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GAIL WOODS IN DEFENSE OF JIM WRIGHT Pg. 6 A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES JULY 1, 1988 $1.50 Frontier Philosophers A New Class of Thinkers is Pondering Big Questions BY GREG MOSES College Station IT’S A LONG WAY to come from most anywhere to the College Station Hilton, so polite chatter touches on travel, reminding one of the quaint wagon train sketched on posters and programs announcing this conference, “Frontiers in American Philosophy.” From all points North Boston, Frankfurt, and Moscow more than 150 scholars have been attracted to this unlikely setting at the bidding of the philosophy department at Texas A&M University. With some luck, these proceedings will liberate scholarly behavior by a few degrees, and Texas will be remembered as having provided the occasion. With no luck at all the whole thing will be made over into curio, complete with souvenir text. But the Aggies have been on a lucky streak lately, and there is important work to do here if one takes philosophy seriously. In a rite of opening formalities on the morning of June 2, Head of the Texas A&M Philosophy Department Herman Saatkamp announces the themes of this singular affair to be “Roots and Edges. ” The words are organic, after the spirit of naturalism, and they symbolize, each, regions of growth. Such a theme, says Saatkamp, “represents American philosophy at its best: knowledgeable of its roots, pushing at the edges of its boundaries.” The roots in this case will be firmly set in national soil, the edges all too conscious of imperial achievements. And by the way, to those who came here expecting, “cacti, sagebrush, and professors in boots and hats,” Saatkamp quips, “for a price we can provide that.” Texas A&M tapped Saatkamp for the department chair about three years ago, bringing him out West from a comfortable setting in Florida. But life in College Station gets a little less rugged with each passing year, and Saatkamp has by all accounts contributed his share to progress, this conference marking a rather auspicious milestone in itself. He invites scholars to visit the Santayana Center on campus, from where he directs the meticulous work of producing the critical edition of writings by George Santayana, the Spanish emigre Continued on Page 1 1