Stephen A. Erickson

Emeritus Professor of Philosophy
With Pomona Since: 1964
  • Expertise


    Stephen Erickson is both a widely respected and published philosopher in his own right and a noted scholar and teacher of the discipline. In his 1999 book The (Coming) Age of Thresholding, philosopher he heralds a new era, which he terms “The Age of Thresholding,” involving a failure and breakdown of traditional values and institutions, resulting in dramatic changes to our understanding of human life.

    As a scholar, he is an expert on existential philosophy and focuses on such contemporary topics as the role of medicine in enhancing or altering human identity.

    Research Interests

    • The intersection of the human spirit and culture in our time
    • Medicine's role in enhancing and/or altering human identity
    • Existential philosophy

    Areas of Expertise


    • Heidegger
    • European Thought
    • Crises in Contemporary Value Systems
    • The Future of Human Spirituality
  • Work


    The (Coming) Age of Thresholding (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999)

    Philosophy as a Guide to Living, The Great Courses: Philosophy & Intellectual History. 24-lectures Series (The Teaching Company, 2006)

    Language and Being (Yale University Press, 1970)

    "The Wrong of Rights: The Moral Authority of the Family," Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Oxford Journals, Oxford University Press, 2010;.

    "Is There Life after Monty Python's The Meaning of Life," Monty Python and Philosophy (G. Hardcastle and G. Reisch, eds., Open Court, 2006)

    “The Space of Love and Garbage” and “On (and Beyond) Love Gone Wrong” have been reissued in a new volume, The Space of Love and Garbage and Other Essays from the Harvard Review of Philosophy (S. Phineas Upham, ed., Chicago: Open Court, 2008)

    “Peace, Sustainability and Humanity: Reflections on Culture’s Future Relation to Religion,” in Proceedings of the UNESCO-sponsored International Conference on Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue for Sustainable Development (V.K. Egorov, ed., Moscow Publishing House of the Russian Academy of Public Administration, 2008)

  • Education


    Yale University

    Master of Arts
    Yale University

    Bachelor of Arts
    St. Olaf College

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Continental Thought
    • Existentialism
    • Heidegger and the Tradition
    • Philosophy in Literature
    • Philosophy Through Its History
    • Self, Language, and Imagination
    • Senior Theses
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Pomona College, Wig Distinguished Professorship Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1968, 1985, 1989, and 1994

    Sontag Scholar, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 2000-2001, 2001-2002, and 2002-2003

    Pomona College Grants, 1982, 1986, 1991-1995, 1998, and 1999

    Earhart Foundation Grants, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2002

    American Council of Learned Societies Research Grant, 1995