de Laguna, Grace Mead (1878–1978)

views updated

de Laguna, Grace Mead (1878–1978)

American philosopher. Name variations: Delaguna. Born Grace Mead Andrus on September 28, 1878; died on February 17, 1978; Cornell University, B.A., 1903; Cornell University, Ph.D., 1906; married Theodore de Laguna; children: Frederica de Laguna (b. 1906, an anthropologist); Wallace de Laguna (b. 1910, a nuclear scientist).

Was an assistant professor of philosophy, Bryn Mawr (1912–16); was an associate professor (1916–28), and professor of philosophy (from 1928); was cofounder, with Theodore, of the Fullerton Philosophy Club (1925).


"The Mechanical Theory in Pre-Kantian Rationalism" (1906); (with Theodore de Laguna) Dogmatism and Evolution (1910); "Sensation and Perception" (1916); "The Limits of the Physical," in Philosophical Essays in Honor of James Edwin Creighton (1917); "Phenomena and their Determination," in Philosophical Review (1917); "Dualism in Animal Psychology" (1918); Speech: Its Function and Development (1927); "Dualism and Gestalt Psychology," in Psychological Review (1930); "Knowing and Being: a Dialectical Study," in Philosophical Review (1936); "Professor Urban on Language," in Philosophical Review (1941); "Cultural Relativism and Science," in Philosophical Review (1942); "Democratic Equality and Individuality," in Philosophical Review (1946); "Communication, the Act and the Object with Reference to Mead," in Journal of Philosophy (1946); "Speculative Philosophy," in Philosophy Review (1951); "Existence and Potentiality," in Philosophical Review (1951); "The Lebenswelt and the Cultural World," in Journal of Philosophy (1960); "The Person," in Review of Metaphysics (1963); On Existence and the Human World (1963).

Grace de Laguna spent over 60 years teaching philosophy to women at Bryn Mawr. She completed her undergraduate degree at Cornell University in 1903, at age 24, and went on to complete her Ph.D. there in 1906. In 1925, during her tenure at Bryn Mawr, she established the Fullerton Philosophy Club with her husband Theodore de Laguna, to foster philosophical discussion among philosophers and faculty members.

De Laguna published a large number of papers in academic journals and a few books on philosophy. Her intellectual interests were always wide-ranging. Early on, she focused on the traditional areas of philosophy—epistemology (theory of knowledge), metaphysics (theory of reality), and phenomenology (study of how we perceive the world)—as they relate to philosophy of mind and psychology. Later, she became interested in communication and the social sciences, and to these she turned her philosophical skills. She worked at improving the theoretical foundations of psychology, anthropology and sociology. Her daughter, Frederica de Laguna , was born in 1906 and followed her mother's interest in social science, pursuing anthropology and spending her life studying the native peoples of the Arctic. De Laguna's other child, a son Wallace born in 1910, became a nuclear scientist. Grace de Laguna died in 1978, just a few months before she would have turned 100.


Kersey, Ethel M. Women Philosophers: a Bio-critical Source Book. NY: Greenwood Press, 1989.

Waithe, Mary Ellen, ed. A History of Women Philosophers, vol. 4. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publications, 1987.

Catherine Hundleby , M.A. Philosophy, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

About this article

de Laguna, Grace Mead (1878–1978)

Updated About content Print Article