Susanne Katherina Langer, 1895 - 1985

portrait of Susanne Langer
From dust jacket of Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling (1967)
6509

Born: 20 December 1895, Manhattan, New York
Died: 17 July 1985, Old Lyme, Connecticut

Born Susanne Katherina Knauth, she was raised in a family where only German was spoken. Her father was a corporate lawyer and amateur musician, Susanne took piano and music and played the cello throughout her life. Her mother was literary, Susanne read Kant in the German original and Louisa May Alcott in English at age twelve, wrote poetry as a child, and fairy tales as a young woman. She attended the Veltin School for Girls on the Upper West Side, and added French as a language. She didn't enter Radcliffe until 1916, when she was twenty, studying philosophy and logic and graduating in 1920. The next year she married William L. Langer, they studied at Vienna for the following year. Susanne started her graduate work at Radcliffe the next year, earning her M.A. in 1924 and her Ph.D. in 1926, by which time she had two sons. Her dissertation advisor was Alfred North Whitehead. She was an early leader in the field of formal logic in the US, was a founder of the Association for Symbolic Logic, and was an editor and reviewer for their magazines, by this time adding Italian to the languages in which she was fluent. Langer's major work was extending logic from the realm of inference to the study of structures and patterns, becoming one of the first philosophers to deal with the arts. She left Radcliffe in 1942 and spent twelve years in a number of short-term and visiting positions, in 1954 she took a permanent position at Connecticut College, grants she received for her research allowed her to stop teaching two years later. She finished the last volume of Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling in early 1985 and died at home, aged 89.

Biography from Wikipedia and Anthony Flood

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