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David Sidorsky

Title | Organization: 
Professor | Columbia University

A.B., New York University (1948)
A.M., New York University (1954)
Ph.D., Columbia University (1962)

David Sidorsky has taught philosophy at Columbia University since 1959, and received his PhD in Philosophy at Columbia in 1962. His primary teaching and research interests are in moral philosophy and political philosophy, with secondary interests in philosophy of literature and the history of 20th century philosophy, including the history of American philosophy.

His interest in moral philosophy and ethical theory is evident in a pair of companion essays, “Incomplete Routes to Moral Objectivity: Four Variants of Naturalism,” reprinted in Moral Knowledge (Cambridge University Press), and “Incomplete Routes to Moral Objectivity: Rationalism and Pluralism,” published in the Yearbook for Philosophical Hermeneutics. One aspect of his work in moral philosophy has been the evaluation of Isaiah Berlin’s effort to justify moral pluralism without moral relativism which appeared in an essay “On Isaiah Berlin” in Partisan Review and has been reprinted in an anthology of Berlin criticism. His current teaching in this area is a course in “Moral Philosophy” and such elective courses as “Ethical Naturalism.”

His interest in political philosophy is reflected in his publications in Social Philosophy and Policy, which include “Pluralism, Contextualism and Distributive Justice” as well as “Moral Pluralism and Philanthropy.”  Among his other essays are “Contemporary Reinterpretations of the Concept of Human Rights,” which appeared in Iyyun and was reprinted in the collection “Essays on Human Rights,” and “The Third Concept of Liberty and the Politics of Identity,” published in Partisan Review. It is also reflected in the anthology he edited The Liberal Tradition in European Thought (Putnam).  A recent paper which was delivered at the conference of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy was “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Pluralist Perspectives,” which is to be published in the next edition of the Annual Yearbook of the Society, NOMOS.  He is a member of the editorial board of Social Philosophy and Policy. His current teaching in this area is a course in “Political Philosophy” and such elective courses as “Varieties of Liberalism.”

His interest in philosophy of literature and literary theory can be seen in a number of essays on the theme of Modernism and Morality. These include three essays published in New Literary History: “Modernism and the Emancipation of Literature from Morality: Teleology and Vocation in Proust, Joyce, and Ford Maddox Ford,” “The Historical Novel as the Denial of History: From Nestor via the Vico Road to the Commodius Vicus of Recirculation,” and “The Uses of the Philosophy of G.E. Moore in the Works of E.M. Forster.” His current course in this area is “Philosophy of Literature.”

His interest in Twentieth-Century Philosophy has focused on Anglo-American analytical philosophy including the developmental transitions from American Pragmatism to Logical Positivism and Linguistic Analysis. In connection with these philosophical movements, his publications include John Dewey: The Essential Writings edited with an introductory essay for the Harper Torch Book Series and the editing with an introductory essay of a volume of Dewey’s writings on ethics for the Collected Works of John Dewey, 1882-1953.  They also include an essay “Pragmatism: Method, Metaphysics, and Morals,” for The German Encyclopedia of Pragmatism as well as the article on the pragmatism of Sidney Hook for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  A review essay in this field, covering works of Ayer, Popper, and Quine, is “Beyond the Vienna Circle,” which appeared in Partisan Review.  His current course in this area is PHIL V3301: 20th Century Philosophy.

Areas of Specialization: 

Political Philosophy; Ethical Theory