Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Alice von Hildebrand on Philosophy

Dr. von Hildebrand is a retired philosophy professor. She taught for many years at Hunter College in New York City. She is the widow of Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand, an Italian-born German philosopher, who, fleeing from the Nazis, set up shop at Fordham University, my alma mater, where he taught for several years before retiring. Both husband and wife distinguished themselves in their academic careers, and both managed to offend the administrative authorities. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand was the inspirer of a good many conversions in her days at Hunter (not known as a reservoir of Christian orthodoxy). In fact, I know one of her converts, though I've never had the privilege of meeting Dr. von Hildebrand herself. As for her husband, he wrote a number of fine books. By training, he was a phenomenologist, having been a student of Husserl and a friend of Scheler's. He lived long enough to see the decline and destruction of the Roman liturgy, against which he heartily protested.

Dr. Alice von Hildebrand gives a wonderfully illustrated, elementary introduction to philosophy to a group of Catholic high school students. To hear her is to hear, by proxy, much of her husband's teaching as well---true philosophers, both of them!

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