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Romanell Lecture Fund

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The Patrick Romanell lecture is presented annually at a divisional meeting of the APA on the topic of philosophical naturalism.

The annual Patrick Romanell lecture on philosophical naturalism was established in 1981. It was generously endowed by Dr. Patrick Romanell, who died in 2002. More about Dr. Romanell's life and work is contained in the Memorial Minutes section of the Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, volume 75, issue 5, May 2002, pp. 201-202.

In 1981, when the lecture was being established, Professor Romanell characterized "philosophical naturalism” in the following way:

Typically, naturalism as a philosophy may be discussed for critical purposes from four significant angles, taken separately and/or jointly. First, as the oldest tradition in Western philosophy (from Thales to contemporary American naturalism), the topic may be treated from an historical angle. Secondly, as a particular philosophical position, it may be treated from a systematic angle, including its peculiar temper and method, its basic categories, its characteristic concepts of nature and man, and its general bearings on such areas of human interest as science, economics, politics, art, morality, religion. Thirdly, the subject may be treated from a comparative angle (e.g., naturalism and materialism, naturalism and idealism, naturalism and positivism). Fourthly and finally, the topic may be treated from an individual angle (e.g., the naturalism of Aristotle, Spinosa, John Dewey).

In a letter dated October 5, 1990, to then-chair of the APA board of officers, Robert Turnbull, Professor Romanell emphasized that "the specified topic of the Romanell lectureship is philosophical naturalism in general, not its American varieties in particular.” He referred to this as the "unrestricted scope of the topic of the Romanell lecture on philosophical naturalism.”


Frequency: Annual

Award Amount: $1,200 to be paid upon delivery of the manuscript of the lecture to the APA national office for publication in the Proceedings and Addresses, plus travel costs not to exceed $750.

Selection Process

The Romanell lecturer is selected by a committee appointed by the chair of the APA's committee on lectures, publications, and research (LPR), in consultation with LPR committee members. The committee includes one representative from each of the three divisions. Eligibility is limited to APA members.

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