Writing Conversationalists into History

The Case of Burton Dreben


  • James Pearson Bridgewater State University




Burton Dreben taught a generation of scholars the value of closely attending to the recent philosophical past. But the few papers he authored do little to capture his philosophical voice. In this article, I turn instead to an unpublished transcript of Dreben in conversation with his contemporaries. In addition to yielding insights into a transitional period in W.V. Quine’s and Donald Davidson’s thought, I argue that this document showcases Dreben in his element, revealing the way that he shaped the views of key analytic philosophers. More broadly, I argue that by writing conversationalists like Dreben into our histories we can capture the collaborative nature of philosophy.

Author Biography

James Pearson, Bridgewater State University

I am an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Bridgewater State University.


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