Monday, May 25, 2015
Reminiscing about Terrence F. Malick '65 in the Harvard Crimson.
Francis W. Metcalf ’65, Malick’s freshman year roommate, recalled an instance when Malick asked for Metcalf’s thoughts on a paper Malick had recently received back. “The title was ‘Ontology and Heidegger’ or something like that, and there was a straight A. Maybe an A+,” Metcalf said. “The comment was from the grader: ‘Could I please have this paper back after you look over my comments because I’ve never seen such a good treatment of this difficult topic.’ Right then and there, the bells went off in my head.”
Malick’s academic interest in philosophy only grew stronger as the years went on, and under Philosophy professor Stanley L. Cavell, Malick graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Rhodes Scholarship. “He was unbelievably intelligent,” fellow Rhodes Scholar Curtis A. Hessler ’66 said. “He was renowned as probably the most brilliant student of philosophy at that time.”
Following graduation, Malick headed to Oxford University’s Magdalen College with the aim of writing a dissertation on German philosopher Martin Heidegger, which was a “no go from the start,” according to fellow Rhodes Scholar Jonathan D. Culler ’66. “These were the days [when] Oxford was analytical philosophy,” Culler said. “The last thing anyone at the philosophy department there wanted was to supervise a dissertation on Heidegger.
Has anything changed? When was the last time you read an interesting paper by someone tutored in PPE? Oxbridge are the go-tos when a firm's PR department needs a "professional ethicist" or such.
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