In Memoriam

  • Edward Bloustein

(d. 1989)

Edward Bloustein was president of Rutgers University from 1971 until his untimely death in 1989 at the age of 64. Without Bloustein as president, there is no philosophy department, at least not one that became great. As described in the departmental history page, Bloustein's moment came in the fall of 1987, when philosophy department chair Peter Klein came knocking on his door with an outlandish plan, to make CUNY philosopher Jerry Fodor an offer he could not refuse. Bloustein’s support of the plan put the Rutgers philosophy department on the road to greatness.

Why did Bloustein agree to such a bold (and expensive) plan? Partly because he was determined to make Rutgers the great public university he envisioned as its role. He had been president since 1971, and had dramatically upped the university’s ambitions and the quality of its academic research. He also had been impressed by the favorable notice the Davidson conference had brought to Rutgers. But he also was a philosopher. In 1950, he had earned a BPhil degree at Oxford where he wrote a dissertation entitled, “Is Epistemology a Logical, Psychological or Sociological Study?” In 1954 he earned his Ph.D. at Cornell - in philosophy. He was a member of the Rutgers philosophy faculty and regularly taught a very popular class in philosophy of law.

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