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Charles Hendel

Professor Emeritus, Yale University
1890 to 1982

Charles William Hendel American educator and Professor of Moral Philosophy and Metaphysics at Yale University was born on 16 December 1890 in Reading Pennsylvania the son of Charles William and Emma Leiniger (StolzHendel.

After graduating with a B.Litt. from Princeton University in 1913 Hendel studied at Marburg University (Germany) and the Collège de France Paris in 1913–1914. In 1916 he married Elizabeth Phoebe Jones and the couple had two sons James Norman and Charles William.

Hendel earned a Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1917 before serving in the U.S. Army infantry until 1918 where he reached the rank of second lieutenant. After teaching in Princeton Preparatory School in 1919 he worked as an instructor at Williams College from 1919 until 1920.

In 1920 Hendel became Assistant Professor and in 1926 Associate Professor at Princeton University. He moved to McGill University in 1929 to take up the post of MacDonald Professor of Moral Philosophy. He was Chairman of Philosophy from 1929 to 1940 and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science from 1937 to 1940. In 1940 he became the Clarke Professor of Moral Philosophy and Metaphysics at Yale University a position he held until his retirement in 1959. He was chairman of the department at Yale from 1940 to 1945 and from 1950 to 1959.

He was president of the American Philosophical Association (Eastern Division) in 1940 and president of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy from 1959 to 1961. Hendel was appointed Gifford Lecturer in Natural Theology at Glasgow University for the academic session of 1962 to 1963.

Hendel published many translations and was joint author or editor of many philosophical works. Among his publications are Studies in the Philosophy of David Hume (1925; 2d. ed. enl. with supplement 1963; repr. 2d ed. 1983). He was one of the authors of Contemporary Idealism in America (1932). He also wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau Moralist (1934 2d ed. with preface 1963) Citizen of Geneva (1937) and Civilization and Religion (1948). The Philosophy of Kant and Our Modern World (1957; repr. 1981) contains the four lectures he delivered at Yale University to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of Immanuel Kant. The four lectures he delivered at Yale University to mark the 100th anniversary of John Dewey’s birth were published as John Dewey and the Experimental Spirit in Philosophy (1959).

Charles William Hendel died on 18 November 1982.

  • Benedikt Bock, University of Glasgow