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BRS Board and Society Meeting Minutes – 2002


Friday, May 31, 2002

(From the August 2002 BRS Quarterly - issue #115)

At 8:30 p.m. Friday evening, May 31, 2002 the BRS Board of Directors held its annual meeting at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest Illinois. In attendance were Directors Ken Blackwell, Rosalind Carey, Nicholas Griffin, Peter Friedman, Tim Madigan, Ray Perkins, Steve Reinhardt, Alan Schwerin, Peter Stone, Chad Trainer, and David White. Steve Maragides, a longtime BRS member but not a director, was also present.

Ken Blackwell opened the meeting listing the five items on the meeting agenda: next year’s meeting site, the question of whether or not candidates for BRS awards should be restricted to those willing to appear at the annual meeting, a possible new award for editing, encouragement of potential new members by a waiving of their dues, and elections for the coming year.

Before delving into these subjects, the subject of “outreach” was brought up. Peter Friedman explained his visions of promoting the BRS through a news site service that, while charging other organizations for its services, would not charge the BRS. The BRS, it was explained, would also profit from building relationships with related links and working with an advertising agency. Peter Friedman explained, however, that lack of progress on this front was attributable to insufficient resources. Ken Blackwell then suggested that the BRS’ web page be examined with a view to recommending improvements, and Steve Reinhardt suggested advertising in the Bertrand Russell Society Quarterly.

Peter Stone pointed out the propriety of addressing last year’s Treasurer’s report and meeting minutes. Alan Schwerin moved to accept last year’s Treasurer’s report and Ray Perkins seconded the motion. Steve Maragides was asked to send thanks to Dennis Darland for the quality of Dennis’ work as Treasurer, and there was discussion of Dennis’ high value in this role, especially in adding stability to the Society. Ray Perkins made a motion to accept last year’s meeting minutes and Peter Stone seconded it.

The location of next year’s meeting was then addressed. Ken Blackwell expressed regret that planning for a meeting at the Center for Inquiry’s Los Angeles site had not come to fruition. Peter Stone brought up the Greater Russell Rochester Set’s relationship with the Center for Inquiry, and David White said that Paul Kurtz has indicated complete support for the BRS using the Center. Nevertheless, the lack of an active member in California was considered a stumbling block. Peter Stone mentioned that Charles Weyand could be useful for outreach in this matter. Alan Schwerin asked how strong our support was in California. Peter Stone mentioned the increasingly aged status of the people in California, and Ken Blackwell pointed out that nobody from California attended last year’s meeting.

Ray Perkins volunteered Plymouth State College of the New Hampshire University as a fall-back site for the annual meeting but said that he would like to see the meeting in California come through. David White suggested California as the location for the meeting in two years so that there would be more preparation time. Alan Schwerin reminded the board of the difficulties last time in getting California to work as the place. Peter Stone pointed out that, in any case, there are advantages to having information on the annual meeting’s location as early as the November Quarterly. Alan Schwerin moved to accept Ray Perkins’ offer of Plymouth State for next year’s meeting and to consider California as a further goal.

Rosalind Carey suggested that Lake Forest could be used again, and Peter Stone expressed his support for this idea, saying that Plymouth State or the Los Angeles Center for Inquiry could be considered for 2004. Alan Schwerin then withdrew his motion, and a motion was made by Rosalind Carey for Lake Forest College as the location for next year’s meeting, which Alan Schwerin seconded. Concerning future meeting locations, Peter Friedman suggested Princeton but Ken Blackwell said that we need someone on site. Brief discussion followed of having a meeting at City College of New York so as to provide the institution with a means to, at least, partially atoning for its 1940 treatment of Russell. At this point, Ken Blackwell indicated his unease with the present officers taking charge of this matter.

The subject of BRS awards was discussed, with the question being whether the BRS awards should require awardees to attend the meeting at which the award is announced. Alan Schwerin mentioned the disappointment involved in selecting awardees who are no-shows. But then the prospect of the BRS locking itself out from many possible awardees as a result of a change here was considered, and no motions for a change were made. Ken Blackwell clarified that it was only the main award of the BRS that was under consideration here.

The possibility of a new award for editing collections of Russell’s papers and letters was brought up. Alan Schwerin stressed the importance of giving recognition to such editors. Tim Madigan suggested calling such an award the “Harry Ruja Award.” Ken Blackwell, however, did not think this appropriate, as Ruja was best known as a bibliographer, not an editor. Peter Friedman then suggested calling it the “Russell Scholar Award.” Peter Stone noted the already small pool of candidates and was joined in this observation by Nick Griffin. Alan Schwerin proposed an award for Russell editorial scholarship with a committee empowered to exercise discretion as to whether or not to issue an award. Then Ken Blackwell wondered whether a foreign language award would be in order. Alan Schwerin moved that the current book awards committee have the discretion to make an occasional special award for editing. Ray Perkins seconded the motion.

Officer elections were considered next. Ken Blackwell said he was looking forward to retiring as Chair of the Board but would certainly stay on as a director. The directors then elected the following officers by acclamation:

President – Alan Schwerin
Chair – David White
Vice President – Ray Perkins
Secretary – Chad Trainer
Treasurer – Dennis Darland

The directors expressed their gratitude to Ken Blackwell for his years chairing the Board and the meeting, then concluded with Alan Schwerin thanking, on behalf of the Society, David White, Tim Madigan, Peter Stone, and Rachel Murray for the quality of their work with the BRSQ.

Chad Trainer, BRS Secretary


Saturday, June 1, 2002

On Saturday afternoon, June 1, 2002 at 1 p.m., Alan Schwerin began the BRS membership meeting, held at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois, by informing the members of the previous evening’s developments at the board meeting. Then the subject of fostering greater awareness of the BRS was discussed. Edward McClenathan mentioned the services of Elderhostels as something to be considered. Steve Reinhardt mentioned a catalog of services that provide lectures for senior citizens and could be to the Society’s avail. David Blitz suggested paper contests, but Alan Schwerin countered that the efforts already made along these lines had not borne results in spite of the lucrative prizes. Steve Maragides insisted on the futility of such efforts. Ray Perkins stressed that people who have students need to do more work soliciting Russell papers. And Peter Friedman, while concurring with Perkins, pointed out the need for discovering ways and means in this area and effectively getting on various “bandwagons” for exposure.

As a possible way to get greater attention, Alan Schwerin mentioned advertising in the American Philosophical Association publications. David Blitz proposed having a ‘specific topic designated in soliciting papers. Ed Boedeker expressed concern that such designated topics might unduly limit submissions. Peter Stone and Peter Friedman said they saw no problems with specified topics for papers. David Goldman suggested specifying limited time periods for completing papers.

Alan Schwerin brought up for consideration, as a means to better attendance and exposure, the idea of having the BRS annual meeting during the academic year. Tim Madigan pointed out the problem with available dormitory space that would result. Schwerin raised the option of using hotels instead. Peter Stone mentioned that the Center for Free Inquiry site in Los Angeles (a much discussed possible place for a meeting) didn’t offer dormitories anyway and could attract UCLA students. Alan Schwerin said that off-college sites could reduce student attendance. Tim Madigan, however, saw no practical impact resulting, and Ray Perkins agreed. Ray reiterated that paper submissions were the best way to draw students into the BRS. David White said an advertisement for a spot on the APA programs was a good idea. And the Greater Russell Rochester Set spoke of how they could invite students to speak. Peter Stone said publication of papers in the Quarterly was an option. There was agreement that the Russell Prize Committee would be the proper group to address the matter. Greg Landini suggested free transportation to the APA conventions as a good incentive.

Peter Stone then encouraged the weekend’s presenters to submit their papers to the BRS Quarterly. He also explained that he had membership forms and free copies of the BRSQ to circulate and improve awareness and scholarship in the field of Russell. Alan spoke of how membership is a precondition for delivering a paper to the BRS, and he requested a greater number of submissions for the meetings, which, he said, would relieve the burden on the professionals.

The topic of getting greater publicity for the BRS was revisited, with Greg Landini focusing on the merits of documentary audio/visual materials, public access channels, and the like. Alan Schwerin mentioned the value of “philosophical corners” in student newspapers that would use quotations from Russell. Chad Trainer suggested that the BRS work more closely with the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation by reciprocally promoting each other in their respective publications. Peter Stone indicated his openness to the idea, and Ray Perkins said he had connections with the Foundation’s publication, The Spokesman, that could be of avail.

Ray Perkins also mentioned that, considering developments between Pakistan and India, as well as the new nuclear policy of United States President George W. Bush, a statement from the BRS to the U.S. is in order urging the elimination of nuclear weapons. He moved that the Society endorse the following statement:

We urge the US to negotiate with the nations of the world a treaty leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons under strict and effective international control. And in order to reduce the danger of accidental nuclear war, we also urge the US forthwith to:

(1) pledge “no first use” of nuclear weapons,
(2) de-alert its ICBMs,
(3) ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and
(4) preserve the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Peter Friedman replied that other governments should be similarly urged. Gregory Landini disagreed with the idea of the U.S. discarding nuclear weapons. Alan Schwerin asked if those present at the meeting were entitled to speak on behalf of the Bertrand Russell Society at large. Perkins said this was permissible since a quorum was present, and he emphasized the importance of acting promptly on the issue rather than delaying the matter indefinitely. Peter Stone then asked what exactly would be done with the resolution. Ray Perkins replied that the resolution would be given to the press. David White expressed opposition to the resolution on grounds that it was disrespectful to the American military, as well as insensitive to opinions Pakistan has publicized. David Blitz proposed perhaps a shorter version of the resolution. Peter Stone, while acknowledging the importance of the actual wording, said that, as a practical matter, world leaders are indifferent to what Russell thought, let alone what the BRS thinks.

Much debate ensued, and Alan Schwerin raised the question of what to do on the matter considering that the meeting’s allotted time was running out. David Goldman suggested voting on the issue and repudiating the verdict should the membership at large disapprove of the vote. First, there was a vote on “whether or not to vote on the matter of the BRS issuing Ray Perkins’ resolution.” There were twelve votes for proceeding with a vote, and four votes against. Ray Perkins then reread his resolution. There were fifteen votes in support of the BRS issuing Ray’s resolution and six votes against Ray’s proposal. The meeting concluded at 2 p.m. with Alan Schwerin explaining that the exact recipients of Ray’s resolution would have to be addressed at a later time.

Chad Trainer, BRS Secretary


May 31 – June 2, 2002

The Bertrand Russell Society met for its 29th annual meeting at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. The meeting was from Friday, May 31 to Sunday June 2. Lake Forest College is located in a community that is very upscale, rather detached and quiet – one might say conducive to philosophic contemplation. In attendance were Kenneth Blackwell, David Blitz, Alan Bock, Pat Bock, Edgar Boedeker, Rosalind Carey, Peter Friedman, David Goldman, Nick Griffin, David L. Henehan, Kevin Klement, Gregory Landini, Dean Larson, Lou Lombardi, Timothy Madigan, Steve Maragides, Edward McClenathan, Nancy Mitchell, John Ongley, Karen Perkins, Ray Perkins, Stephen Reinhardt, Alan Schwerin, Peter Stone, Chad Trainer, David White, and Linda White.

On Friday, there was registration and a book table from 4 to 6 p.m. From 6 to 8:30 p.m. there was a buffet and Ken Blackwell gave a talk about “Notable Passages from Recent Selections of Russell’s Letters.” This was followed by the BRS board meeting from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. (See “Bertrand Russell Society 2002 Board of Directors Annual Meeting Minutes”) and then the Greater Russell Rochester Set’s hospitality suite/salon.

The Saturday morning program began with Gregory Landini speaking on “Russell’s Distinction Between Logical and Semantic Paradoxes,” followed by David Blitz’s talk “Russell and Peace in the Middle East.” Chad Trainer’s talk, “Earth to Russell: The Limits of Russell’s Views on Space Exploration,” was the last paper of the morning.

After lunch, the BRS held its 2002 Annual Members Business Meeting from 1 to 2 p.m. (See “Bertrand Russell Society 2002 Annual Membership Meeting Minutes.”)

The Saturday afternoon presentations began with Ed Boedeker’s paper: “Russell’s Distinctions between Pure and Applied Logic.” This was followed by a panel discussion on Ray Perkins’ book, Yours Faithfully, Bertrand Russell, with David White, Rosalind Carey, and Peter Stone as presenters and Ray Perkins as a respondent.

After some free time, the Red Hackle hour followed, with the Red Hackle courtesy of Don Jackanicz. The Red Hackle hour started with a bang, as it was attended by no less than this year's recipient of the Society’s Annual Award, the distinguished author and journalist Studs Terkel. Studs Terkel regaled everyone with anecdotes regarding his personal encounters with Russell. Terkel’s vim and verve, combined with the generous amount of time he talked, certainly set a positive tone for the evening’s festivities. A full interview of Russell by Terkel was played, as well.

The banquet followed, and the evening was topped off again with the Greater Russell Rochester Set’s hospitality suite/salon.

The Sunday morning talks began with Kevin Klement’s paper, “Russell’s Anticipation of the Lambda Calculus,” followed by Alan Schwerin on “Russell and the Early Wittgenstein on Scepticism,” and then Tim Madigan on “Russell’s Influence on Music Theory.”

Chad Trainer, BRS Secretary


At the 2002 Annual Meeting, the BRS Board of Directors elected David White as its new Chairman. It also reelected as Secretary of the Society and Board Chad Trainer, who was appointed to the position earlier this year after the previous officeholder, Steven Bayne, resigned. The BRSQ congratulates David and Chad and also thanks Ken Blackwell, outgoing Chair, and Steven Bayne for their service to the Society.