We were inspired by the German term “Schirmherrschaft” and invited John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, to function as such for the Berlin Practical Philosophy International Forum. We are happy to announce that the invitation has been accepted.
This page gives some information about our patron and as if shows us the philosophical direction we should like to follow: promotion of the relevance of philosophy to practical life. The spirit of our activities can be rendered by Lachs’s own words in Freedom and Limits;
Philosophy is an ancient instrument whose use is all but forgotten. It sits as mere decoration in the house of learning while the kitchen and the garage hum with activity. We need to learn to play the instrument again, to remind ourselves of the power of its music.
- Animal Faith and Spiritual Life: Previously Unpublished and Uncollected Writings by George Santayana With Critical Essays on His Thought. Edited by John Lachs. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1967
- Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana. Edited by John Lachs and Shirley Lachs. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1969
- Intermediate Man. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishers, 1981.
- Mind and Philosophers. Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press, 1987.
- George Santayana. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988.
- The Relevance of Philosophy to Life. Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press, 1995.
- In Love with Life: Reflections on the Joy of Living and Why We Hate to Die. Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press, 1998.
- Thinking in the Ruins: Wittgenstein and Santayana on Contingency, with Michael Hodges. Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press, 2000.
- The Philosophy of William Ernest Hocking, edited with Micah Hester, Vanderbilt University Press 2001
- A Community of Individuals. New York: Routledge, 2003.
- On Santayana. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2006.
- American Philosophy. An Encyclopedia, edited with Robert Talisse, Routledge, 2007
- American and European Values: Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives. Co-edited with Matthew Flamm and Krzysztof Piotr Skowroński. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008
- Stoic Pragmatism. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 2012.
- Meddling: On the Virtue of Leaving Others Alone. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 2014.
Italian Translation: Lasciare in Pace gli Altri: Una Prospettiva Etica. Trans. Giuseppe Barile. Torino: IBL Libri, 2018
- Freedom and Limits, edited by Patrick Shade. New York: Fordham Univ. Press, 2014.
- John Lachs’s Practical Philosophy: Critical Essays on His Thought with Replies and Bibliography. Edited by Krzysztof Piotr Skowroñski. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2018
- The Cost of Comfort. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019
Born on July 17, 1934 in Budapest, Hungary
1956, 1957 – BA and MA in Philosophy at McGill University
1961 – PhD at Yale University on Santayana
1959- 1967: College of William and Marry
1967- present: Vanderbilt University, Nashville
1973 – co-founded SAAP (Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy)
1974 – President of SAAP
1980 – co-founder of The Santayana Society
1987 – President of The Charles S. Peirce Society
1997 – President of The Metaphysical Society of America
2007 – President of The William James Society
2015 – International Conference on John Lachs in Berlin
Essays on John Lachs
We thank professor Phil Oliver, Middle Tennessee State University, for permission to publish his text here
We thank professor Tom Buford, Furman University, for his permission to publish his text here.
Lectures on Video
Shirley Marie Lachs (Mellow), 1936-2016, for 49 years in a happy marriage with John Lachs and raised with him their two children: Sheila Marie (1969) and James Richard (1970). She graduated from Marygrove College (BA) and University of Michigan (MA in Classical Studies) and was interested, among other things, in education. She co-authored with John Lachs the papers: “Reconceiving Some Problems and Their Solution” in: John Lachs’ The Relevance of Philosophy to Life, 1995, pp. 133-151; and “Education in the Twenty-First Century.” A Pedagogy of Becoming, ed. Jon Mills. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002: pp. 219-28. Also, she co-edited with him a volume devoted to Santayana: Physical Order and Moral Liberty: Previously Unpublished Essays of George Santayana (Vanderbilt University Press, 1969).
Much as we complain about our condition or feel victimized by fortune or fellow humans, we simply love being alive. We love life in others and in ourselves. We are in love with life. To love life is to love the activities of which it consists and to hope for more.
John Lachs, In Love With Life: Reflections on the Joy of Living and Why We Hate to Die