"...Online Newsletter from the Pittsburg State University College of Arts and Sciences"

A philosopher abroad


Don Viney and Gouvian Lebreck

Philosophers have an image of people who stay at home alone in their studies.  This has not been the case—at least recently—for Professor Don Viney who has spent a considerable amount of time traveling the world.

“Maeve and I returned from Germany two days ago and are still in recovery from the jet lag,” said Viney. “I'm heading off to Colorado in a couple of days to visit my father and to attend a conference in Manitou Springs. After that trip I'll turn around almost immediately and go to the far western part of North Carolina to participate in a Hartshorne conference.”

This is all after a recently completed sabbatical during which he traveled to France to meet with Goulven Le Brech, a young scholar who works as an archivist at the School of Higher Learning in Social Sciences in Paris. Goulven published a biography on philosopher Jules Lequyer in 2007.

Viney said he first became interested in Jules Lequyer in the late '70s when he was reading the work of American philosopher Charles Hartshorne.

"Time and again he would mention Lequyer and I had never heard of this man before," Viney said. "Both William James and Jean-Paul Sartre quoted Lequyer's words and developed his ideas."

Viney said Lequyer died without publishing any of his work and most of what he wrote remains incomplete.

In between travel for scholarly purposes, Viney (along with his wife Professor Maeve Cummings of the College of Business), finds time to travel for pleasure.

“Our German experience was wonderful,” says Viney.  “I played a benefit concert in Dallgow, a picturesque suburb of Berlin in what used to be the Eastern bloc.”

The benefit was part of something called "culture days" which involved various artists and musicians helping to raise money to restore some historic buildings. It's quite an experience singing and playing for a German audience.

“I was the final act in a string of musicians,” said Viney who plays guitar. “The audience was very receptive and I had them singing ‘We Shall Overcome’ as my final number.”

Viney will be back in his study, and the classroom, this Fall.


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