Since its inception in 1981, Concerned Philosophers for Peace [CPP] has become the largest, most active organization of professional philosophers in North America involved in the analysis of the causes of war and prospects for peace. The organization holds an annual conference as well as programs at each divisional meeting of the American Philosophical Association.
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A History of Concerned Philosophers For Peace
William C. Gay
Dept. of Philosophy
Originally published in 2003 and updated and revised in 2014
[Global Studies Encyclopedia, pp. 80-82]
Concerned Philosophers For Peace (CPP) was initiated as a response to the increased militarism of the Reagan Presidential Administration in the United States, especially in relation to its deployment of Euro-missiles and policies on nuclear weapons that supported first-strike nuclear strategies.
Subsequently, the organization progressed from a critique focused on nuclear war fighting strategies to the promotion of cooperative endeavors. These endeavors first focused on Soviet (now, Russian) philosophers and have continued to broaden to include various other initiatives promoting global peace and social justice, particularly ones in feminism and environmentalism. Since its inception in 1981, Concerned Philosophers For Peace has become the largest and most active organization of professional philosophers in North America oriented to the critique of militarism and the search for a just and lasting peace.
Throughout its history, the organization has offered timely criticisms of U.S. military actions, including the invasion of Panama, the conduct of the two Persian Gulf Wars, the crises in Bosnia, Somalia, and Haiti, the threat posed by the India-Pakistan nuclear arms race, the response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on the United States, and more recent developments with the waxing and waning of the Arab Spring. At the same time, the organization has supported nonviolent social movements in these and other areas around the world. [See “Special Issues” of Concerned Philosophers For Peace Newsletter Vol. 11, n1 (S’91), Vol. 13, n1 (S’93), Vol. 14, n1 (F’94), Vol. 18, n2 (F’98), Vol. 20, n1-2 (S, F 2000), and Vol. 21, n1-2 (S, F 2001) and CPP books based on annual meetings cited in Appendix C below.]
The organization conducts an Annual Meeting, as well as programs at each of the divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association. [See Appendix A.] Since 1981, Concerned Philosophers For Peace has published a newsletter (ISSN 1062-9114). Since 2006, the organization has increasingly communicated by means of its website . In addition, since 1989, the organization has published over numerous anthologies of essays on issues of war and peace. [See Appendix C.]
The organization is governed by its constitution, initially approved in 1983 and revised in 1987, 1997, and 2010. [See Concerned Philosophers For Peace Newsletter, n5 (Aug. 1983) which was re-designated as Vol. 3, n1; Vol. 7, n2 (Oct. 1987); and Vol. 16, n2 (F’96); and link at for current text and explanation of revisions.] For officers, CPP has a President, Executive Director, Treasurer, General Editor of the “Philosophy of Peace” (POP) Special Series, and Newsletter Editor/Webmaster. [See Appendix B.] Along with these officers, CPP Representatives to each division of the American Philosophical Association also serve on the Executive Committee.
One of the decisive developments in the history of the organization has been the effort to conduct conferences apart from divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association. Urged by some Canadian members of CPP, these conferences are now termed annual meetings, rather than national conferences, since several CPP members are from countries other than the United States. The impetus for annual meetings resulted from a caucus held by Concerned Philosophers For Peace at the 13th Annual University of Dayton Philosophy Colloquium that was held November 3-5, 1983. Concerned Philosophers For Peace had a meeting, now retrospectively termed its first annual meeting, on October 15-17, 1987 at the University of Dayton with Joseph Kunkel as the initial Executive Director of CPP.
These meetings, in fact, became annual beginning in 1989 when CPP was hosted by Temple University on October 13-15, 1989. At that meeting, the inaugural CPP Presidential Address was delivered by Douglas Lackey. Longwood Academic published papers from these initial two meetings and from the third one. Beginning in 1995, CPP has published about one anthology each year based primarily on papers from annual meetings and also several monographs in its Special Series on “Philosophy of Peace” (POP) that is part of Value Inquiry Book Series (VIBS) published by Rodopi. [See Appendix C.] Joseph Kunkel was General Editor of the POP Special Series from 1991-2003; William Gay was General Editor from 2004-2012; Danielle Poe became General Editor in 2013.
The organization began in spring 1981 when a group of philosophers concerned about the acceleration of the nuclear arms race met at the Pacific divisional meeting of the American Philosophical Association. Under the leadership of Stephen Anderson (who served as Ad Hoc Coordinator), Ann Geller, and David Weinberger, the group formed PANDORA (an acronym for “Philosophers Against Nuclear Destruction of Rational Animals”). Anderson was the first editor of the organization’s newsletter. Between September of 1981 and December of 1986, he published thirteen issues.
The first three issues were released under the title of PANDORA. However, because of sexist and exclusionary aspects of the acronym, the next two issues were released under the title of Concerned Philosophers. Then, beginning in December 1983, the name of the newsletter was expanded to Concerned Philosophers For Peace, which has also been the name of the organization since that time. From 1987 to 2002, William Gay was editor of the newsletter and released it semiannually under the title Concerned Philosophers For Peace Newsletter (ISSN 1062-9114).
For purposes of continuity, that initial issue in 1987 was designated as Volume 7, Number 1, and the issues that Anderson had previously released were re-designated as the first six volumes. Since 2003 Greg Moses has served as editor of the newsletter, and, since 2006 when he also became CPP’s Webmaster, he has placed much more information on the organization’s regularly updated website.
Concerned Philosophers For Peace has had close relations with several others groups with similar concerns. For example, at the December 1984 Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, CPP conducted a joint meeting with the Gandhi-King Society, SWIP (Society of Women in Philosophy), and the Society for Radical Philosophy. Also, representatives from these organizations held a special meeting with Jonathan Schell in which he answered questions about his own work and about the arms race in general.
For several years, Concerned Philosophers For Peace also worked with IPPNO (originally an acronym for “International Philosophers For the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide”). John Somerville founded this group at the XVIIth World Congress of Philosophy in Montreal in 1983. Somerville had himself coined the term “omnicide” in 1979 to refer to what he saw as the prospect that the use of nuclear weapons could result in the extinction of all sentient life. In 1984, based on a mail ballot sent to all its members, Concerned Philosophers For Peace became affiliated with IPPNO. A controversy emerged in 1987 over the status of this relation when IPPNO set up an independent U.S. section. Some in Concerned Philosophers For Peace had understood that CPP was the sole U.S. affiliate of IPPNO. Somerville maintained that CPP was not its only U.S. affiliate. Since this issue could not be resolved, Concerned Philosophers For Peace formally broke from IPPNO at that time but has continued cordial relations with IPPNO.
Internationally, Concerned Philosophers For Peace had on-going contact with philosophers at the Institute of Philosophy in Moscow during the late Soviet Period and shifted its contact to the Russian Philosophical Society after the formation of the Russian Federation. The initial cooperative publication venture was a joint volume by Concerned Philosophers For Peace and the Institute of Philosophy, titled On the Eve of the 21st Century: Perspectives of Russian and American Philosophers (1994). More recently, members of both groups contributed to Global Studies Encyclopedia (2003) and Global Studies Encyclopedic Dictionary (2014), and CPP was a sponsor of each of these volumes. [See Appendix C.]
Through its meetings, special book series, newsletter and website, and various international affiliations, Concerned Philosophers For Peace has augmented the recognized scope of the profession. Peace Studies is now included among the areas of philosophical specialization. Concerned Philosophers For Peace has also helped improve international understanding. Finally, through their teaching, members of Concerned Philosophers For Peace have educated many students on issues of war, peace, and justice and, through their community service, have helped raise the level of public consciousness on these issues. In all these ways, Concerned Philosophers For Peace has helped with the critical examination of some of the most crucial issues facing humanity.
Appendix A: Annual Meetings of CPP
In the following list, the names of the CPP Presidents who delivered their Presidential Addresses at these annual meetings are given in brackets. Presidents began serving two-year terms beginning in 2000. (Full names of CPP Presidents and their university affiliations are given in Appendix B.)
1st – University of Dayton (Dayton, OH: October l5-17, l987)
2nd – Temple University (Philadelphia, PA: October 13-15, 1989) [Lackey]
3rd – University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN: September 21-23, 1990)[Sterba]
4th – University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN: October 25-26, 1991) [Cady]
5th – University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, NC: October 16-17, 1992) [Holmes]
6th – Hamline University and Macalester College (St. Paul, MN: October 8-9, 1993) [Gay]
7th – Villanova University (Villanova, PA: September 30-October 1, 1994) [Lee]
8th – University of Dayton (Dayton, OH: October 20-21, 1995) [Wells]
9th – University of Missouri, Columbia (Columbia, MO: October 18-19, 1996) [Santoni]
10th – California State University, Chico (Chico, CA: September 26-27, 1997) [Kunkel]
11th – Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.: October 2-3, 1998) [Singer]
12th – Radford University, (Radford, VA: October 22-23, 1999) [Kaplan]
13th – McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: October 27-28, 2000) [Hirschbein]
14th – St. Bonaventure University (St. Bonaventure, NY: October 26-27, 2001) [Hirschbein.
15th – Walsh University (North Canton, OH: October 24-27, 2002) [Bove]
16th – Pacific University (Forest Grove, OR: October 23-26, 2003) [Bove]
17th – University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, NC: October 29-20, 2004) [Churchill]
18th – California State University, Chico (Chico: CA: November 4, 2005) [Churchill]
19th – St. Bonaventure University (St. Bonaventure, NY: October 20, 2006) [Gan]
20th – Manchester College (North Manchester, IN: November 4-5, 2007) [Gan]
21st – SUNY at Cortland (Cortland, NY: October 31-November 1, 2008)) [Presbey]
22nd – University of Dayton (Dayton, OH: November 6-7, 2009) [Presbey]
23rd – McGill University and Université de Montréal (Montreal, Canada: October 29-31, 2010) [Poe]
24th – Austin Community College (Austin, TX: November 4-5, 2011) [Poe]
25th – Mercer University (Macon, GA: October 5-6, 2012) [Fitz-Gibbon]
26th – California State University, Fresno (Yosemite, CA: Oct. 26, 2013) [Fitz-Gibbon]
27th – Millersville University (Lancaster, PA: October 10-11, 2014) [Fiala]
28th – Loyola University Maryland (Baltimore, MD: October 22-24, 2015) [Fiala]
29th – St. Bonaventure University (Allegany, NY: October 13-16, 2016) [Boersema]
30th – Campbell University (Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, Raleigh, NC: November 16-18, 2017) [Boersema]
31st – University of Colorado – Boulder (Boulder, CO; October 18-20, 2018) [Gursozlu]
32nd – University of Colorado – Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs, CO; Oct. 18-19, 2019) [Kling]
33rd – Virtual Conference to make up for 2020 canceled program (Jan 29-30, 2021) [Fiala]
34th – Virtual Conference (Oct. 29-30, 2021) [Lewis, Dichter]
Appendix B: Officers of CPP
Initially, CPP Presidents served for one year. Since 2000, the term of CPP Presidents has been two years.
1. Douglas P. Lackey, Baruch College, CUNY, 1989
2. James P. Sterba, University of Notre Dame, 1990
3. Duane L. Cady, Hamline University, 1991
4. Robert L. Holmes, University of Rochester, 1992
5. William C. Gay, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1993
6. Steven P. Lee, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 1994
7. Donald A. Wells, University of Hawaii at Hilo, 1995
8. Ronald E. Santoni, Denison University, 1996
9. Joseph C. Kunkel, University of Dayton, 1997
10. Beth J. Singer, Brooklyn College, CUNY, 1998
11. Laura Duhan Kaplan, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1999
12. Ron Hirschbein, California State University, Chico, 2000-2001
13. Lawrence F. Bove, Walsh University, 2002-2003
14. Robert Paul Churchill, George Washington University, 2004-2005
15. Barry L. Gan, St. Bonaventure University, 2006-2007
16. Gail M. Presbey, University of Detroit Mercy, 2008-2009
17. Danielle Poe, University of Dayton, 2010-2011
18. Andrew Fitz-Gibbon, SUNY Cortland, 2012-2013
19. Andrew Fiala, California State University, Fresno, 2014-2015
20. David Boersema, Pacific University, Oregaon, 2016-2017
21. Fuat Gursozlu, Loyola Baltimore University, 2018-2019
22. Paula Smithka, University of Southern Mississippi, 2020-2021
1. Joesph C. Kunkel, University of Dayton, 1987-1996
2. William C. Gay, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1997-1999
3. Laurence F. Bove, Walsh University, 2000-2002
3. Gail M. Presbey, University of Detroit Mercy, 2003-2007
4. David Boersema, Pacific University, 2007-2012
5. Wendy Hamblet, North Carolina State A & T, 2013-2015
6. Barry Gan, St. Bonaventure University, 2016-2018
7. Jennifer Kling, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (2019-2921)
1. Laurence F. Bove, Walsh University, 1987-1996
2. Jerald H. Richards, Northern Kentucky University, 1997- 2002
3. David Boersema, Pacific University, 2003-2006
4. Dennis Rothermel, California State University, Chico, 2006-2010
5. Arnold Farr, University of Kentucky, 2011-2012
6. Sanjay Lal, Clayton State University, 2013-present
General Editors of POP Special Series
1. Joseph C. Kunkel, University of Dayton, 1991-2003
2. William C. Gay, University of North Carolina at Charlotte 2004-2012
3. Danielle Poe, University of Dayton, 2013-present
Newsletter Editors / Communications
1. Stephen Anderson, Clatsop Community College, 1981-1986
2. William C. Gay, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1987-2002
3. Greg Moses, Texas State University, 2003-present; and Webmaster, 2006-present
Appendix C: CPP Books
Pre-POP Volumes Based on Initial Three Annual Meetings
Joseph Kunkel and Kenneth Klein, eds. Issues in War and Peace: Philosophical Inquiries. Wolfeboro, NH: Longwood Academic, 1989.
Kenneth Klein and Joseph Kunkel, eds. In the Interest of Peace: A Spectrum of Philosophical Perspectives. Wakefield, NH: Longwood Academic, 1990.
Duane Cady and Richard Werner, eds. Just War, Nonviolence and Nuclear Deterrence: Philosophers on War and Peace. Wakefield, NH: Longwood Academic, 1991.
POP Volumes Based on Annual Meetings
Philosophy of Peace / Value Inquiry Book Series (VIBS/POP) @ Brill
Laurence F. Bove and Laura Duhan Kaplan, eds. From the Eye of the Storm: Philosophy of Peace and Regional Conflict. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1995. VIBS 29.
Laura Duhan Kaplan and Laurence F. Bove, eds. Philosophical Perspectives on Power and Domination: Theories and Practices. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1997. VIBS 49.
Deane Curtin and Robert Litke, eds. Institutional Violence. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999. VIBS 88.
Judith Presler and Sally Scholz, eds. Peacemaking: Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000. VIBS 105.
Alison Bailey and Paula J. Smithka, eds. Community, Diversity, and Difference: Implications for Peace. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002.
Nancy Nyquist Potter, ed. Putting Peace into Practice: Evaluating Policy on Local and Global Levels. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004. VIBS 127.
John Kultgen and Mary Lenzi, eds. Problems for Democracy. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006. VIBS 181.
David Boersema and Katy Gray Brown, eds. Spiritual and Political Dimensions of Nonviolence and Peace. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006. VIBS 182.
Gail Presbey, ed. Philosophical Perspectives on the “War on Terrorism.” Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007.
Danielle Poe and Eddy Souffrant, eds. Parceling the Globe: Explorations in Globalization, Global Behavior, and Peace. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008. VIBS 194.
Andrew Fitz-Gibbon, ed. Positive Peace: Reflections on Peace Education, Nonviolence, and Social Change. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010. VIBS 217.
Rob Gildert and Dennis Rothermel, eds. Remembrance and Reconciliation. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011. VIBS 225.
Danielle Poe, ed. Communities of Peace: Confronting Injustice and Creating Justice. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011. VIBS 229.
Greg Moses and Gail Presbey, eds. Peace Philosophy and Public Life: Commitments, Crises, and Concepts for Engaged Thinking. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014. VIBS 268.
Andrew Fiala, ed. The Peace of Nature and the Nature of Peace: Essays on Ecology, Nature, Nonviolence, and Peace. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill | Rodopi, 2015. VIBS 282.
Eddy Souffrant, ed. A Future without Borders? Theories and Practices of Cosmopolitan Peacebuilding. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill | Rodopi, 2016. VIBS 292.
Fuat Gursozlu, ed. Peace, Culture, and Violence. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill | Rodopi, 2018. VIBS 316.
Michael Patterson Brown and Katy Gray Brown, eds. Nonviolence: Critiquing Assumptions, Examining Frameworks. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill | Rodopi, 2019. VIBS 324.
Amin Asfari, ed. Civility, Nonviolent Resistance, and the New Struggle for Social Justice. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill | Rodopi, 2019. VIBS 342
Jennifer Kling, ed. Pacifism, Politics, and Feminism. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Rodopi, 2019. VIBS 330
Fitz-Gibbon, Andrew. Pragmatic Nonviolence: Working toward a Better World. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Rodopi, 2020. VIBS 360
Sanjay Lal, ed. Peaceful Approaches for a More Peaceful World. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Rodopi, 2022. VIBS 374
Other POP Volumes
HPP (Hennie) Lötter. Injustice, Violence, and Peace: The Case of South Africa. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1997. VIBS 56.
Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo and Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo, eds. A New Kind of Containment: “The War on Terror,” Race, and Sexuality. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009. VIBS 201
Mary Bloodsworth-Lugo and Carmen Lugo-Lugo. Containing (Un)American Bodies: Race Sexuality, and Post-9/11 Constructions of Citizenship. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010. VIBS 219.
(CPP as a Sponsor and Many Contributors from CPP members)
William Gay and T.A. Alekseeva, eds. On the Eve of the 21st Century: Perspectives of Russian and American Philosophers. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994.
I.I. Mazour, A.N. Chumakov, and W.C. Gay, eds. Global Studies Encyclopedia. Moscow: Raduga, 2003. [Russian edition: И.И. Мазур и А.Н. Чумаков, Главные Редакторы и Составители. Глобалистика Энциклопедия. Москва: Радуга, 2003]
Alexander N. Chumakov, Ivan I. Mazour, and William C. Gay, eds. Global Studies Encyclopedic Dictionary. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014.