Richard McKeon (1900-1985)


This website is designed to make Richard McKeon’s work accessible to individuals around the world with a variety of backgrounds and a diversity of interests. The selection of materials posted here is intended to reflect something of the scope of his contribution, with examples that range from the straight-forward to the most sophisticated, that reflect the span of his professional life from the 1930s to the 1980s, and that treat issues from across the full spectrum of human inquiry, activity, and creativity.

This introductory section provides a short overview of McKeon’s intellectual origins, his philosophic approach, and his active engagement with the practical affairs of his day, both in educating and in helping found UNESCO, including the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The overview was written by his widow and doctoral graduate, Zahava K. McKeon, as the “General Introduction” to the first volume of his Selected Writings. It includes a brief summary of the formal semantic structure that underlies his interpretative work and that provides an essential preparation for his conception of intellectual pluralism and the process of inquiry. (A full presentation of that semantic schematism in a highly condensed and abstract form appears in the posthumously published article, “Philosophic Semantics and Philosophic Inquiry.”)

After reading Zahava McKeon’s “General Introduction,” a viewer may be interested to turn next to the Autobiography section, where McKeon himself describes the origins of his philosophy and the problems it is intended to treat. Thereafter, the other sections of this website may take on more meaning.

Selections download in PDF format, which may take several minutes due to file size. If you need a reader for PDFs, a link to Adobe Reader is provided at the bottom.

1998 "General Introduction"
McK-SelectedWritingsV1_GenIntro.pdf   6.2 MB

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