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Study group enters 15th year
(April 5, 1999)
Back in 1984, Ken Fuchsman noticed a book by Richard Rorty titled Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature lying on a table in the office of the then director of the Torrington campus, Robinson Grover.
Fuchsman, a counselor for the Bachelor of General Studies program at the campus, suggested that they both read Rorty's book and then get together to discuss it.
Fuchsman and Grover, a professor of philosophy, began a weekly study group to talk about various philosophy books, together with Riva Berleant, professor of anthropology, and Beth Currie, an adjunct professor at the time.
Fifteen years and many philosophical works later, this collegial band still meets once a week at the Torrington Campus. Although the group has had other members over the years, the original four have continued to meet, discussing philosophical issues - such as theories of the postmodern - and exchanging viewpoints.
Fuchsman says one of the group's strengths is their differing backgrounds. "The discussions have always flourished because of our different perspectives," he says.
In addition to Berleant, the anthropologist, Fuchsman is interested in history and psychology, Currie - now retired - studies phenomenology, and Grover specializes in political philosophy.
The group also satisfies a desire for intellectual debate. "If it hadn't been important to us, it wouldn't have lasted," Berleant says, adding that the small size and relative isolation of the campus makes regular meetings such as these vital.
The books selected for discussion must be agreed upon unanimously. Berleant says works by Terry Eagelton, Justus Buchler and Hans Georg Gadamer have been particularly influential for her. The latest subject of debate among the scholars is Negative Dialectics by Theodore Adorno.
The four look set to continue their weekly meetings for some time.