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University of Iowa News Release

May 12, 2006

Photos: Gustav Bergmann, left and Bertrand Russell, right

UI Philosophy Department Hosts Conferences On Bergmann, Russell

The Department of Philosophy in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will host two significant conferences this month, drawing participants from around the world. The first will be the Gustav Bergmann Centenary Conference Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20, and the second will be the annual meeting of the Bertrand Russell Society Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28. Both will be held primarily in room 107 English-Philosophy Building on the UI campus.

The Bergmann conference will include scholarly papers and reminiscences in morning and afternoon sessions on both days. Bergmann's widow, Leola Bergmann, will host a reception at the end of the second conference day. Her daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will also attend.

Gustav Bergmann was the youngest member of the Vienna Circle, a group of philosophers who had an enormous influence on 20th century philosophy. This month marks the 100th anniversary of his birth in Vienna, Austria. The rise of Nazism in Austria forced Bergmann to emigrate to the United States in 1938, and he joined the UI faculty one year later as a guest lecturer in the Department of Psychology. He was named an assistant professor in 1944, and from 1950 until his retirement in 1974 he was a professor of philosophy and psychology. He was president of the American Philosophical Association in 1967, and in 1972 was appointed a Carver Professor of Philosophy. He died on April 21, 1987, at age 80 following a lengthy illness.

Conference organizer Laird Addis, UI professor of philosophy, said a bench will be installed along the river walk next to the English-Philosophy Building in Bergmann's honor.

The Bertrand Russell Society meeting, hosted by Gregory Landini, UI professor of philosophy, features scholarly and popular presentations about Russell and related subjects, a business meeting, a Red Hackle hour (in honor of Russell's favorite refreshment), a banquet and good fellowship.

Founded in 1974, the Society seeks to foster a better understanding of the life, work, and writings of Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) and how his contributions relate to today's world. As a philosopher, mathematician, educator, social critic and political activist, Russell wrote more than 70 books and thousands of essays and letters addressing myriad topics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, or Lesly Huffman, 319-384-0077,; Program: Bergmann conference-Laird Addis,; Russell Society meeting-Gregory Landini,


Gustav Bergmann collection, UI Libraries:

Bertrand Russell Society: