AIPCT Seminar on “Paul Weiss Revisited,” led by Robin Friedman October 16, 2023, 7 PM

Seminar on the Philosophy of Paul Weiss

AIPCT is pleased to announce a seminar on the philosophy of Paul Weiss, to be led by AIPCT Fellow Robin Friedman. The seminar will introduce Weiss’s work with some commentary, but presupposes no prior knowledge of Weiss and his philosophy. (Details below.) The event will be in-person at AIPCT, but others may join by zoom. Doors open at 6 PM and snacks and drinks will be provided. Participants are welcome to bring their own drinks and snacks as well.

Anyone who wants a zoom link for the seminar, please send a request to

This seminar follows the Dewey Conference, October 12-14, during and after which Mr. Friedman will be in southern Illinois for a brief residency at AIPCT. This is his residency lecture.


The Lecture: “Paul Weiss Revisited”

The works of the American philosopher Paul Weiss (1901 –2002) have been neglected in recent years, but were formative of 20th century American philosophy. Weiss was a speculative, system-building thinker sometimes called a “metaphysician in the grand manner.” He rejected both poles of the prevailing division in philosophy between analytic thinkers on the one hand and existentialists or phenomenologists on the other hand. Weiss was a student of Whitehead and was greatly influenced by him. But he rejected in part process thought and was an adherent of a substantialist philosophy.

I will explore his thought for what philosophers may find in it of continuing value. This presentation will offer an overview of Weiss’ life and work.  The presentation will be in three parts.  The first part will discuss Weiss’ life, give an overview of his writing, and consider his understanding of the nature of philosophy and metaphysics. It will rely primarily on Weiss’ autobiographical essay “Lost in Thought: Alone With Othersin the Library of Living Philosophers volume The Philosophy of Paul Weiss (1995). Then I will explore some of the specifics of Weiss’s works, particularly his  metaphysics It will discuss Weiss’s late systematic statement of his metaphysics in Being and Other Realites (1995) which Weiss regarded as the best of his books. The final section will examine briefly Weiss’s philosophy of religion as set forth in his book The God We Seek (1964). The presentation will place Weiss’ work within the broader context of American philosophy and will argue that Weiss’ example and his conception of the nature of philosophy remain valuable even if the specifics of his own metaphysical system are rejected.

The Seminar Leader

Robin Friedman grew up in Milwaukee and received his BA in philosophy in 1969 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He earned a JD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 and practiced law for nearly forty years. He has had a lifelong interest in philosophy with graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at the American University. Following retirement in 2010, Robin intensified his interest in philosophy by presenting papers for the Josiah Royce Society, the APA, and the Metaphysical Society of America as well as by writing papers and reviews for The Pluralist, Dewey Studies, Transactions of the Charles Peirce Society, Eidos, and Education and Culture. He also writes reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Robin’s philosophical interests include American philosophy, religious philosophy, and Spinoza. He is a Fellow of AIPCT.



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