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Ratner, Joseph, (1901-) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Ratner, Joseph, (1901-)

Historical Note:

Joseph Ratner was born in London in 1901.  His family left England in 1904 and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at City College of New York in 1922 and his M.A. at Columbia University in 1923, he was granted a Moral Science Fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge University (1924-1925).  In 1926, he returned to the United States and served as a Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Columbia University.  In 1930, he received his Ph.D. from Columbia; at various times he taught at the New School for Social Research.  He also served as an assistant editor to the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences.  From 1940 to 1945 he worked as an instructor at City College, New York.

During his doctoral studies at Columbia, Ratner met John Dewey and served as his teaching assistant.  Their friendship lasted until Dewey's death in 1952.  In addition to writing several books on Spinoza, Albert Camus, and Reinhold Niebuhr, Ratner edited a number of works by Dewey: The Philosophy of John Dewey (1928); Characters and Events (1929); Intelligence in the Modern World (1930), introduction by Ratner; Education Today (1940), foreword by Ratner; and Philosophy, Psychology, and Social Practice (1963), foreword by Ratner.  These collections, along with Ratner's introductions, several of which have been widely translated, have helped scholars develop a more comprehensive view of John Dewey's philosophy.  In 1944 Ratner started traveling to do research for a biography of Dewey, for which he collected a great deal of material, but never completed.  Joseph Ratner died at his New York City home on May 22, 1979 at the age of 78.

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