|B I O G R A P H Y
Louis Paul Pojman [1935 - 2005] grew up in Cicero, Illinois, where he attended Morton High School and Junior College. He went on to receive a B.S. degree from Nyack College and a B.D degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, becoming an ordained minister in the Reformed Church of America. After serving an inter-racial church in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, he returned to seminary, attending Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University in New York where he studied under Reinhold Niebuhr and earned a Ph.D. in Ethics. During this time he received several fellowships to study abroad. In 1969-71 he was a Fulbright Fellow and a Kent Fellow at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and in 1970 a Rockefeller Fellow at Hamburg University, Germany. Upon receiving his PhD from Union, he decided to study analytic philosophy and went to Oxford University from which he earned his D. Phil in 1977. He also lectured at Oxford. In 1977 he became a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame. After this he taught at the University of Texas (Dallas), and became a Professor at the University of Mississippi, where he was Chair of the Philosophy Department. He was also a visiting Scholar at Brigham Young University, University of California, Berkeley and New York University among others. He recently retired as Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was a Professor for nine years. In 2004-5 he was a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University, UK, where he became a Life-Fellow. He has read papers at 60 universities in the USA, Europe and Asia.
Dr. Pojman was the author or editor of many books and articles - click on "Books" and "Articles." Louis was best known perhaps for presenting extremely balanced perspectives in his writings on a variety of some of the most controversial and challenging contemporary issues, including abortion, affirmative action and the death penalty. He endeavored to explain why people disagree on such issues and presented the roots of the ideas, teachings and writings that help build an understanding of these differing viewpoints so that the reader can reflect on his or her own point of view on various issues.
In his first book, The Logic of Subjectivity, Pojman argues that the logic of Kierkegaard’s argument leads to internal contradictions. In Religious Belief and the Will he argues against those like Descartes and William James who hold that we can choose our beliefs via the will. He develops an ethic of belief and argues that hope may serve as a suitable surrogate for religious belief. His last work is a defense of cosmopolitanism, arguing for both global citizenship and limited world government. His article, “Critique of Ethical Relativism,” has been called one of the most incisive essays on the subject and has been widely anthologized.
Pojman was an outstanding teacher. Among his and teaching awards, were the Burlington Northern Award for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship (1988), the Outstanding Scholar/Teacher in the Humanities at the University of Mississippi (1994), and the U. S. Military Academy Outstanding Scholar/Teacher Award (1999). In 2004 he received the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to the United States Military.
Louis was an anti-war and civil rights activist in the 1960s. He became a vegetarian, avid hiker, biker, and environmentalist. His family includes two children, Ruth Freedom, who works for OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) in Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, and the late Paul Theodore (1966-2012), who was an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Towson University, Maryland; a grandson, Theodore "Theo" Pojman, and two step-grandchildren, Lena Ryspekova and Timur Ryspekov. His wife of 43 years, "Trudy," may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Download Curricullum Vitae (PDF - 128KB)
SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS, and HONORS
- Superintendant’s Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching,
U. S. Military Academy, Spring of 2001.
- Outstanding Scholar/Teacher in the Humanities: an honor given by the Mississippi Council for the Humanities, October 20, 1994.
- NEH Seminar Fellowship on Naturalism, University of Nebraska, 1993.
- Visiting Scholar, City University of New York Graduate Center, 1989-91.
- Burlington Northern Award for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship, U. of Mississippi, 1988.
- University of Mississippi Faculty Summer Research Grant, 1986, 88.
- Exxon Fellow in Ethics and Medicine at Baylor Medical College, Houston, TX, 1985.
- Nominated by the Faculty of UTD for the Piper Award, 1984.
(A Prize Given for Outstanding Teaching in the University of Texas System)
- NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers in Philosophy, 1981, University of Nebraska/Lincoln.
- Oxford University Fellowship, 1973-74
- Kent Fellowship (Danforth Foundation), 1969-71
- Fulbright Fellowship for Denmark, 1969-71
- Rockefeller Fellowship, 1970-71
- Union Theological Seminary Scholarship, 1967-69
SERVICE AND OTHER ACTIVITIES
- Superior Civilian Service Award, presented by the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy. July 2004
- Superintendent’s Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching, U. S. Military Academy, Spring of 2001.
- Associate Editor INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION, July 1990 to present.
- Member of the Honors Education Working Group, United States Military Academy, September 1995 to 1997. This committee develops on-going policy proposals on the place of morality at the United States Military Academy.
- President, SOCIETY FOR PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION, 1995 to 1996.
- Member Committee on Academic Careers, AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION (November 1995 to 1998).
- Member of the Executive Council, English Department, U.S. Military Academy
- Coordinator for the National Collegiate Conference on Ethics, U.S. Military Academy, West Point (Nov. 1995).
- Member of the Board of Editors of the Supplementary Volume of the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY (1992 to 1995).
- Member of the Editorial Board JOINT SERVICES CONFERENCE ON PROFESSIONAL ETHICS, September 1995 to 1996.
- Member of the Executive Council of The Society for the Philosophy of Religion 1990 to 1997.
- Editor of the SOREN KIERKEGAARD NEWSLETTER, August, 1982 to August 1989.
- Chairperson of the Department of Philosophy and Religions of the University of Mississippi, July 1, 1987 to March, 1990.
- Member of the Program Committee of the APA (Central Division) 1992/93.
- President of the Mississippi Philosophical Association, April 1987 to April 1988.
- Secretary-Treasurer of the Soren Kierkegaard Society of the American Philosophical Association, elected December, 1986 - 1989.
- President of the North Texas Philosophical Association, 1980-81.
- Coordinator of the Religious Studies Library Collection and Jewish Studies Program at UTD, 1981-present (which raised over $80,000 for these programs).
- Secretary-Treasurer of the North Texas Philosophical Association, 1979-80.
- Founder and Advisor of the Philosophy Society at UTD, 1979-1984.
- Founder and Advisor of the Environmental Ethics Club at UTD, 1983-1984.