Lovejoy, Arthur Oncken

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Lovejoy, Arthur Oncken

Arthur Oncken Lovejoy, 1873–1962, American philosopher and intellectual historian, b. Germany, grad. Univ. of California, 1895, M.A. Harvard, 1897. He also studied at the Sorbonne before he began teaching (1899–1910) at Stanford, Washington Univ., Columbia, and Univ. of Missouri. From 1910 to 1938 he taught at Johns Hopkins. The founder and first editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas, Lovejoy was the chief promoter in the United States of the historiography of ideas. He made a distinction between the history of a philosophical system and the history of an idea—which may be shared by different systems and unlike the system may originate in or influence areas far removed from philosophy. His work argued for and encouraged an interdisciplinary approach in the study of philosophy, history, literature, and science. His major philosophical work was The Revolt Against Dualism (1930); The Great Chain of Being (1936) was his most influential publication on the history of ideas. His other books included Essays in the History of Ideas (1948), Reflections on Human Nature (1961), and The Reason, the Understanding, and the Time (1961).

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