunction with the international philosophy conference in April, the department also has planned several talks by Virginia Tech faculty members who have been influenced by Peirce’s ideas in their fields. Hans Rott, chair of the graduate program in architecture, will discuss “Architecture and Pragmatism: An Uneasy Relationship” at 2 p.m. Friday, April 16, in Lane Hall.

The conference is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Department of Philosophy, Science and Technology in Society, the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and the Office of the Provost. Special thanks to the Virginia Tech Alumni Association. The project has been awarded Virginia Tech’s Humanities Symposium Award.

For more information, contact Dr. Rosa M. Mayorga at, or go to the website at

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