General Introduction & History
A Brief History of the Library of Living Philosophers
The Library of Living Philosophers was founded by Professor Paul Schilpp in 1938. Since that time it has had an important role to play in professional philosophy. The Library came to Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1965 and each of the volumes it has produced has been published by Open Court. Schilpp’s inspiration for the Library was a 1934 essay by the British pragmatist F. C. S. Schiller entitled ”Must Philosophers Disagree?” Schilpp’s belief was that if we challenged a living philosopher’s beliefs directly, many of the controversies that often follow a philosopher’s career might be avoided.
The Library has produced thirty-five volumes, the first for American philosopher John Dewey and the most recent for semiotician and novelist Umberto Eco. Over the course of the Library’s career these volumes have played an important role in ongoing debates in professional philosophy.
Schilpp was followed as Editor by Dr. Lewis Hahn, who took over in 1981. Dr. Hahn published three LLP volumes with Dr. Schilpp, and eight volumes on his own. In 2001 Dr. Randall Auxier became Editor and worked to produce six volumes in conjunction with Dr. Hahn. Dr. Doug Anderson served as interim Editor from 2013-2015, and now teaches at the University of North Texas. Dr. Sara Beardsworth currently serves as Editor. She is co-editor with Dr. Randall Auxier of the volume on Umberto Eco.
The volume presently in production deals with the philosophical work and career of Julia Kristeva of Université Paris VII - Denis Diderot.