Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center Patrons enjoying the Center (left image: group students reading, center image: students enjoying the Literary Review publications, right image: patron enjoying book off of the shelf)

About the Center

The Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center was founded in 1980 at Duquesne University by Dr. Amedeo Giorgi and Dr. John Sallis. It was an expression of the phenomenological orientation of the University's Philosophy and Psychology departments.

The Center proudly bears the name of the late Mr. Simon Silverman, president of Humanities Press, who was the Center's first major benefactor.

Simon Silverman

Simon Silverman

SSPC Collection

The collection is devoted to the phenomenological movement that was inaugurated at the turn of the century by the German philosopher Edmund Husserl, and that has been further advanced by figures such as Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Arendt, de Beauvoir, Levinas, and Derrida, up to the current work done by Michel Henry and Jean-Luc Marion. The Center's collection also maintains a special interest in two precursors to phenomenology, Kierkegaard and Neitzsche.

Literature in phenomenology is conceived by the Center rather broadly and embraces phenomenology as it reaches out into existentialism and other contemporary schools of continental philosophy, but also as it lives in phenomenological psychology and phenomenological approaches in the philosophy and ethics of communication and rhetoric, and in theology. In addition, the Center acquires books in all fields where a phenomenological approach is used. Thus, the Center has holdings in such fields as geography, music, ophthalmology, pedagogy, law, and nursing.

Collage (left to right): Dr. Jeff McCurry with Center's moving shelves and Alcove Portraits

The "Live" Center: Activity of SSPC

The Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center was never meant to be merely a "dead" repository of books and materials. It actively promotes the advancement of phenomenology by sponsoring original scholarship.

The Center is internationally known for its sponsorship of an annual symposium on the Duquesne University campus that invites major speakers to give papers on cutting-edge areas of phenomenology.

Famous speakers at past symposiums have included:

Adriaan Peperzak Edward S. Casey Mark C. Taylor
Anthony Steinbock Gail Weiss Max van Manen
Antoine Vergote Galen Johnson Richard Kearney
Catherine Malabou         Hugh Sliverman       Robert Bernasconi
Charles E. Scott Iain McGilchrist Robert D. Romanyshyn
Cristina Lafont Jane Anna Gordon Rodolphe Gasché
Dan Zahavi Jean-Luc Marion Rudi Visker
David Abram John D. Caputo Rudolf Bernet  
David Farrell Krell John Sallis Samuel IJsseling
David Pellauer Kathryn T. Gines Shaun Gallagher
David Seamon Kevin Hart Simon Critchley
Debra Bergoffen Lenore Langsdorf Steen Halling
Dennis J. Schmidt Leonard Lawlor Thomas Sheehan
Don Ihde Lewis R. Gordon Tsenay Serequeberhan
Donn Welton Louis A. Sass William J. Richardson
Edith Wyschogrod                       Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback         and many more!                          

Topics have included:

  • Music and Phenomenology
  • Phenomenolgy and Its Critics
  • Merleau-Ponty into the Future
  • Phenomenology and the African & Africana Worlds
  • Experiencing Disaster
  • Contemplation and Beyond: Phenomenology, Neuroscience and the Spiritual

During the annual meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP) the Center sponsors the annual André Shuwer Memorial Lecture. Lectures have been given on trauma, tragedy, and friendship among other topics.

The Center also hosts the annual Karl Stern Lecture on the intersection of phenomenological psychology and religious belief.