Hugh McDonald




Dr. Hugh P. McDonaldNew York City College of Technology 300 Jay St. Rm. N627

Brooklyn, NY 11201

 # (718) 858-1904
E-mail: ; (also )




Area of Specialization:

Value theory, Moral Philosophy, Environmental Ethics

Areas of Competence:

Social and political philosophy, applied ethics including environmental ethics and biomedical ethics, Pragmatism, the history of philosophy and ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of nature, philosophy of mind.


  • Ø Ph.D. Philosophy at the Graduate Faculty of the New School University.
  • Ø M.A. Philosophy at the Graduate Faculty of the New School.
  • Ø B. A. Philosophy, State University of New York, College at Purchase.



(Ph.D.) "Pragmatism and the Problem of the Intrinsic Value of the Environment." Advised by Prof. Richard Bernstein, Prof. Agnes Heller and Dmitri Nikulin.

(B.A. Dissertation:) "The Theme of Sophiacracy in Western Political Philosophy." Advised by Prof. Robert Neville (BU) and Asst. Prof. Alan Gettner.


Academic Positions:

Appointed to Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of Social Science, New York City College of Technology May 2003. Tenured November 2007.

Adjunct Professor at: 

Department of Social Sciences, Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Department of Philosophy and Religion, New Jersey City University.

Department of Humanities, New School University Adult Division.

Prelude to Success Program, Hunter College of the City Univ. of NY.

Department of Social Science, New York City Technical College.

Department of Philosophy, Marymount Manhattan College.




  • A. Books:

Political Philosophy and Ideology (University Press of America, 1996).

Radical Axiology, a First Philosophy of Values, Rodopi/Value Inquiry Book Series, 2004.

John Dewey and Environmental Ethics, SUNY Press, 2004.

2. I have completed two other books and submitted them to publishers for consideration.

Creative Actualization. This book proposes a new theory of values.

Speculative Evaluations. This book covers certain speculative issues such as space, time, principles, being, nature and others.


B. Philosophy Articles:

"Does Nature Exist?" Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. XXI, #5 & 6, Sept./Oct and Nov./Dec 2000.

(A short version of this article was presented at the Spring 2000 Pacific APA Conference, in Albuquerque.)

"Toward a Deontological Environmental Ethics," Environmental Ethics, 23/4, Winter 2001.

(A short version of this article was presented at a Philosophy Conference at New Jersey City University in November)

"Dewey's Naturalism," Environmental Ethics, 24/2, Summer 2002.

"First Philosophy in the Pragmatic Humanism of F. C. S. Schiller" International Philosophical Quarterly, December 2003.                (A short version of this article was presented TO the New York Pragmatist Forum in September, 2004)

"The Problem with Brain" Contemporary Pragmatism, December 2005.

"Creative Actualization as a Theory of Value" Contemporary Pragmatism, December 2006

"Axiology" for the Routledge Encyclopedia of American Philosophy 2008.

2. Under review

"Values as Constitutive of the Will to Power" under review by The Continental Philosophy Review.

"Principles: the Principle of Principles," under review by The Pluralist.

"The Metaphysics of Pragmatism" under review by Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society.

"In Defense of Species," under review by Environmental Ethics

C. Botanical Articles

"A Review of Calochortus, section Cyclobothra, (Calochortaceae)" Herbertia, Vol. 55, 2000.

"A new species of Calochortus from Western Mexico," co-authored with Dr. Bryan Ness and Dr. Thomas Patterson, submitted to Madrono and under review (on a new species that I discovered).

D. Horticultural Articles

"Magnificent Mariposas," in American Horticulturist, Dec. 95


"The Genus Calochortus in California," Fremontia, July 96 and Jan. 97. The latter article includes publication of my photography of the plants.


"Fairy Lanterns and Pussy Ears," Focus on Plants, Vol. 5, No. 3, Summer 1991.


"The Horticulture of Calochortus," Hobby Greenhouse, 12/4, Fall 1990.


I have also published other articles on Calochortus, a family of western flower bulbs.

E. Conference Presentations

1. Invited presentations

"Environmental Pragmatism"

Two day seminar, summer seminar, held at the University of Colorado at Boulder, July, 2006, 

Sponsored by the Society for Advancement of American Philosophy.

"Radical Axiology" and "Creative Actualization,"

Invited lectures and discussions, held at the University of Warsaw, Poland, January 2007.

"In Defense of Species,"

Paper presented at a Philosophy and Biology Conference, University of Illinois at Carbondale,

February, 2007.


2. Other presentations

"Ideology and Power"

Society for the Study of Genocide and the Holocaust, Pacific APA, Los Angeles, March 1998.

"Does Nature Exist?"

Pacific APA, Albuquerque, April 2000.

"Dewey's Holism"

Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy Conference in Las Vegas, NV, March 2001

"Toward a Deontological Environmental Ethics,"

Presented at a Philosophy Conference at New Jersey City University in November, 2000.

"The History of Value Inquiry: Value as First Philosophy and the Pragmatic Humanism of F.C.S. Schiller"

Conference on Value Inquiry, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, April, 2003, sponsored by the American Society for Value Inquiry and the International Society for Value Inquiry.

"Creative Actualization as a Theory of Value"

Conference on Value Inquiry, Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY, April, 2006, sponsored by the American Society for Value Inquiry and the International Society for Value Inquiry.

"The Importance of Environmental Ethics"

Conference on Earth Day, Division of Arts and Sciences, New York City College of Technology,     April 2006.


"Nietzsche: Existentialist or Pragmatist?"

                New York Pragmatist Forum, January, 2008.

F. Reviews

Review of Ryder and Visnovsky, eds., Pragmatism and Values: the Central European Pragmatist Forum, in the Society for Advancement of American Philosophy Newsletter, 99, Oct. 2004, pp. 48-51.

Review of De Waal, Cornelis, On Pragmatism, in Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, Spring 2005, Vol. XLI, No. 2, pp.  435-439.

Review of Animal Pragmatism, Rethinking Human-Nonhuman Relationships, ed. by Light, A. and McKenna, E., in Organization and the Environment, Vol. 18, No. 3, Sept. 2005, 381-383.


G. Books in Progress

I am working on other books which extend value philosophy systematically to other areas of philosophy:

Philosophy and Imagination

Evaluation and Norms

Revaluation of Cosmopolitan Ethics

Pragmatic Consequentialism (an examination of the value theory and ethics of the pragmatists).

I am also working on an anthology of value theory from Plato to the present.

I have many other articles in progress


I. Editorship

I am co-editor, with Prof. John Shook, of the project of publishing the Complete Works of the English pragmatist, F.C.S. Schiller. This book has been accepted by Prometheus Books and will be published in 2008.

The Humanistic Pragmatism of F. C. S. Schiller: Selected Writings, 1891-1939

I also started and wrote/edited the newsletter Mariposa for 9 years.

Professional Organizations:

The American Philosophical Association, the Society for Advancement of American Philosophy, the Society for Value Inquiry (treasurer), the International Society for Environmental Ethics, the Calochortus Society (founder) and past member of the California Native Plant Society.

I co-founded the New York Pragmatist Forum, a group devoted to presentation of papers on the classical pragmatists, and application of pragmatism to contemporary issues.


N.Y. State Regents Scholar as well as several high school awards.

Other Activities

1. I have become an expert on Calochortaceae, a family of native Western flower bulbs. I have extensive direct field experience of North American botany.

1989-1991           Las Positas College            Livermore, CA Obtained certificate in horticulture

  • q I earned a certificate in horticulture, a regular degree program which included courses in botany, soils, floriculture, arboriculture, pests and diseases, and landscape. My horticultural project (required for the certificate) was to conduct extensive growing trials for Calochortaceae, a family of western North American flower bulbs. Over 20 such tests were set up including comparison of different media, fertilizers, exposures, germination etc. This was a pioneering effort: the family was relatively unknown prior to this and the horticulture was considered difficult even by experts.
  • q I started a newsletter on Calochortus in order to educate others on the horticulture of the bulbs and popularize the appreciation of this beautiful group of flowers. The newsletter involved research into optimum growing conditions (which was begun as part of my horticulture certificate, see above) the results of which were published as articles in the newsletter. There were also research articles on the history of the horticulture of the plants and ecological and climatological studies. The newsletter, a quarterly, also covered one species each issue intensively, including its ecology, botany and horticulture. Writing the newsletter was a volunteer effort which was run without profit for nine years before I passed editorship on to a friend. I also sent free seed to subscribers each year, including seed of the Mexican species, which until then had been practically unknown to horticulture. Publishing the newsletter involved research, writing, editing, photography and communication skills.
  • q The ecological studies included extensive travel throughout the range of the plants including almost every county of every state west of the plains in the U.S. and Mexico. In the case of the Mexican species, the information was so scant that no one knew what most of the plants looked like as living specimens. I took habitat photographs and published shots of all the Mexican species including a new one I discovered.
  • q I lectured on the bulbs for interested groups. A slide show was presented with all 65 species photographed by me in their native habitat. I also gave horticultural advice, as the flowers were considered difficult to grow.
  • q I helped a doctoral candidate in botany who was doing his dissertation on the phylogenic and radiation patterns of the Calochortus family, Dr. Thomas Patterson, by collecting specimens, showing and discussing habitat, and critical remarks.
  • q I helped get several species of Calochortus listed as candidates for rare and endangered status after extensive research involving numerous field trips to document extirpation in former, historical ranges.
  • q I also have done extensive wildflower photography, some of which has been published.

2. I have experience in performing arts, including both solo and choral work. I have performed in semi-professional opera, oratorio and other forms. I have received vocal training in the classical repertoire.

3. I started and built up a new business growing and selling rare flower bulbs by identifying this as a pioneer market. Also involved was research on growing different kinds of rare bulbs, including their native conditions and ecologyI published a guide to growing the bulbs which reflected my experience and research. During the course of running the business, I grew over 400 botanical species of bulbs.