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The SSPP in Texas

James L. Pate

Georgia State University

Given that the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology’s 2013 meeting will be in Austin, Texas, an unusual site for the Society’s meeting, a brief history of the Society’s previous Texas meetings, of which there are only two, may be of interest. In 1953, the Society met in Austin, Texas, at the University of Texas. Willis Moore was president of the Society, and Karl Dallenbach was president elect. Dallenbach, one of Titchener’s students, left Cornell University in 1948 to become Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department at the University of Texas. The SSPP and the Society of Experimental Psychologists met at the University of Texas as part of the dedication of Mezes Hall, the new home of the Department of Psychology. Frank A. Geldard (SSPP president in 1939) was the SSPP representative for the dedication and gave an address entitled “Military Psychology: Science or Technology” as part of the dedication ceremony. Edwin G. Boring as the representative from the Society of Experimental Psychologists (SEP) gave an address entitled “The Role of Theory in Experimental Psychology.

The SSPP did not meet in Texas again for 29 years, and for that second SSPP meeting in Texas, the site was Fort Worth. In 1982, Arthur Irion gave a presidential address entitled “Language Behavior and the Derivation of Words.” I. E.  Farber, one of Irion’s graduate colleagues at the University of Iowa, gave the Saturday invited address entitled “What Has Become of Behaviorism: Penultimate Reflections.” Norman Ray Remley and Ted Klien, both from Texas Christian University, were the co-chairs of the Local Arrangements Committee. The Fort Worth meeting was the most westerly of all SSPP meetings.

The third Texas meeting will be 31 years after the second meeting, and if one assumes that this pattern will continue, the fourth meeting in Texas will be in 2046. The changes in the disciplines and in the Southern Society from 1953 to 1982 to 2013 are substantial and unlikely to have been predicted. Similarly, it is likely that each discipline will be very different in 2046 from the disciplines in 2013.

Copyright June 25, 2012

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