Alum Chris Gabbard: A Life Beyond Reason

Thursday, October 15, 2015
CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION -- “As I grew older, I was inspired by Socrates’ statement that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living.’ Similarly, Aristotle’s dictum that man is the animal having “logos,” the power of reasoning, impressed me. The notion that the human being is a rational animal made sense, and I internalized it as a basic assumption, as I did Socrates’ pronouncement,” University of North Florida English Professor Chris Gabbard writes. “At San Francisco State University, I became intrigued by the Enlightenment. John Locke, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant fascinated me. Who would not want to be enlightened? Who in his or her right mind would choose in favor of a benighted past of superstition, ignorance, and blind faith in custom? I put my faith in reason. Eventually I obtained my doctorate at Stanford in 18th-century British literature — the age of reason: Anne Finch, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Johnson.”