About Us

The Institute Directors

Dr. John R. Shook is a philosophy professor living in the D.C. region. He currently teaches philosophy at Bowie State University in Maryland and Georgetown University. Dr. Shook has published extensively across the history of American philosophy and American intellectual history. His latest book is Pragmatism (2023) which is part of the MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series. Among his books are Dewey’s Empirical Theory of Knowledge and Reality (2000), Pragmatic Naturalism and Realism (2003), and The God Debates (2010). His edited volumes include the Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers (2005), the Dictionary of Early American Philosophers (2012), Historical Essays in 20th-Century American Philosophy (2015), and The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers in America (2016), and Blackwell’s Companion to Pragmatism (2006). He and Randall Auxier edit the American Philosophical and Cultural Thought book series, State University of New York Press.

Dr. Randall E. Auxier is a professor of philosophy and communication studies at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. He is the editor of the Library of Living Philosophers having overseen eight volumes in the series. He edited the journal The Personalist Forum 1997-2006, when he and John Shook transformed it into The Pluralist, and he remained Editor in Chief until 2012. He is Deputy Chief Editor of Eidos: A Journal for Philosophy of Culture. Dr. Auxier authored Time, Will and Purpose (2013), Metaphysical Graffiti (2017), Logic: From Images to Digits (2022) and As Deep as It Gets: Movies and Metaphysics (2022). He co-authored The Quantum of Explanation: Whitehead’s Radical Empiricism (2017). His edited and co-edited volumes include God, Process and Persons (2000), Critical Responses to Royce (2000), Bruce Springsteen and Philosophy (2008), The Wizard of Oz and Philosophy (2008), Tom Petty and Philosophy (2019), Rorty and Beyond (2020), and Queen and Philosophy (2023). He and John Shook edit the American Philosophical and Cultural Thought book series, State University of New York Press.

Dr. Larry A. Hickman is emeritus director of the Center for Dewey Studies and emeritus professor of philosophy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He edited the four volumes of The Correspondence of John Dewey, (1999, 2001, 2005, and 2008). Dr. Hickman is the author of many books, including John Dewey’s Pragmatic Technology (1990), Philosophical Tools for Technological Culture (2001), Pragmatism as Post-Postmodernism (2007), and Living As Learning: John Dewey in the 21st Century (with Daisaku Ikeda and Jim Garrison, 2014). His edited and co-edited volumes include The Essential John Dewey (1998), Reading Dewey (1998), and John Dewey between Pragmatism and Constructivism (2013).

The Role of the AIPCT

Located in Murphysboro, Illinois (near Carbondale and Southern Illinois University), the AIPCT is a scholarly institution with an educational and cultural mission. The Institute was conceived by John Shook (now the President) and Randall Auxier (in whose large Victorian home the Institute is presently based) during conversations about the future of the humanities. AIPCT activities take up some of the functions of the Center for Dewey Studies, which has been greatly diminished by funding cuts and changes in the focus and energies of SIUC. The continuation of some of the work of the Dewey Center is one reason why our inaugural address was given by the Director Emeritus of that distinguished Center, Larry A. Hickman, who is also a member of the AIPCT Board. The recent past has been difficult at SIUC, but we are looking to the future. We think the humanities are doing poorly at present in our institutions of higher learning, and are not likely to do well in the foreseeable future, due to the corporatization of the universities, and to the widespread tendency in our culture to undervalue humanistic learning. So we are creating a space for humanities and humanistic thinking (including religious humanism) that does not depend on the university system. We intend to embrace technology in all of its forms while also conserving and preserving important materials.

Because Southern Illinois is already known around the world for its holdings and research in American thought, we are specializing in that. We have gathered some 35,000 volumes, including many journals. This collection of books and papers come as gifts from the a number of living supporters, such as Richard T. Hull, Douglas R. Anderson, Robert Corrington, and members of the Board, along with generous gifts from the estates of over a dozen distinguished professors. These include books and papers from Charles Sherover, John Howie, Warren Steinkrauss, H.S. Thayer, V.T. Thayer, Abraham Edel, Howard Radest, Carl Hausman, Creighton Peden, Ahron Opher, George Kimball Plochmann, and Jo Ann Boydston, among others. There are many first editions and rare books, as well as important papers and correspondence.

AIPCT hosts events regularly, including seminars, workshops, and lectures. The space is be available for appropriate receptions and other events of a cultural nature. There are culturally informative concerts occasionally in our Music and Thought series. We also have a resident fellowship program, a summer dissertation fellowship program. Please see our “Fellows” tab for a list of past and current resident fellows, and dissertation fellows

The AIPCT is not equivalent to the house. The Institute is the books, the papers, and the programs. We anticipate growth and could move elsewhere if needed, in the future, in order to expand. The AIPCT is registered as a charitable organization in the State of Illinois. The house itself creates a pleasant setting for research and functions, but is a separate entity, eventually to be incorporated and set on the National Register of Historic Places, with a different Board and a different mission. It has an art collection and is itself an architectural and artistic treasure.

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