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October 16, 1968

Professor Bernard Berofsky, philosopher of free will, moral responsibility and determinism at Columbia University, spoke on “Purposive Action” at Philosophers’ Holiday, a longstanding series of occasional lectures sponsored by the philosophy department. The term, Marsha Levine ’72 wrote in The Miscellany News, was “his own definition” for “the features that he feels distinguish such action from the teleological behavior of machines and animals…. Mr. Berofsky presented his arguments in a clear, vigorous, predominately non-technical style: he illustrated each point with familiar and often amusing examples. The result was an illuminating hour and a refreshing change from some previous Philosophers’ Holiday lectures, which were comprehensible perhaps to the initiated, but mysterious and bewildering to laymen in the audience.”

Bernard Berofsky, who taught briefly at Vassar and who spoke again at the college on “Responsibility and Necessity: The Metaphysical Character of Free Will Debate” in February 1974, published Free Will and Determinism in 1966. Princeton University Press published his Determinism in 1971.

The Years