Boas, George

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BOAS, GEORGE (1891–1980), U.S. philosopher, a major figure in the history of ideas movement in America. From 1924 to 1957 he was professor of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He also served as chairman of the philosophy department. His major studies were in the areas of esthetics, the history of thought, and French philosophy. He also translated several works from French. Boas was on the board of editors of the Journal of the History of Ideas, from its inception in 1945 until his death. In 1953, at the height of the McCarthy period, Boas helped edit Lattimore the Scholar, in defense of Owen Lattimore, who was under attack.

His major writings include The Happy Beast in French Thought of the 17th Century (1933), A Primer for Critics (1947), Essays on Primitivism (1948), Wingless Pegasus (1950), The Mind's Road to God: Bonaventura (1953), Dominant Themes of Modern Philosophy (1957), The Inquiring Mind (1959), Rationalism in Greek Philosophy (1961), The Heaven of Invention (1962), The Challenge of Science (1965), The Cult of Childhood (1966), The Limits of Reason (1968), The History of Ideas: An Introduction (1969), and Vox Populi: Essays in the History of an Idea (1969). A collection of Boas' essays, entitled Primitivism & Related Ideas in the Middle Ages, was published in 1997.

[Richard H. Popkin /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]