The Socratic Club History & C.S. Lewis presentation

Special Collections and Archives recently acquired a gift from Jim Stockton, lecturer in the Philosophy department. The collection will be on view on Thursday, October 25th, at 3:00 pm, in the Frank Church Room, in the Special Collections area on the second floor of the library. He will give a 30 to 45 minute presentation on the Socratic Club’s history and be available to answer any questions.

Jim’s description of the collection:

Meeting regularly from January of 1942 to November of 1969, the Oxford University Socratic Club was one of the most significant academic organizations to affect mid-twentieth century Anglophilic letters. Although the Socratic Club is most often identified with its first faculty advisor and president, literary critic and novelist C. S. Lewis, most of the papers presented, and argued over at club meetings, were delivered by such notable philosophers as G.E.M. Anscombe, A. J. Ayer, John Austin, Antony Flew, Gilbert Ryle, Philippa Foot, Peter Geach, John Lucas, Basil Mitchell, and many others. The Boise State University Socratic Club Collection is a small start on the preservation of rare publications and pertinent documents that speak to the club’s historical significance.

The collection features three original Socratic Digests (issues 2, 3, and 4) gifted by Oxonian moral philosopher Mary Midgley, who, along with her husband analytical philosopher Geoffrey Midgley, were active participants in club activities. Complementing the three original publications are five bound photo-copies of the Socratic Digests published between 1943—1952), obtained by the Albertsons Library staff.

Over the next few years, it is my hope to grow the collection, creating a reputable body of original papers and research notes that will be of benefit to philosophical historians and Lewis scholars alike.

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