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The Metaphysical Society of America
Founded in 1950
Constituent of the American Council of Learned Societies

About the Society

Founded in 1950, the Metaphysical Society of America is an organization of professional philosophers that meets once annually to discuss issues of fundamental concern in all of the major areas of philosophical reflection. It is a society committed to the principle that philosophical thought is open to a variety of different traditions and methodologies, and at its annual meeting, it provides a forum for the discussion of the questions that have animated philosophical debate from the start. The Society has no publication of its own, but has from its inception maintained a close informal relation with the Review of Metaphysics. Since 1958, it has been a constituent of the American Council of Learned Societies. More...

Present Officers of the Society

The MSA Council is composed of the President, Vice-President/President Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, and four Councilors. Councilors are nominated by the Council and elected by the Membership to staggered four-year terms and assist the Officers in the governance of the Society, including nomination of candidates for Vice-President, review of papers submitted to the annual meeting, and attending the annual Executive Council Meeting, which is held at the annual meeting of the Society.

John J. Stuhr, Emory University

Vice-President/President Elect
Phillip Stambovsky

Tyler Tritten, Gonzaga University (2023-2026) 

Jessica Wahman, Emory University (2023-2026) 

Executive Council
Jeffrey Dirk Wilson, Catholic University of America (2023-2027)
Gregory Moss, Chinese University of Hong Kong (2023-2027)
Lisa Landoe Hedrick, The University of Chicago(2021-2025)
Wesley DeMarco, Clark University (2024-2028)

Delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies
George R. Lucas, Jr. (2022-2026)

Graduate Advisory Board

Lucas Carroll, Boston College
Michael Kolodziej, University of Chicago
Kelly Schoina, Emory University
​ Kara Slagell, Fordham University

Council of Past Presidents

The following past presidents are recognized for their outstanding and on-going financial support of the Society:
Dan Dombrowski
Richard Velkley
George Allan
Nancy K. Frankenberry
Jorge Gracia
John Lachs
George R. Lucas, Jr.

Past Presidents and Their Addresses

(MSA presidential addresses are published in The Review of Metaphysics. Note, although the Society was
founded in 1950, the first president was elected in 1952.)

Year President Address Title
1952 Paul Weiss The Past: Its Nature and Reality
1953 Paul Weiss The Contemporary World
1954 John Wild The New Empiricism and Human Time
1955 Charles Hartshorne Some Empty Though Important Truths
1956 Newton P. Stallknecht The Quality of Man
1957 George Klubertanz The Problem of the Analogy of Being
1958 William Ernest Hocking Fact Field and Destincy: Inductive Elements of Metaphysics
1959 Rudolph Allers The Subjective and the Objective
1960 Richard McKeon Being, Existence, and That Which Is
1961 Henry Veatch Matrix, Matter, And Method in Metaphysics
1962 James Collins The Bond of Natural Being
1963 Donald Williams Necessary Facts
1964 Peter Bertocci Toward a Metaphysics of Creation
1965 Francis Parker The Temporal Being of Western Man
1966 Robert Brumbaugh Applied Metaphysics: Truth and Passing Time
1967 John Herman Randall, Jr. Metaphysics and Language
1968 W. Norris Clarke, S.J. The Self as Source of Meaning in Metaphysics
1969 Errol Harris The Power of Reason
1970 Richard Hocking Event, Act and Presence
1971 John E. Smith Being, Immediacy and Articulation
1972 Joseph Owens Reality and Metaphysics
1973 Roderick Chisholm Parts as Essential to Their Wholes
1974 Ernan McMullin Two Faces of Science
1975 J N Findlay The Three Hypostases of Platonism
1976 Marjorie Grene Merleau-Ponty and the Renewal of Ontology
1977 Wilfrid Sellars Being as Becoming: Towards a Metaphysics of Pure Reason
1978 Andrew Reck Being And Substance
1979 John Compton Reinventing the Philosophy of Nature
1980 Kenneth L. Schmitz A Moment of Truth: Present Actuality
1981 Ivor Leclerc The Metaphysics of the Good
1982 Thomas Langan A Strategy for the Pursuit of Truth
1983 Richard T. De George Social Reality and Social Relations
1984 Jude P. Dougherty Structure: Substantial and Other
1985 R. M. Martin The Metaphysical Status of Mathematical Entities
1986 George L. Kline Past, Present and Future as Categorical Terms and the Fallacy of the Actual Future
1987 Edward Pols On Knowing Directly: The Actualization of First Philosophy
1988 Richard Bernstein Metaphysics, Critique and Utopia
1989 Robert Neville Value, Courage and Leadership
1990 Robert Sokolowski  The Question of Being
1991 Stanley Rosen Is Metaphysics Possible
1992 Mary Clark  An Inquiry Into Personhood
1993 Ralph McInerny  The Science We Are Seeking
1994 Donald Sherburne  Some Reflections on Sartre's Nothingness and Whitehead's Perishing
1995 William Desmond  Being, Determination and Dialectic: On The Sources of Metaphysical Thinking
1996 Sandra Rosenthal  Self, Community, and Time: A Shared Sociality
1997 John Lachs Valuational Species
1998 Eugene Thomas Long Quest for Transcendence
1999 Oliva Blanchette Suarez and the Latent Essentialism of Heidegger's Fundamental Ontology
2000 George Allan Perishable Goods
2001 Jorge Gracia Are Categories Invented or Discovered? A Response to Foucault
2002 James Felt Epochal Time and The Continuity of Experience
2003 Vincent Colapietro Striving to Speak in a Human Voice: A Peircean Contribution to Metaphysical Discourse
2004 Frederick Ferre The Practicality of Metaphysics
2005 Nicholas Rescher Textuality, Reality and the Limits of Knowledge
2006 John Wippel Thomas Aquinas on the Ultimate Question: Why is there anything at all rather than nothing whatsoever?
2007 Lenn Goodman Value and the Dynamics of Being
2008 Joseph Grange The Generosity of the Good
2009 Donald Verene Metaphysics and the Origin of Culture
2010 Dan Dahlstrom Being and Negation
2011 Tom Flynn Whatever Happened to Humanism? Reconciling the Being of Language and the Being of Man
2012 Edward Halper Reason and the Rationality of Being
2013 May Sim Metaphysics and Ethics, East and West
2014 Alan White Rearticulating Being
2015 Richard Dien Winfield Self-determination in Logic and Reality
2016 George R. Lucas, Jr. Anaximander and the Ordering of Time
2017 Nancy K. Frankenberry Consenting to Contingency After Rorty and Nagarjuna.
2018 Richard Velkley The Fate of Human Action: The Agency of 'Reason' in Modern Philosophy.
2019 Dan Dombrowski Metaphysics, Political Philosophy, and the Process of Liberal Political Justification.
2020/2021 Larry Cahoone Towards an Ordinal Naturalism.
2022 Owen Goldin Symbolic Classification and the Emergence of a Metaphysics of Causality.
2023 David Weissman Presidential Roundtable with Tim Maudlin and Peter VanInwagen.
2024 Michael Baur Some Thoughts on the Identity and Difference of Knower and Known, and the Difference It Makes.

Edited volume on the history of the Society

Being in AmericaBeing in America: Sixty Years of the Metaphysical Society
Brian G. Henning and David Kovacs (eds.)
(Rodopi, Histories and Addresses of Philosophical Societies Series)

Publisher website

Book description
Since its founding in 1950, the Metaphysical Society of America has remained a pluralistic community dedicated to rigorous philosophical inquiry into the most basic metaphysical questions. At each year’s conference, the presidential address offers original insights into metaphysical questions. Both the insights and the questions are as perennial as they are relevant to contemporary philosophers.
This volume collects eighteen of the finest representatives from those presidential addresses, including contributions from George Allan, Richard Bernstein, Norris Clarke, Vincent Colapietro, Frederick Ferré, Jorge J. E. Gracia, Joseph Grange, Marjorie Grene, George Klubertanz, Ivor Leclerc, Ralph McInerny, Ernan McMullin, Joseph Owens, John Herman Randall, Jr., Nicholas Rescher, Stanley Rosen, John E. Smith, and Robert Sokolowski. Also included are Paul Weiss’s inaugural address to the Society, an introduction chronicling the history of the Society, and an original Foreword by William Desmond and Epilogue by Robert Neville.

Richard T. Hull: Editorial Foreword

Foreword William Desmond Being in America: On Metaphysics and the Metaphysical Society of America

Brian G. Henning and David Kovacs: Introduction

Part One: The Question of Metaphysics
Paul Weiss: The Four-fold Art of Avoiding Questions
George Klubertanz: The Problem of the Analogy of Being
W. Norris Clarke: The Self as Source of Meaning in Metaphysics
Joseph Owens: Reality and Metaphysics
Marjorie Grene: Merleau-Ponty and the Renewal of Ontology
Richard J. Bernstein: Metaphysics, Critique, and Utopia
Robert Sokolowski: The Question of Being
Stanley Rosen: Is Metaphysics Possible?
Ralph McInerny: The Science We are Seeking
Frederick Ferré: The Practicality of Metaphysics

Part Two: The Question of Knowledge
Ernan McMullin: Two faces of Science
Jorge J. E. Gracia: Are Categories Invented or Discovered? A Response to Foucault
Nicholas Rescher: Textuality, Reality, and the Limits of Knowledge

Part Three: The Question of Language
John Herman Randall, Jr.: Metaphysics and Language
John E. Smith: Being, Immediacy and Articulation
Vincent Colapietro: Striving to Speak in a Human Voice: A Peircean Contribution to Metaphysical Discourse

Part Four: The Question of the Good
Ivor Leclerc: The Metaphysics of the Good
George Allan: Perishable Goods
Joseph Grange: The Generosity of the Good

Epilogue Robert C. Neville: The Legacy and Future

Appendix A: Bibliography of Presidential Addresses of the Metaphysical Society of America 1952–2010