Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

December 11, 2007
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations


AMHERST, Mass.—The second issue of The Amherst Lecture in Philosophy—which features Stanford University’s John Perry, the Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy—has been published at Each year, The Amherst Lecture in Philosophy invites a distinguished philosopher to Amherst College for a public lecture that is then fully archived and catalogued and available online at no cost.

This fall, Perry gave a talk titled “‘Borges and I’ and ‘I,’” which considered the “strained and complex” relationship the “I” who tells the story has with “Borges,” whose name is also listed as author. Perry makes the distinction between Jorge Luis Borges, the author of the short story; “Borges,” the character in the story; and “I,” the first-person writer of the story. Perry tries “to understand in some detail the thoughts Borges ex­presses and how the language he uses allows him to express those thoughts.” He asserts, too, that this “is worth the risk of obscuring, temporarily, the charm of the story.”

Perry has made scholarly contributions in logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics and philosophy of mind, yet may be best known for writing that reaches a wider audience, such as his humorous 1995 online essay, “Structured Procrastination.” Since 2005, Perry has hosted, with Kenneth Taylor, Philosophy Talk, a radio program. In A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality (1978), Perry dealt with problems in the theory of personal identity in the form of a dialogue between a terminally ill university professor and two friends.

Winner of the prestigious Jean Nicod Prize in philosophy in 1999, Perry holds a B.A. in philosophy from Doane College and a doctorate in philosophy from Cornell University. He is also a participant in the Center for the Study of Language and Information, an independent research center.

The Amherst Lecture in Philosophy is available to all for free and is supported by  the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science. It is published annually by the department of philosophy in cooperation with the Frost Library and information technology department.