- José Huertas-Jourda (1931-2007)
- Joseph Kockelmans (1923-2008)
- Thomas Seebohm (1934-2014)
- Elisabeth Ströker (1928-2000)
José Huertas-Jourda (1931-2007) was the first President of the Center for the Advanced Research in Phenomenology. Professor Huertas-Jourda received his PhD from New York University in 1969, his dissertation was entitled “On the Threshold of Phenomenolgoy: A Study of the Philosophie der Arithmetik”. He spent most of his career as a Professor of Philosophy at Wilfrid Laurier University – the original home of the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology – in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He co-founded the Husserl Circle with Algis Mickunas and F. Joseph Smith, and also was a co-founder of the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology with Lester Embree, Fred Kersten, Giuseppina Moneta, and Richard Zaner.
Professor Huertas-Jourda contributed greatly to the understanding and dissemination of phenomenology, not only in founding important phenomenological organizations, but through his teaching, scholarship and writings. Some representative publications are: The Existentialism of Miguel de Unamuno (1963), The Origins of Otherness and Owness (1983), and Questions of Method (1988).
Joseph Kockelmans (1923-2008) served for many years as Vice President of the Center for the Advanced Research in Phenomenology. Professor Kockelmans was a major figure in bringing the phenomenological tradition to the United States. He played an important role in the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy and Man and World that eventually became Continental Philosophy Review. He was the convener of the first two annual meetings of the Heidegger Circle, and he served as Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in the Humanities and Professor of Phiosophy at The Pennsylvania State University. He was also the President of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, from 1986-1987. In 1994 a collection of essays in Kockelmans’ honor was published under the title The Question of Hermeneutics.
Professor Kockelmans is best known as a Husserl and Heidegger scholar and made important contributions to phenomenology, hermeneutics and the philosophy of science. Some representative publications are: Edmund Husserl’s Phenomenological Psychology (1967), On the Truth of Being (1984), and Ideas for a Hermeneutic Phenomenology of the Natural Sciences (1993).
Thomas Mulvany Seebohm (1934-2014) died at home in Bonn surrounded by his wife and three sons on August 25. He was born on July 7, 1934 in Gleiwitz.
Due in part to the times in Germany after the war, after graduating the classical gymnasium in 1952, he learned cabinetmaking, becoming a journeyman in 1954. He then studied Philosophy, Slavic Languages, Slavonic Literature, and Sociology at the Universities of Bonn, Saarbrűcken, and Mainz, receiving his doctorate in Philosophy summa cum laude in 1960 with Die Bedingungen der Möglichkeit der Transzendentalphilosophie (Bonn 1962). From 1960 to 1965 he studied medieval Russian philosophy and culture further, eventually publishing Ratio und Charisma. Ansatz zur Ausbildung eines philosophisches und wissenschaftlichen Weltverständnisses im Moskauer Russland (Bonn 1977).
Seebohm began teaching as an Assistant at Mainz in 1965, was a visiting professor at the Pennsylvania State University in 1970-1972 and at Trier in 1973. He was then a full Professor at Penn State 1973-1984, with additional visiting professorships at the New School for Social Research in 1980 and at Heidelberg in 1981. He was a Director of the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, Inc. since the 1970s. And finally he returned to Mainz as the successor of Gerhard Funke in 1984 and retired in 1999.
Further books are Zur Kritik der hermeneutischen Vernunft (Bonn 1972), Philosophie der Logik. Handbuch Philosophie (Freiburg 1984), Elementare formalsierte Logik (Freiburg, 1991), Hermeneutics: Method and Methodology (Dordrecht 2004), and, finally, a comprehensive phenomenological epistemology, History as a Science and the System of the Sciences (Dordrecht, in press).
There is a Festschrift, Phenomenology on Kant, German Idealism, Hermeneutics, and Logic (ed. O.K. Wiegand et al., Dordrecht: 2000), with an Introduction by Joseph Kockelmans on the accomplishments until then that fit that title and that made Thomas cry when he read it. Kocklemans’s summary is that, “above all Seebohm considered himself a creative phenomenologist who as a critically reflecting philosopher would look at all major issues with which he became confronted from a transcendental point of view” (p.3). From helping with the last book I can add that Thomas also found a final affinity with the New School tendency in American phenomenology, i.e., Dorion Cairns, Aron Gurwitsch, and Alfred Schutz.
— Lester Embree
Elisabeth Ströker (1928-2000) was a distinguished member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology. Professor Ströker studied chemistry, mathematics and philosophy at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität in Bonn. In 1965, she took over as head of the Philosophical Seminar at the Technische Universität Carolo-Wilhelmina, Braunschweig. In 1971, she became a Professor of Philosophy at the Universität Köln and remained at the university Köln until her retirement in 1993. While there she served as director of the Husserl Archives. In 1992 she was honored by the Imperial University of Utrecht for her contributions to Husserlian studies, the history of science, and her work on Helmuth Plessner. She was one of the first women phenomenologists to achieve the rank of Professor Ordinarius and should be considered in company with such women phenomenologists as Stein, Arendt, and Beauvoir.
Professor Ströker is perhaps best known for her work using phenomenological approaches to enhance understanding of the natural sciences. She emphasized the need for ethical reflection on the sciences. Some representative: publications are: Philosophical Investigations Into Space (1965), The Husserlian Foundations of Science (1987), and Husserl’s Transcendental Phenomenology (1987).