Ruth Anna Putnam

Ruth Anna Putnam
Faculty emerita
B.Sc. U.C.L.A., Ph.D. U.C.L.A.

Ruth Anna Putnam

Professor Emerita of Philosophy

As an undergraduate Chemistry major, she fell in love with Philosophy of Science and later turned to other areas of Philosophy. 

After coming to Wellesley, I became interested in Ethics and Political Philosophy. An essay of mine, ""Why not a Feminist theory of Justice?"" has been translated into both French and German. In ethics I have argued repeatedly for the objectivity of (some) value judgments. Later, for at least a decade, I worked mainly on the philosophy of William James. I am the editor of the Cambridge Companion to William James. Most recently, I have worked on some aspects of the writings of John Dewey.

I was hired to teach logic and philosophy of science. I was also asked to teach the one class in ethics that was then offered in the philosophy department. While I did not introduce any significant changes in the curriculum for logic and the philosophy of science, I am proud of the changes I introduced in the curriculum in the general area of moral and social values.When I retired, the department offered, and I hope still offers, courses or seminars in medical ethics, philosophy of law, moral philosophy, ethical theory, etc. I did not teach all these subjects, but I created an atmosphere that encouraged students to want to study them.
In my younger years, I was an active member of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy and of the William James Society. 
Although my mobility is limited and thus limiting, I enjoy listening to music, watching films from Netflix, reading novels and occasionally more serious matters. I enjoy being with friends, including some former Wellesley students.