Hugh Mercer Curtler is a retired academic who taught philosophy and Humanities (Great Books) for 41 years in three different colleges and universities, his final 37 years being spent at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota. In addition to teaching full time, he founded and directed Southwest’s honors program and, for fifteen years, coached their championship women’s tennis team. To this point he has published thirteen books and numerous articles and reviews in professional journals. His successful coaching career led to induction in university and conference Halls of Fame plus the USTA Northern Hall of Fame; in 2006 he became Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Southwest.

Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, Hugh spent his early years on the East Coast before moving to the Midwest where he supplemented his academic work with avid reading and careful observation of the world around him. Hopefully, his blogs will reflect his wide range of interests.

Contact Hugh: hcurtler@yahoo.com


Curriculum Vita

Undergraduate: St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland – B.A. 1959
Graduate: Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois – M.A. 1962, Ph.D. 1964

Awards and Honors:
(1) Maryland State Scholarship 1955-1959
(2) Northwestern University Fellowship 1961-1964
(3) Younger Humanist Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities 1971-1972
(4) Visiting Fellow, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (Santa Barbara) May 1972
(5) N.E.H. Stipend to attend Institute on Aesthetics, Boulder, Colorado June, 1977.

Teaching Experience:
(1) Instructor and Assistant Professor of Philosophy
The University of Rhode Island 1964-1966
(2) Assistant Professor and Chairman of Humanities & Philosophy
Midwestern College, Denison, Iowa 1966-1968
(3) Assistant Professor, Associate Professor & Professor of Philosophy
Southwest Minnesota State University 1968-2005
(4) Emeritus Professor of Philosophy
Southwest Minnesota State University 2006—


52 thoughts on “About

    • Yes, I read your blog! I think it is terrific and I thank you for your nomination — though I would have trouble coming up with ten other bloggers I read regularly. Only yours!!


      • 🙂 Thanks! I figured you may not want to do the repost, etc, but wanted to be sure to highlight your great work! You should check out musingsofanoldfart. I think you would like that one.

      • I think I may have told you already, but I have read several of the “oldfart’s” blogs. Thanks for recommending him. He writes well and his blogs and worth reading — though a bit long. I like to try to keep my blogs around 500-600 words if possible. People are busy!

  1. Nice to see a philosophy professor blogging here at wordpress. You’re writing is easy to read and stimulating. I have not read the name “Descartes” or “Dante” in a long while! Nice to think of the concepts you bring up in your posts.
    Peace & love,

  2. I couldn’t love your blog more. So, I nominated you for 4 awards!! newsofthetimes.org/2012/06/15/thank-yous-and-appreciation-an-embarassment-of-riches/ Do with these whatever feels right. Thanks for a fantastic blog!!

    • Your blog just says you are from the East Coast. Where, precisely? I grew up in Connecticut and Maryland. I hope you visit again!! I really enjoy your blog!

      • Virginia:) I’m so glad you came! I’m enjoying your blog as well!

      • Of course! Charlottesville! But I left there as a two-year old and only visited a couple of times after that. Beautiful part of the world. For what it’s worth, I am now one of your “followers” — not a stalker, just a follower! Keep up the great work!

  3. Pingback: Spreading the Good Will « Mindful Stew

  4. Pingback: From the Library of Hugh Mercer Curtler « Blog Community Directory

    • Thanks, Jennifer. I appreciate the nominations. I will try to check out some of the bloggers you mention on your list! Again, have a great trip. We will all miss you. You are right: it’s a remarkable, supportive community we belong to. Thanks again. Hugh


      • I hope you do. These blogs are really beautiful and thought-provoking. Thanks for all the incredible support, Hugh. You were by first blogging buddy and have made this whole process so fun and interesting and informative amd inspiring. That is why you are nominated for all of these awards – beautiful, inspiring, sweet and lovely all wrapped with a bow! 🙂

  5. Hugh : The disobedient soldier reminds me of the year 1970 when I was student teaching in Audubon Iowa, and the class and I were discussing two very relevant topics to this article. The first was the MY Lai incident in Vietnam when Lt. Calley gave the orders to kill all the villagers who Were huddled and un-armed , and the other was the Kent State massacre, when the U. S. national Guard opened fire and killed protesting ant-war students. I have to say I agree with your quote from Socrates about not allowing yourself to follow an un-just law. But the problem remains and it is not a question ethically that can be answered so easily; maybe it remains a personal decision for whomever has to make it.

  6. Not only is SOLE not a good answer, it shouldn’t even be a good question ; I think Mr . Mitra needs to do his homework a little more carefully, and maybe he will understand what ” Education ” is all about. Computers, books , demonstrations,exhibits, etc, are all good tools, but the ” Teacher ” is the one who has to show a ” correlation “and help link the child’s understanding to what these tools are for and what they can do for the students using them. Children left to their own agendas and curriculuum would never achieve the net results of what good teaching could do for them; maybe the prodigies in the class but certainly not the majority.

  7. Professor Curtler:

    I graduated from SMSC in 1972 with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. As part of my undergraduate curriculum, I took a number of your courses, beginning with Critical Thinking when I was a sophomore and including an Honors Seminar on Marx and Marxism just before I graduated. Your courses and your example influenced me an many positive ways.

    I became a more reflective and ethically thoughtful person, a more effective author, a better teacher and researcher — and the director of an honors program which I helped shape into a version of a Great Books Program. I don’t blame you for any of this, of course, but your influence has been consciously clear to me for my entire career. ( I also became a successful soccer coach while advocating the central message of character building of which you speak.)

    I have, to be sure, been influenced by many teachers and colleagues along the way, but one of the seminal moments in my college education was when I read your comment on a paper I had written in one of your courses. You said, and I paraphrase, “Your argument has an elliptical quality that makes it difficult to discern your point.” Upon reading that comment, I resolved to get better at building and presenting arguments in an analytical fashion.

    I worked hard and got better at both writing and reasoning (still working on both!) and one of the proudest moments of my undergraduate career was when I received a high grade for a paper on “John Locke’s Theory of Majoritarian Rule” in your class, Man vs The State. It was far from a path-braking analysis, but it “carved at the joints”, as you used to say, and was reasonably well-constructed.

    These two moments affected me personally and were influential in both my graduate-school training and in my professional work for over 40 years. I am now Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where I taught since 1979. I recently came across your website, read a good many of your blogs to catch up, and resolved to send this note of appreciation to you.

    A teacher is, in some sense, in the business of casting bread upon the waters. All one can legitimately expect is soggy bread. However, every so often there are indications that one has had a positive effect on the character and thinking of others. I truly hope this message constitutes one of many indications you have received of the positive influence you have had upon your students.

    With greatest respect and admiration, I am,


    Jerry Stark
    Professor Emeritus
    UW Oshkosh

  8. I am so happy to have journeyed into your blog. I enjoy reading your thoughtful posts.
    I am looking forward intensively.

    Kindest regards,
    – Gol

  9. I’m so glad I stumbled across your paper “Political Correctness and the Attack on Great Literature”, I happened to write a much shorter but very similar paper about “The Heart of Darkness” knowing that, not only am I not alone against Achebe, but I’m in the same camp as one as distinguished as yourself is a great relief. Your paper will be cited fully and I thank you for putting those thoughts into writing and then publishing it.

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