Founding Members and Early Trailblazers of the Department
Paul Richer, Ph.D.
Dr. Richer was born in 1946 in central Pennsylvania. His undergraduate studies took place at Bard College in New York, a humanities-centered college which centered on the works of Plato, Nietzche, Marx, Bleucher, Arendt, and Jaspers. He became drawn to the existentialist trends, and wished to pursue his graduate studies in psychology in a philosophical atmosphere. Richer pursued his Ph.D. in psychology at the New School for Social Research, where Arendt taught and where he also studied Gestalt psychology of perception, as well as constructive phenomenology. His dissertation, which investigated a particular visual brightness effect accompanying Emmert's phenomenon, helped him value phenomenology. Richer came to see that the perceptual phenomenon made sense in his own mind only in terms of the dynamics of the phenomenal field. After receiving his Ph.D. degree in 1975, he taught at an eclectic department of psychology at a branch of the University of Texas.
Aware of the reputation of Duquesne's department of psychology as the capital of phenomenology in the United States, Richer accepted an invitation to teach at Duquesne in 1975. During his years at Duquesne, he pursued one line of research: the reality character of perception and its alternatives through the phenomenological approach. This satisfied his interests in perception and psychopathology, and also led to his research in the problem of hallucination. His research on hallucination engaged him in structuralists' and post-structuralists' analyses of language. Richer has published in the Journal of Phenomenological Psychology and Duquesne Studies in Phenomenological Psychology. He is now retired.