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BRS Board and Society Meeting Minutes – 1996


May 3, 1996

(from the August 1996 BRS Quarterly - #91)

The 1996 Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors of The Bertrand Russell Society was held at Mead hall on the campus of Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, U.S.A. on Friday, May 3, 1996. The meeting was called to order at 8:05 p.m. by Chair Michael J. Rockler. The following directors were present: Kenneth Blackwell, Dennis J. Darland, Lee Eisler, Donald W. Jackanicz, Robert T. James, John R. Lenz, Stephen J. Reinhardt, Michael J. Rockler, John E. Shosky, and Thorn Weidlich. Several non-Board members were also present.

The first order of business was the election of Board and Society officers. As follows, each incumbent was unanimously reelected:

Board Chairman: Michael J. Rockler
Board and Society Secretary: Donald W. Jackanicz
Society President: John R. Lenz
Society Vice President: John E. Shosky
Society Vice President of Information Emeritus: Lee Eisler
Society Treasurer: Dennis J. Darland

Treasurer Dennis J. Darland then reported that the treasury balance is $2,819.92 ($2,450.43 checking, $369.49 savings) and that there are 181 paying members (including regular, student, limited income, and life members, but omitting honorary, Benares Chapter, and Philippine Chapter members).

Discussion turned to the site of the next two annual meetings. As agreed upon at the 1995 Board meeting, it was confirmed that the next annual meeting will be held in June or July 1997 at an Ontario, Canada location (e.g. Niagara Falls or Toronto) in conjunction with the joint meeting of Free Inquiry and the Humanist Association of Canada. Concerning the 1998 annual meeting site, to bring the meeting to a central North American location, Mr. Rockler proposed Chicago and Mr. Blackwell suggested an unspecified Nebraska site. Non-Board member Jan Eisler discussed her recent work with Florida freethinker groups and volunteered to help plan a Tampa or central Florida meeting. The vote was Tampa or central Florida-6, Chicago-1, not voting-3. (There was no formal motion for the Nebraska site.)

Other matters considered included the following: (1) As David Johnson has resigned from the Philosophers’ Committee, Mr. Shosky will undertake more Committee work, such as reviving the BRS session at the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division’s annual December meetings. (2) Mr. Rockler and Mr. Lenz will ask Sheila Turcon to head the Book Award Committee. (3) A strategy must be created to increase and retain membership. Methods suggested were a prominent insert in the Bertrand Russell Society Quarterly, a review of advertising policy, new fundraising techniques, a revival of the Membership Committee with the chairperson to do substantial work, and contacting the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation about possible cooperation. (4) the membership pamphlet and application form will be reedited. (5) Non-Board member Peter Stone suggested offering honorary membership to Noam Chomsky. It was agreed that Mr. Stone would discuss this matter at the May 5 Society ("Members") Business Meeting. (6) Mr. Lenz proposed organizing a Bylaws Committee. Mr. Blackwell, Mr. Lenz, and Mr. Reinhardt volunteered to serve on the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:54 p.m.

Donald W. Jackanicz, Secretary
Bertrand Russell Society


May 5, 1996

President Lenz opened the Annual Society Business Meeting on Sunday, May 5, 1996 at 11 a.m.

He announced (1) Christos Tzanetakos is planning a combined meeting of American humanist, atheist, and freethinker groups to be held in 2000 somewhere in the United States, (2) the BRS will be listed in the Conference of Philosophical Societies’ directory for a $10 fee, (3) Carl Westmann will work on sending BRS advertisements and other mailings to humanist groups, and (4) member Ray Perkins’s new book, Logic and Mr. Limbaugh (Open Court, 1995), has appeared.

Secretary Donald Jackanicz summarized events at the May 3, 1996 Board of Directors meeting and reported on the acceptance of honorary membership by Ken Coates, Elizabeth R. Eames, Michael Foot, Antony Flew, Paul Kurtz, and Willard Van Orman Quine.

Peter Stone then proposed that honorary membership be offered to Noam Chomsky. Following discussion, it was agreed that Mr. Stone would send a formal nomination letter to the Board of Directors Chairman.

Tom Stanley’s recent work on a BRS homepage was praised, and it was announced that the homepage will be moved from Mr. Stanley’s computer account to that of President Lenz.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:40 p.m.

Donald W. Jackanicz, Secretary
Bertrand Russell Society


May 3-5, 1996

The Annual Meeting of The Bertrand Russell Society was held May 3-5, 1996 at Mead Hall, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey and at The Madison Hotel, 1 Convent road, Morristown, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Friday, May 3, 1996

All meeting events on this date took place in Mead Hall. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by President John R. Lenz, who welcomed those assembled and provided an overview of the meeting. Book Award Committee Chairperson Donald Jackanicz presented the 1996 BRS Book Award to Paul J. Hager for his Continuity and Change in the Development of Russell’s Philosophy. Thomas Magnell then presented the 1996 BRS Award to Willard Van Orman Quine. (As Messrs. Hager and Quine were unable to attend, their award plaques are to be mailed to them.) The meeting was recessed at 8:05 p.m.

The Board of directors meeting was then held. (See “BRS 1996 Annual Board of Directors Meeting Minutes” above.)

Saturday, May 4, 1996

All meeting events on this date took place in Mead Hall, except that the Red hackle Hour and the Banquet were held at The Madison Hotel. President Lenz reconvened the meeting at 9: 15 a.m. The following paper presentations were made during the morning session: H. James Birx, “Russell and Evolution”; John Shosky, “Philosophy and Politics”; and Tim Madigan, “Russell’s Humanism.” To begin the afternoon session, Michael Rockler offered a “Workshop of Russell’s Fiction” in which three works (“Cranks”, “Zahatopolk”, and “The Theologian’s Nightmare”) were examined.

The following paper presentations also were made during the afternoon session: David Rodier, “Russell’s Plato”; and Alan Ryan, “Cosmic Piety and Impiety in Russell and Dewey”. The meeting was recessed at 4:35 p.m.

The Red Hackle Hour and Banquet were held from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., respectively in the Convent Suite and the Madison Suite. At the end of the Banquet, Trevor Banks appeared as Russell in a well-received performance of some forty minutes.

Sunday, May 5, 1996

All meeting events on this date took place in Mead Hall. The meeting was reconvened by President Lenz at 9:00 a.m. The following paper presentations were made: Brian Rookey, “What is Meaning?” (1996 Recipient of the Prize for an Undergraduate Paper); Laurie E. Thomas, “Bertrand Russell and the Liberal Media” (1996 Runner-up for the Prize for an Undergraduate Paper); and Gideon Makin, “Some Relevant Misconceptions Concerning the Theory of Descriptions” (1996 Recipient of the prize for a Graduate Paper).

President Lenz then opened the annual Society Business Meeting. (See “BRS 1996 Annual Membership Meeting Minutes” above.)

Following words of farewell from President Lenz, the meeting was adjourned at 12:40 p.m.

Donald W. Jackanicz, Secretary
Bertrand Russell Society