Richard McKeon (1900-1985)


The following items are informal, unpublished notes McKeon created for a variety of purposes over his lifetime. Approximately 14,000 of these notes were found in his files at his death. They were typed on 8.5 X 11 inch sheets of paper and are reproduced here as typed. Because the sheets were folded in half before typing and then typed so that the two halves could be read easily when the sheet was opened, the right-hand column is to be read first and the left-hand column second.

McKeon's professional and personal papers, including the originals of the notes below, are catalogued in the "Richard Peter McKeon Papers" at the University of Chicago.  A description of those papers can be found on the University's website.

Notes 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.

Red headings indicate new content.

1967 Philosophy 394; “Philosophic Semantics and Philosophic Inquiry”
Taught at the University of Chicago, Autumn Quarter, 1967. Sets of notes for the nine course lectures elaborating the paper “Philosophic Semantics and Philosophic Inquiry” delivered in 1966 which set forth key aspects of the guiding framework for his lifetime’s diverse intellectual inquiries.
McKNotes-Semantics&Inquiry_Intro.pdf   1.4 MB
McKNotes-Semantics&Inquiry_Lect1.pdf   2.1 MB
McKNotes-Semantics&Inquiry_Lect2.pdf   1.2 MB
McKNotes-Semantics&Inquiry_Lect3.pdf   1.6 MB
McKNotes-Semantics&Inquiry_Lect4.pdf   1.6 MB
McKNotes-Semantics&Inquiry_Lect5.pdf   2 MB
McKNotes-Semantics&Inquiry_Lect6.pdf   2.5 MB
McKNotes-Semantics&Inquiry_Lect7.pdf   3.3 MB
McKNotes-Semantics&Inquiry_Lect8.pdf   3.7 MB
McKNotes-Semantics&Inquiry_Lect9.pdf   3.9 MB
1935 “The Limitations and Disadvantages of Adjustment”
Lecture prepared for delivery sometime in 1935. (Presumably, McKeon is responding to the “Life Adjustment” movement in US education, an educational movement in the 1930s pursued by some self-proclaimed followers of John Dewey, one of McKeon’s central influences.)
McK-Notes_Adjustment.pdf   3.6 MB
1943 “The Liberal Arts in Wartime”
Lecture prepared as the Convocation Address for Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota (a small, liberal arts college in the midwest of the US), May 31, 1943, the middle of World War II.
McK-Notes_LiberalArtsInWartime.pdf   5 MB
1946 “Woodbridge”
Invited response prepared for the Woodbridge Lectures at Columbia University, delivered April 11, 1946. (Frederick J. E. Woodbridge, a Spinoza scholar, was McKeon’s doctoral dissertation advisor. When the latter published his dissertation as Spinoza: The Unity of His Thought, he dedicated it to Woodbridge.)
McK-Notes_Woodbridge.pdf   1.8 MB
1964 “The Influence of Socrates on Philosophy”
Lecture prepared for delivery at St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland, USA, on January 31, 1964.
Mck-Notes_InfluenceOfSocrates.pdf   3.2 MB
1973 “Themes of Literature, Philosophy, and History” with Discussion
Lecture prepared for delivery in the “Works of the Mind” Series at the Basic Program of the University of Chicago (Downtown Campus), May 18, 1973. (To hear McKeon deliver this lecture and respond to questions afterwards, go to the Recordings section.)
McK-Notes_ThemesOfLitHistPhil.pdf   3.7 MB
1974 “Health and Community"
Introductory Lecture prepared for a discussion group at Valparaiso University, Gary, Indiana, January 16, 1974.
McK-Notes_Health&Community.pdf   1.3 MB
  “The Influence of Cicero: Rhetoric and Philosophy, Literature, and Science”
Lecture prepared for delivery at Pennsylvania State University, October 27, 1974.
McK-Notes_InfluenceOfCicero.pdf   2.2 MB
Undated “Dewey and Deweyanism”
Lecture prepared for delivery as Lecture Five in the “Fashions in Philosophy: The Degradation of Philosophic Dogmas” Series — location and date unknown.
McK-Notes_Dewey&Deweyanism.pdf   4 MB
Undated “How the Romans Influenced Us. Cicero Today”
McK-Notes_CiceroToday.pdf   9.6 MB
McK-Notes_Themes.pdf   3.3 MB