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Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz Papers, 1957-2001
2 box (.75 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 42

Abstract:
Professor of Philosophy. Her work on logic, language, skepticism, epistemology, Wittgenstein, and Wittgenstein contemporary G. E. Moore earned her a respected place in 20th-century philosophy. Contains biographical material, course syllabi, unpublished lectures, and publications spanning the later portions of Lazerowitz's career.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz Papers are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. All rights to this material are owned by the Smith College Archives. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the College Archives.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz was born to Albert Lee and Bonnie Belle Ambrose on November 25, 1906, in Lexington, IL. She attended Millikin University as an undergraduate (1924-1928), and received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin in 1932. In 1932, she traveled to England to do post-doctoral research at Cambridge University, studying under perhaps the most important philosopher of the 21st century, Ludwig Wittgenstein.

It is due to Lazerowitz and a few select others in the Cambridge philosophical community of the 1930s that The Blue Book (1933-1934) and The Brown Book (1934-1935), two central texts in the Wittgenstein canon, were written and published. Both books were published after the philosopher's death, and are essentially transcripts of Wittgenstein's lectures and dictations during those years. In a ca. 1990 document called "Recollections of Wittgenstein" and described as "preparatory materials for tape recording at E. Carolina University," Lazerowitz writes, Wittgenstein was demanding, of both himself and others. The ruling passion of his life was to do philosophy properly. The compelling force of his own values communicated itself, and with both himself and others there was no compromise with those values, whether intellectual, moral, or aesthetic. (p. 4)

This passage not only vividly captures Wittgenstein's single-minded passion for philosophy, but also highlights the clarity, vigor, and accuracy of Lazerowitz's thought and prose. One could in all fairness say that, just as Lazerowitz was immensely fortunate to study with Wittgenstein, he was equally fortunate to have in her and her compatriots students capable not only of transcribing his words, but also of understanding and later teaching them to others.

Lazerowitz received a second doctoral degree from Cambridge, and in 1935 she left England and accepted a teaching position at the University of Michigan, which she held for two years. In 1937, she came to Smith College and, along with her husband Morris Lazerowitz, whom she married in 1938, spent the remainder of her career in the Smith Philosophy Department. She achieved full professor status in 1951, and was named Sophia and Austin Smith Professor of Philosophy in 1964, a chair she held until her retirement in 1972. Though Lazerowitz's early association with Wittgenstein is probably the most glamorous part of her career, it does not in any way represent the scope and depth of it. She wrote Essays in Analysis (1966) and co-authored with her husband six more books, including Fundamentals of Symbolic Logic (rev. 1962), Essays in the Unknown Wittgenstein (1984), and Necessity and Language (1985). She and Morris Lazerowitz co-edited G. E. Moore: Essays in Retrospect (1970) and Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophy and Language (1972). Her articles, papers, and lectures on logic, language, skepticism, epistemology, Wittgenstein, and Wittgenstein contemporary G. E. Moore earned her a respected place in 20th-century philosophy.

Unlike the solitary and anguished Wittgenstein, whose work so deeply influenced her career, Lazerowitz was socially active both in the academy and in her community. She served as editor of The Journal of Symbolic Logic from 1953 to 1968, and as President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association (APA). Perhaps closer to her heart was the position of chair of the APA Committee on Freedom for Latin American Philosophers. At Smith, she chaired the Smith College Community Chest Drive. Even after her retirement she was highly sought-after as a teacher and continued to teach and guest-lecture at Smith and other universities around the country until her death, at the age of 94, on January 25, 2001.

Scope and Contents

The Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz Papers contains biographical material, course syllabi, unpublished lectures, and publications spanning the later portions of Lazerowitz's career, with the majority of the collection consisting in the latter two types of material. These lectures and publications (1957-1996) are all on philosophical topics, except for some biographical writing on G. E. Moore and Ludwig Wittgenstein. A number of the unpublished lectures are not dated. The Lazerowitz Papers includes three monographs, listed at the end of the folder listing. (Additional monographs written or edited by Lazerowitz are available in Neilson Library, Smith College.) The size of the collection is .33 feet (one box).


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz Papers are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. All rights to this material are owned by the Smith College Archives. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the College Archives.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz Papers, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz Papers were donated over a period of time to the Smith College Archives from a variety of sources.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Biographical material
1966-2001, n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Correspondence
1957-1985

Box 1: folder 2
Teaching
1965-1992, n.d.

Box 1: folder 3
Writings


Box 1
General
1984-1996, n.d.

Box 1: folder 4
General-Biographical pieces on G. E. Moore
1957, n.d.

Box 1: folder 5
General-Reviews and Abstracts
1982, n.d.

Box 1: folder 6
"Causal and Logical Necessity" (University of Oregon)
Apr 1993

Box 1: folder 7
"The Changing Face of Philosophy" (Engel Lecture, Smith)
1967

Box 1: folder 8
"Commanding a Clear View of Philosophy" (APA Meeting)
Dec 1975

Box 1: folder 9
"Comparison of Moore’s and Wittgenstein’s Views on
Dec 1975

Box 1: folder 10
"Discourse on Method" (O.K. Bouwsma Conference, Drake U.)
Oct 1990

Box 1: folder 11
Existence, Knowledge, and Communication
n.d.

Box 1: folder 12
Lectures on Metaphysics (preface and other notes)
ca. 1992

Box 1: folder 13
Logic, Reason, and Unreason in Philosophy
n.d.

Box 1: folder 14
"Metaphysics and Semantic Analysis" (Out But Not Down Club)
n.d.

Box 1: folder 15
"Moore and Wittgenstein as Teachers"
1989

Box 1: folder 16
"On Certainty" (Logical Foundation)
1991

Box 1: folder 17
"Philosophy, Language, and Psychoanalysis" (Machetto Lecture, Brooklyn College)


Box 1: folder 18
"Recollections of Wittgenstein"
ca. 1990

Box 1: folder 19
"Scepticism [sic] and Common Sense"
1990

Box 1: folder 20
"Scepticism [sic] of the Senses: Wittgenstein and Moore" (Drew University)


Box 1: folder 21
"Some Problems in the Western Philosophical Tradition" (Dar-es-Salaam, Tanganyika)


Box 1: folder 22
"Transfinite Numbers" (Wittgenstein’s Intentions)
1993

Box 1: folder 23
"Two Philosophical Problems" (Brown University)
ca. 1985-1986

Box 1: folder 24
"Wittgenstein and Linguistic Solipsism" (Roger Holmes Lecture, Mt. Holyoke)


Box 1: folder 25
Fundamentals of Symbolic Logic (rev. ed., 1962)


Box 1
Fundamentos de Logica Simbolica (1968)


Box 1
Necesidad y Filosofia (1985)


Box 1

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Ambrose, Alice, 1906-
  • Smith College--Faculty.


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