Joseph Tussman 1914-2005


This site is dedicated to Joseph Tussman, UC Berkeley professor of philosophy who died October 21, 2005.   It contains a selection of his writings, both published and unpublished, and other materials.  Additional material will be added from time to time.

Unless otherwise indicated all material on this site is © Joseph Tussman.  All rights reserved.  Please direct inquiries to

3 comments on “Joseph Tussman 1914-2005

  1. John Dixon says:

    Hi David? Are you administering this site?
    I have a couple of really terrific pictures of Joe that I took 5 years before his death.

    They are about a megabyte in resolution. If you would like, I can send them to you on a CD.

    Has anybody tried to do something (anything) with the Milton/Hobbes manuscript?

    best, John

  2. PB says:

    As I recall from my time at Berkeley, Tussman believed deeply that it was institutions‎, and particularly the institution of constitutional democracy, that saved the individual from a short, nasty and brutish life, as Thomas Hobbes famously put it. In his view, borrowed from Plato, individuals are born helpless into the world and are saved by the polis which raises us in its collective embrace and protects us from the savage extremes of human behavior. This view was challenged in the 1960s when it became fashionable to view all institutions with suspicion and to see only how they limited and oppressed the individual. Philosophers like Foucault achieved cult-like status by describing in excruciating detail how all human structures were but compliant instruments of the
    powerful to perpetuate their power. Thus it was that Tussman, once identified with progressive left causes, came to be posed by many as an enemy of the noble individual in his or her struggle against limits imposed by gender, race, class and power.

    • PB says:

      I agree that we seem to live in an era when anarchy is seen as the ideal. Noam Chomsky, Leonard DiCaprio, Matt Damon, etc. Once we have swept away all vestiges of the institutions of capitalism etc., the innate goodness of humans will be free to express itself and create loving connections joining all those on the planet in peaceful harmony. If global warming and Monsanto do not do us in first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s