The International Society for Metaphysics was initiated at the XIVth World Congress of Philosophy held in Varna, Bulgaria, in 1973. The purpose of the Society was to promote work on fundamental issues in philosophy, taken in the broad sense of going beyond questions of methods, analysis and ideology in order to draw upon the classical tradition of philosophy and to apply this to the philosophical issues raised regarding the sense of life in our times.

Under the direction of H.D. Lewis, Ivor Leclerc and Margaret Chatterjee as Presidents, and George F. McLean as Executive Secretary, the Society undertook an ambitious set of three international conferences on the human person in its relation, respectively, to nature, to society and to God, concluding with a fourth general conference on the nature of metaphysical knowledge.

Upon consultation of the membership, this series was followed by a second series on the implications of the developing sense of the person for inter-personal life. This treated society in relation, respectively, to unity, to truth and justice, and to the good.

Finally, in order to study in detail the implications of the creativity of persons in society, a series of general conferences was held on culture in relation, respectively, to symbols, to nature, to values and to morality.

In retrospect, it can be seen that this series of conferences both reflected and led the evolution of contemporary philosophical inquiry along its path from person, to society, to culture. The next set of ISM conferences will carry this one step further in focusing upon the humanization of society and its transformation from technical structure to personal community.

In keeping with its international character, the ISM was the first philosophical society to hold its general conferences serially on all the continents, thereby inviting the philosophers of the many parts of the world to play an equal role in the development of these investigations. In terms of the sociology of philosophy this transformation from a relatively ethnocentric Greco-latin past to full participation by philosophers from all cultures is the major step of this decade. It promises, in turn, vastly to enrich the content of philosophy and to broaden thereby human vision and international cooperation for the coming century. The list of volumes deriving from these international conferences is found below in this chapter.

Related projects include that on Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Life described in Chapter XIV and the series of joint colloquia with Eastern European and Chinese Scholars described in Chapter XVI.





Edited by: George F. McLean and Hugo Meynell


Vol. 1. Person and Nature

Vol. 2. Person and Society

Vol. 3. Person and God

Vol. 4. The Nature of Metaphysical Knowledge


Vol. 5. Society and Unity

Vol. 6. Society, Truth and Human Rights

Vol. 7. Society and the Good


Vol. 8. The Metaphysics of Culture

Vol. 9. Metaphysics, Culture and Symbols

Vol. 10. Metaphysics, Culture and Nature

Vol. 11. Metaphysics, Culture and Values

Vol. 12. Metaphysics, Culture and Morality


*These volumes are being co-published by The International Society for Metaphysics and The University Press of America (Washington, D.C.) with the support of The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.