At that time, Hutchins was not only Acting Dean, but was also Professor of the Law of Evidence. The footnote caught his attention and, in June, he wrote me a letter, mentioning the footnote which he thought signified that I had a lively interest in the law of evidence. He invited me to come up to New Haven sometime that summer to discuss with him problems in the laws of evidence on which he was currently working. Now free choice came into play. Up to that point, I knew just enough about the law of evidence to make that footnote I had written substantially correct, but nothing more. I must have thought at the time that the invitation from Hutchin’s opened up an academic opportunity of which I should take advantage. So I wrote to Hutchins accepting his invitation and setting the time for my visit to New Haven in early August. I then spent the intervening time in July studying the law of evidence, by taking out of the law library J. H. Wigmore’s five-volume classic textbook on the subject. Since the brief opening pages of each chapter contained Wigmore’s explanation of the law on that subject, followed by pages of discussion of cases in the federal and the forty-eight state jurisdictions, I could read through Wigmore’s five volumes, skipping all the pages dealing with cases. As it turned out, when I met with Bob Hutchins in August, I appeared to him to have a firm grasp of the underlying principles of the law of evidence, and we hit it off in general. Shortly after my visit, I received a letter from him inviting me to leave Columbia and join him in New Haven to work with him on some essays he was planning to write about the psychological and philosophical aspects of certain rules of evidence, especially the hearsay rule.
I turned his invitation down, for no other reason, so far as I can remember, other than my unwillingness to change my residence from Manhattan Island, where I had been born and reared, to what, in comparison, was the sleepy little village of New Haven. My refusal to move to New Haven did not divert Hutchins from his aim to get me involved in work on the law of evidence. He came down to New York to persuade Young B. Smith, then Dean of the Columbia Law School, to have me work with Jerome Michael, his Professor of the Procedural Law of Pleading and Evidence. I did so, while still remaining an instructor in psychology. We co-authored a book, entitled The Nature of Judicial Proof: An Inquiry into the Logical, Legal, and Empirical Aspects of the Law of Evidence, published in 1931.
Not only did that result in my friendship with Jerome Michael as long as he lived, and with whom I wrote another book, Crime, Law and Social Science, published in 1933, but it also led to a whole series of fortuitous consequences that represented a train of good fortune at work in the making of my life. First of all, when Hutchins in 1929 became, at the age of thirty, President of the University of Chicago, he invited me to join him there as an associate professor in three areas—in the philosophy and psychology departments and in the law school. My salary as a Columbia instructor, $2,400 a year, was to be increased to $6,000. Quite apart from that advantage, I had the good sense to perceive greater academic opportunities for me at Chicago than I would have had had if I had remained at Columbia. Since I was not yet disillusioned about the “Joys” of academic life, I went to Chicago, not only to teach in the philosophy and psychology departments and in the law school, but primarily to conduct a great books seminar for entering freshman in the college, with Bob Hutchins as my co-moderator. That was an opportunity I could not turn down, and my taking it has had many consequences, all fortunate for me. William Benton had been a classmate of Bob Hutchins at Yale.
After he retired from the advertising firm of Benton and Bowles, Hutchins brought Benton to the University of Chicago, appointing him Vice-President in charge of Public Relations. Through my close association with Bob, I naturally came in contact with Bill Benton. This developed into a friendship that had many fortunate consequences for me, principally among which, after Benton became CEO of Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., was my becoming Bob’s Associate Editor of the first edition of Great Books of the Western World, my producing the Syntopicon that went with that set, my eventually succeeding Bob Hutchins as Chairman of the Britannica’s Board of Editors, and my becoming Editor in Chief of the second edition of Great Books of the Western World. That is not all the good fortune that derived from my friendship with Bob Hutchins. He departed in 1951 from the University of Chicago to become Vice-President of the Ford Foundation. By that time I had become completely fed up with academic life, and, as a result of my creating the Syntopicon, I wished to spend my philosophical energies on producing the Summa Dialectica, a project I had conceived in 1927 when I wrote Dialectic.
I could not do that as a Professor of Law, which I had then become at the University of Chicago. In 1952, through Bob’s good auspices, I received a large grant from the Fund for the Advancement of Education, established by the Ford Foundation to establish the Institute for Philosophical Research, of which I have been the President since 1952. The Institute produced the two volumes of The Idea of Freedom, after eight years of research and writing. It later produced dialectical treatments of the ideas of justice, happiness, love, progress, beauty, and religion and, after operating in San Francisco from 1952 to 1963, it was moved to Chicago by Bill Benton when he wanted me there to work editorially for Encyclopaedia Britannica, while at the same time directing the work of the Institute for Philosophical Research.
As I have said earlier in this book, if I had remained at the University of Chicago after Bob Hutchins left it, I could never have done the philosophical work that has been the joy of my last forty years. Bob’s enabling me to leave the University of Chicago and all the distractions and intrigues of academic life, and his enabling me to establish the Institute for Philosophical Research as the ivory tower in which the kind of philosophical work I wished to do could be accomplished, was certainly the greatest stroke of good fortune In my professional life. I am still not finished with Bob Hutchins as my guardian angel. It was through his friendship with Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke that I also became their friends, and it was through them (as I have related earlier) that I became involved in the Aspen Institute after Walter established it in 1950. Meyer Kestnbaum, CEO of Hart Schaffner and Marx, another friend of Hutchins and mine, brought the Institute for Philosophical Research to the attention of Arthur Houghton, Jr., at a conference held at the Corning Glass Works that Arthur attended.
I subsequently met Arthur at a conference in New York, which was sponsored by the Institute for Philosophical Research while it was working on the idea of freedom. That led to Arthur Houghton’s becoming a substantial contributor to the budget of the Institute after the Ford Foundation grant expired; and, more important than that, Caroline and I developed a close friendship with Arthur, with whom we traveled extensively abroad. There is still one further consequence of my friendship with Bob Hutchins. He introduced me to Henry Luce, the co-founder of Time magazine, and to his wife Clare, both of whom, as I have related, came to Aspen in August of 1950. We became friends and Caroline’s and my friendship with Clare continued many years after Henry’s death.
I do not know this for a fact, but I think Clare had something to do with the cover story in Time about me and the Syntopicon, written by Henry Grunwald, who was then Senior Editor under Otto Fuerbringer as Managing Editor. In any case, I have enjoyed my friendship with Henry Grunwald in the subsequent years when he became Managing Editor of Time and then Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc.; and, after retiring from that position, became U.S. Ambassador to Austria. Caroline and I visited him and his wife Louise in Vienna and spent an enjoyable weekend at the Ambassador’s residence there.
Mentioning my involvement in the Aspen Institute as a fortuitous consequence of the great good fortune of my friendship with Bob Hutchins, I must also mention one other fortunate happenstance. Larry Aldrich, a famous dress designer, came to Aspen to participate in one of my seminars there early in the 1970s. Since then, Caroline and I have become close friends with Larry and his wife Wynn. We have traveled with them on many pleasant excursions here and abroad. Larry, having retired from the dress business, established the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, in Ridgefield, Connecticut. His knowledge and expertise in the field of the visual arts has enriched my life; Wynn’s knowledge of cuisines and gourmet skill in cooking, which my wife Caroline shared, sent them abroad together to cooking schools in Paris and Bologna.
I hope I have now made clear how one stroke of great good fortune—in this case, my friendship with Bob Hutchins—led to a train of consequences, all of them fortunate happenings. There are still others that I have not so far mentioned, friendships that have been fortunate for me, but not connected with Bob Hutchins. One was the influence on my life of my friend Arthur Rubin, a friendship that began in the library of the Psychology Department at Columbia when I was still an undergraduate student in the college. This continued until his death. He saw me through the ordeal of my divorce from Helen and later celebrated my marriage to Caroline. He was extremely helpful to me in the rearing of our children. One thing that I should not forget to mention was the inspiration I got from Arthur for the production of the Summa Dialectica at the time I talked to C. K. Ogden about the idea for my first book. That, by the way, was another lucky happenstance. I met Ogden at a tea party given by Gardner Murphy, an associate of mine in the Psychology Department. Ogden mentioned a book he was editing by Boris Bogslavsky, to be entitled The Art of Controversy. It was that title, I think, which prompted me to outline another approach to the clarification and resolution of philosophical conflicts. Whatever I said caught and held Ogden’s attention. He then and there invited me to submit a draft of the book I had outlined. That was in November. I wrote the book over the Christmas recess and during the January examination period, and delivered it to Ogden on the first of February.Another of my lifelong friendships began when I taught a course in the Laboratory School of the University of Chicago. Philip Rosenthal was a student in that class. After that chance encounter, we met again many years later when we were both guests of Mortimer and Janet Fleishhacker on a cruise of the Greek islands. He helped me through many difficulties in my last years in San Francisco, difficulties both personal and professional.
Since then, Philip has spent many summer weeks with Caroline and me in Aspen where, auditing my seminars, he has renewed our relationship as student and teacher. A third has been the friendship that Caroline and I developed with Andrew and Shawn Block in Chicago, resulting from the fact that their children and ours were pupils in the elementary grades at Francis W. Parker School. Shawn and Caroline were thrown together by their interest in the affairs of the school. Out of that blossomed the warm friendship that has enriched our subsequent years in Chicago. Glancing over the pages of Pbilosopber at Large to jog my memory of blessings that have befallen me, I found one of great importance to my life as a whole, one so important that I should not overlook it here. It is the fact that, with very few exceptions, all the work I have done in my life has consisted of activities that I consider leisuring rather than tolling; in other words, ctivities that one would engage in if one did not need monetary compensation for doing so, as opposed to the kind of drudgery that no one would undertake without being compensated for it. Let me quote the paragraph from Philosopher at Large that eloquently describes this fortunate circumstance.
Looking back on my life since I left home, I count myself unusually fortunate that, during more than fifty years of earning a living, almost all the work I have elected to do has consisted of tasks that I would gladly have taken on even if I had had an independent income. If leisure work, as opposed to drudgery, comprises all those activities in which one would engage for reasons of intrinsic reward and without need of extrinsic compensation, then most of my paid employments have been largely leisure pursuits…. In between the extremes of subsistence work that is drudgery and leisure work for which one is paid, there lies a spectrum of occupations in which both aspects of work are found in varying degrees of admixture. My good fortune has been that I have had the opportunity to choose the occupations of my life so that they would be predominantly filled with leisure