Guide to the Papers of Willis Doney, 1968 - 2003Manuscript MS-1225


Willis Doney was born on August 19, 1925 in Pittsburgh, PA. He received an A.B from Princeton University in 1946, and a Ph.D. in 1949. Doney taught philosophy at Cornell University from 1949-1952 and at the Ohio State University from 1953-1958. He was also a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, the University of Edinburgh, and at Harvard University, where he was the George Santayana Fellow in 1956-57. Doney also lectured frequently at the Sorbonne. In 1958, Doney was hired by Dartmouth College as professor of philosophy, a position he held until his retirement in 1994.

Together with his many scholarly articles in journals, Doney wrote, with Vere Chappell, a bibliographic work, "Twenty-five Years of Descartes Scholarship" (1987). He edited three collections of essays: "Descartes: A Collection of Critical Essays" (1967), "Eternal Truths and the Cartesian Circle" (1987), and "Berkeley on Abstraction and Abstract Ideas" (1987). In 1980, he published a translation, with an accompanying introduction, of Malebranche's "Dialogues on Metaphysics."

Doney served on the editorial boards of Philosophy and Phenomenological Research and the Cambridge History of 17th-Century Philosophy. He was a member of the American Philosophical Association, the Aristotelian Society, Societe Francaise de Philosophie, the British Society for the History of Philosophy, Les Amis de Spinoza, the International Berkeley Society, and the Leibniz Society.

In 1991, Doney led a National Endowment for the Humanities seminar on the philosophy of Descartes, concentrating on Descartes' notions of essence and existence in the formulation of his philosophy. On the occasion of Doney's retirement, a symposium was held in his honor, bringing French and American specialists in 17th and 18th-century philosophy, who discussed aspects of Doney's contributions to the field. Doney died on July 2, 2005.

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