The Bertrand Russell Case

The Bertrand Russell Case

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The Bertrand Russell Case

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The Bertrand Russell Case edited by John Dewey and Horace M Kallen is a collection of articles on the 1940 dismissal of Bertrand Russell as Professor of Philosophy from the College of the City of New York.

Russell's appointment was confirmed by New York's Board of Higher Education in spite of a media frenzy led by Dr William Thomas Manning, the Episcopal Bishop of New York.

The matter was however taken to the New York Supreme Court by Jean Kay who was afraid that her daughter would be harmed by the appointment although her daughter was not a student at CCNY. The judge hearing the case was the Irish Catholic John E. McGeehan who on the basis of four of Russell's popular and non-philosophic books (On Education, What I Believe, Education and the Modern World, and Marriage and Morals) ruled against 'a chair of indecency,' finding Russell morally unfit to teach philosophy. In the books, Russell among other things advocated sex before marriage.

Russell was prevented from appearing in court and an appeal by the American Civil Liberties Union was denied in several courts. The City of New York's lawyers told the Board of Higher Education that the verdict would not be appealed. A few days later Mayor LaGuardia removed the funds for the position from the budget.

When Russell published An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, the lectures he gave at Harvard that fall, he added "Judicially pronounced unworthy to be Professor of Philosophy at the College of the City of New York" to the...
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