File B1986-0075 - Dryer, Douglas Poole; Goudge, Thomas A.; Macrae, R. F.; Savan, David (oral history)

Thomas A. Dryer, R. F. Macrae, and David Savan (oral history) [audio part 1] Thomas A. Dryer, R. F. Macrae, and David Savan (oral history) [audio part 2] Thomas A. Dryer, R. F. Macrae, and David Savan (oral history) [audio part 3]

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UTA 5001-B1986-0075


Dryer, Douglas Poole; Goudge, Thomas A.; Macrae, R. F.; Savan, David (oral history)


  • 14 and 30 May 1986 (Creation)

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9 reel-to-reel tapes (267 mins.)

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Professors of Philosophy, University of Toronto.

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Biographical history

Thomas Anderson Goudge was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 19 January, 1910. His undergraduate years were spent at Dalhousie University, where he was president of the Arts Class of 1931, associate editor of the student newspaper, and full back of the Arts intramural football team. He was described in Pharos, the University yearbook, as a philosopher, litterateur, and artist; several of his articles were published in campus journals and his sketches illustrated the yearbook.

He took his MA at Dalhousie in 1932, and the following year entered his doctoral studies at the University of Toronto, majoring in modern philosophy under G. S. Brett. In 1934 he was appointed interim lecturer in philosophy at Waterloo College, University of Western Ontario. In 1935, he was a fellow and assistant in Philosophy at Queen's University. In 1936-1937 a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada enabled him to spend a year at Harvard, where he continued his research on the theory of knowledge of the American philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce, whose Collected Papers had just been published. His research paper, "The theory of knowledge in C. S. Peirce," written in the summer of 1936, became his doctoral thesis on his return to Toronto.

By the time Goudge received his doctorate in May of 1937, he had published three scholarly papers. He accepted an appointment at Queen's for the academic year 1937-38, when Professor Vlastos, with whom he had worked earlier, was on leave. In 1938 he was offered a lectureship in philosophy at the University of Toronto and never left, despite attempts by other institutions to lure him away. In 1964 he was appointed chair of the department. On his retirement in 1976, he was appointed professor emeritus. He remained actively involved in his discipline until the end of the 1980s, when Alzheimer's disease began to take its toll.

Professor Goudge became appreciated quickly for the clarity and probity of his writings and was soon recognized as an outstanding scholar. He made important contributions in two areas of philosophy -- the thought of C. S. Peirce and the philosophy of biology, on which he wrote numerous articles and two books, The Thought of C. S. Peirce (1950) and The Ascent of Life (1961). He was also much sought after as a speaker, both at academic events and more informal gatherings. Following Professor Goudge's retirement, his colleagues honoured him in a festschrift, Pragmatism and Purpose: essays presented to Thomas A. Goudge (1981).

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Group oral history interview of members of staff of the Philosophy Department: Professors Dryer, Goudge, Macrae & Savan; conducted by Valerie Schatzker. The interview commences with brief autobiographical sketches of the four interviewees, covering their respective appointments to the University of Toronto in the 1930s through to 1986. Subjects discussed include the administrative history of the Dept. of Philosophy, faculty members, curricula, appointments, promotions and tenure, degrees, and student demonstrations.

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