BRS 2002 Annual Meeting Minutes

Share this page

BRS Board and Society Meeting Minutes – 2002



Friday, May 31, 2002

(From the August 2002 BRS Quarterly – issue #115)

At 8:30 p.m. Friday evening, May 31, 2002 the BRS Board of Directors
held its annual meeting at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest Illinois.
In attendance were Directors Ken Blackwell, Rosalind Carey, Nicholas
Griffin, Peter Friedman, Tim Madigan, Ray Perkins, Steve Reinhardt, Alan
Schwerin, Peter Stone, Chad Trainer, and David White. Steve Maragides, a
longtime BRS member but not a director, was also present.

Ken Blackwell opened the meeting listing the five items on the
meeting agenda: next year’s meeting site, the question of whether or not
candidates for BRS awards should be restricted to those willing to
appear at the annual meeting, a possible new award for editing,
encouragement of potential new members by a waiving of their dues, and
elections for the coming year.

Before delving into these subjects, the subject of “outreach” was
brought up. Peter Friedman explained his visions of promoting the BRS
through a news site service that, while charging other organizations for
its services, would not charge the BRS. The BRS, it was explained,
would also profit from building relationships with related links and
working with an advertising agency. Peter Friedman explained, however,
that lack of progress on this front was attributable to insufficient
resources. Ken Blackwell then suggested that the BRS’ web page be
examined with a view to recommending improvements, and Steve Reinhardt
suggested advertising in the Bertrand Russell Society Quarterly.

Peter Stone pointed out the propriety of addressing last year’s
Treasurer’s report and meeting minutes. Alan Schwerin moved to accept
last year’s Treasurer’s report and Ray Perkins seconded the motion.
Steve Maragides was asked to send thanks to Dennis Darland for the
quality of Dennis’ work as Treasurer, and there was discussion of
Dennis’ high value in this role, especially in adding stability to the
Society. Ray Perkins made a motion to accept last year’s meeting minutes
and Peter Stone seconded it.

The location of next year’s meeting was then addressed. Ken
Blackwell expressed regret that planning for a meeting at the Center for
Inquiry’s Los Angeles site had not come to fruition. Peter Stone
brought up the Greater Russell Rochester Set’s relationship with the
Center for Inquiry, and David White said that Paul Kurtz has indicated
complete support for the BRS using the Center. Nevertheless, the lack of
an active member in California was considered a stumbling block. Peter
Stone mentioned that Charles Weyand could be useful for outreach in this
matter. Alan Schwerin asked how strong our support was in California.
Peter Stone mentioned the increasingly aged status of the people in
California, and Ken Blackwell pointed out that nobody from California
attended last year’s meeting.

Ray Perkins volunteered Plymouth State College of the New
Hampshire University as a fall-back site for the annual meeting but said
that he would like to see the meeting in California come through. David
White suggested California as the location for the meeting in two years
so that there would be more preparation time. Alan Schwerin reminded
the board of the difficulties last time in getting California to work as
the place. Peter Stone pointed out that, in any case, there are
advantages to having information on the annual meeting’s location as
early as the November Quarterly. Alan Schwerin moved to accept
Ray Perkins’ offer of Plymouth State for next year’s meeting and to
consider California as a further goal.

Rosalind Carey suggested that Lake Forest could be used again,
and Peter Stone expressed his support for this idea, saying that
Plymouth State or the Los Angeles Center for Inquiry could be considered
for 2004. Alan Schwerin then withdrew his motion, and a motion was made
by Rosalind Carey for Lake Forest College as the location for next
year’s meeting, which Alan Schwerin seconded. Concerning future meeting
locations, Peter Friedman suggested Princeton but Ken Blackwell said
that we need someone on site. Brief discussion followed of having a
meeting at City College of New York so as to provide the institution
with a means to, at least, partially atoning for its 1940 treatment of
Russell. At this point, Ken Blackwell indicated his unease with the
present officers taking charge of this matter.

The subject of BRS awards was discussed, with the question being
whether the BRS awards should require awardees to attend the meeting at
which the
award is announced. Alan Schwerin mentioned the disappointment involved
in selecting awardees who are no-shows. But then the prospect of the BRS
locking itself out from many possible awardees as a result of a change
here was considered, and no motions for a change were made. Ken
Blackwell clarified that it was only the main award of the BRS that was
under consideration here.

The possibility of a new award for editing collections of
Russell’s papers and letters was brought up. Alan Schwerin stressed the
importance of giving
recognition to such editors. Tim Madigan suggested calling such an award
the “Harry Ruja Award.” Ken Blackwell, however, did not think this
appropriate, as Ruja was best known as a bibliographer, not an editor.
Peter Friedman then suggested calling it the “Russell Scholar Award.”
Peter Stone noted the already small pool of candidates and was joined in
this observation by Nick Griffin. Alan Schwerin proposed an award for
Russell editorial scholarship with a committee empowered to exercise
discretion as to whether or not to issue an award. Then Ken Blackwell
wondered whether a foreign language award would be in order. Alan
Schwerin moved that the current book awards committee have the
discretion to make an occasional special award for editing. Ray Perkins
seconded the motion.

Officer elections were considered next. Ken Blackwell said he was
looking forward to retiring as Chair of the Board but would certainly
stay on as a director.
The directors then elected the following officers by acclamation:

President – Alan Schwerin

Chair – David White

Vice President – Ray Perkins

Secretary – Chad Trainer

Treasurer – Dennis Darland

The directors expressed their gratitude to Ken Blackwell for his
years chairing the Board and the meeting, then concluded with Alan
Schwerin thanking, on
behalf of the Society, David White, Tim Madigan, Peter Stone, and Rachel
Murray for the quality of their work with the BRSQ.

Chad Trainer, BRS Secretary



Saturday, June 1, 2002

On Saturday afternoon, June 1, 2002 at 1 p.m., Alan Schwerin began
the BRS membership meeting, held at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest,
Illinois, by informing the members of the previous evening’s
developments at the board meeting. Then the subject of
fostering greater awareness of the BRS was discussed. Edward McClenathan
mentioned the services of Elderhostels as something to be considered.
Steve Reinhardt mentioned a catalog of services that provide lectures
for senior citizens and could be to the Society’s avail. David Blitz
suggested paper contests, but Alan Schwerin countered that the efforts
already made along these lines had not borne results in spite of the
lucrative prizes. Steve Maragides insisted on the futility of such
efforts. Ray Perkins stressed that people who have students need to do
more work soliciting Russell papers. And Peter Friedman, while
concurring with Perkins, pointed out the need for discovering ways and
means in this area and effectively getting on various “bandwagons” for

As a possible way to get greater attention, Alan Schwerin
mentioned advertising in the American Philosophical Association
publications. David Blitz proposed
having a ‘specific topic designated in soliciting papers. Ed Boedeker
expressed concern that such designated topics might unduly limit
submissions. Peter Stone and Peter Friedman said they saw no problems
with specified topics for papers. David Goldman suggested specifying
limited time periods for completing papers.

Alan Schwerin brought up for consideration, as a means to better
attendance and exposure, the idea of having the BRS annual meeting
during the academic
year. Tim Madigan pointed out the problem with available dormitory space
that would result. Schwerin raised the option of using hotels instead.
Peter Stone mentioned that the Center for Free Inquiry site in Los
Angeles (a much discussed possible place for a meeting) didn’t offer
dormitories anyway and could attract UCLA students. Alan Schwerin said
that off-college sites could reduce student attendance. Tim Madigan,
however, saw no practical impact resulting, and Ray Perkins agreed. Ray
reiterated that paper submissions were the best way to draw students
into the BRS. David White said an advertisement for a spot on the APA
programs was a good idea. And the Greater Russell Rochester Set spoke of
how they could invite students to speak. Peter Stone said publication
of papers in the Quarterly was an option. There was agreement
that the Russell Prize Committee would be the proper group to address
the matter. Greg Landini suggested free transportation to the APA
conventions as a good incentive.

Peter Stone then encouraged the weekend’s presenters to submit their papers to the BRS Quarterly.
He also explained that he had
membership forms and free copies of the BRSQ to circulate and improve
awareness and scholarship in the field of Russell. Alan spoke of how
membership is a precondition for delivering a paper to the BRS, and he
requested a greater number of submissions for the meetings, which, he
said, would relieve the burden on the professionals.

The topic of getting greater publicity for the BRS was revisited,
with Greg Landini focusing on the merits of documentary audio/visual
materials, public access
channels, and the like. Alan Schwerin mentioned the value of
“philosophical corners” in student newspapers that would use quotations
from Russell. Chad Trainer suggested that the BRS work more closely with
the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation by reciprocally promoting each
other in their respective publications. Peter Stone indicated his
openness to the idea, and Ray Perkins said he had connections with the
Foundation’s publication, The Spokesman, that could be of avail.

Ray Perkins also mentioned that, considering developments between
Pakistan and India, as well as the new nuclear policy of United States
President George W. Bush, a statement from the BRS to the U.S. is in
order urging the elimination of nuclear weapons. He moved that the
Society endorse the following statement:

We urge the US to negotiate with the nations of the world a treaty
leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons under strict and effective
control. And in order to reduce the danger of accidental nuclear war, we
also urge the US forthwith to:

(1) pledge “no first use” of nuclear weapons,

(2) de-alert its ICBMs,

(3) ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and

(4) preserve the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Peter Friedman replied that other governments should be similarly
urged. Gregory Landini disagreed with the idea of the U.S. discarding
nuclear weapons. Alan Schwerin asked if those present at the meeting
were entitled to speak on behalf of the Bertrand Russell Society at
large. Perkins said this was permissible since a quorum was present, and
he emphasized the importance of acting promptly on the issue rather
than delaying the matter indefinitely. Peter Stone then asked what
exactly would be done with the resolution. Ray Perkins replied that the
resolution would be given to the press. David White expressed opposition
to the resolution on grounds that it was disrespectful to the American
military, as well as insensitive to opinions Pakistan has publicized.
David Blitz proposed perhaps a shorter version of the resolution. Peter
Stone, while acknowledging the importance of the actual wording, said
that, as a practical matter, world leaders are indifferent to what
Russell thought, let alone what the BRS thinks.

Much debate ensued, and Alan Schwerin raised the question of what
to do on the matter considering that the meeting’s allotted time was
running out. David Goldman suggested voting on the issue and repudiating
the verdict should the membership at large disapprove of the vote.
First, there was a vote on “whether or not to vote on the matter of the
BRS issuing Ray Perkins’ resolution.” There were twelve votes for
proceeding with a vote, and four votes against. Ray Perkins then reread
his resolution. There were fifteen votes in support of the BRS issuing
Ray’s resolution and six votes against Ray’s proposal. The meeting
concluded at 2 p.m. with Alan Schwerin explaining that the exact
recipients of Ray’s resolution would have to be addressed at a later

Chad Trainer, BRS Secretary



May 31 – June 2, 2002

The Bertrand Russell Society met for its 29th annual meeting at Lake
Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. The meeting was from Friday,
May 31 to Sunday
June 2. Lake Forest College is located in a community that is very
upscale, rather detached and quiet – one might say conducive to
philosophic contemplation. In attendance were Kenneth Blackwell, David
Blitz, Alan Bock, Pat Bock, Edgar Boedeker, Rosalind Carey, Peter
Friedman, David Goldman, Nick Griffin, David L. Henehan, Kevin Klement,
Gregory Landini, Dean Larson, Lou Lombardi, Timothy Madigan, Steve
Maragides, Edward McClenathan, Nancy Mitchell, John Ongley, Karen
Perkins, Ray Perkins, Stephen Reinhardt, Alan Schwerin, Peter Stone,
Chad Trainer, David White, and Linda White.

On Friday, there was registration and a book table from 4 to 6
p.m. From 6 to 8:30 p.m. there was a buffet and Ken Blackwell gave a
talk about
“Notable Passages from Recent Selections of Russell’s Letters.” This was
followed by the BRS board meeting from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. (See “Bertrand
Russell Society 2002 Board of Directors Annual Meeting Minutes”) and
then the Greater Russell Rochester Set’s hospitality suite/salon.

The Saturday morning program began with Gregory Landini speaking
on “Russell’s Distinction Between Logical and Semantic
Paradoxes,” followed by David Blitz’s talk “Russell and Peace in the
Middle East.” Chad Trainer’s talk, “Earth to Russell: The Limits of
Russell’s Views on Space Exploration,” was the last paper of the

After lunch, the BRS held its 2002 Annual Members Business
Meeting from 1 to 2 p.m. (See “Bertrand Russell Society 2002 Annual
Meeting Minutes.”)

The Saturday afternoon presentations began with Ed Boedeker’s paper: “Russell’s Distinctions between Pure and Applied
Logic.” This was followed by a panel discussion on Ray Perkins’ book, Yours Faithfully, Bertrand Russell, with David White, Rosalind Carey, and Peter Stone as presenters and Ray Perkins as a respondent.

After some free time, the Red Hackle hour followed, with the Red
Hackle courtesy of Don Jackanicz. The Red Hackle hour started with a
bang, as it was attended by no less than this year’s recipient of the
Society’s Annual Award, the distinguished author and journalist Studs
Terkel. Studs Terkel regaled everyone with anecdotes regarding his
personal encounters with Russell. Terkel’s vim and verve, combined with
the generous amount of time he talked, certainly set a positive tone for
the evening’s festivities. A full interview of Russell by Terkel was
played, as well.

The banquet followed, and the evening was topped off again with the Greater Russell Rochester Set’s hospitality suite/salon.

The Sunday morning talks began with Kevin Klement’s paper,
“Russell’s Anticipation of the Lambda Calculus,” followed by
Alan Schwerin on “Russell and the Early Wittgenstein on Scepticism,” and
then Tim Madigan on “Russell’s Influence on Music Theory.”

Chad Trainer, BRS Secretary


At the 2002 Annual Meeting, the BRS Board of Directors elected David
White as its new Chairman. It also reelected as Secretary of the Society
and Board Chad Trainer, who was appointed to the position earlier this
year after the previous officeholder, Steven Bayne, resigned. The BRSQ
congratulates David and Chad and also thanks Ken Blackwell, outgoing
Chair, and Steven Bayne for their service to the Society.