On Amélie Rorty’s Use of a Pseudonym


Retraction Watch has posted an article on Amélie Oksenberg Rorty‘s use of a pseudonym and recent correction notices issued by the University of California Press regarding two chapters she wrote.

From the article:

In 1980, Leila Tov-Ruach published a book chapter in which she thanked the editor of the book, Amélie Oksenberg Rorty, “for the hospitality that made the writing of this paper possible.”

Normally, such an acknowledgement wouldn’t raise eyebrows. But, the trouble is, Tov-Ruach and Rorty are the same person:  Leila Tov-Ruach is a pseudonym for Rorty, an accomplished philosopher. The University of California Press (UC Press) officially outed Rorty as Leila Tov-Ruach when it issued corrections for two chapters she published decades ago under the pseudonym.

The corrections explain the author of the chapters is Rorty, who also edited the two books [Explaining Emotions and Perspectives on Self-Deception] in which the chapters appear. Although Rorty didn’t note in the original versions of the books that she is Tov-Ruach, she has not tried to hide her pseudonym either.  She has acknowledged she is Tov-Ruach in her CV, and at least some philosophers know about the pseudonym…

We don’t know Rorty’s motivations; we tried calling and emailing Rorty on several occasions but did not hear back. Both books [also] include a chapter under her real name.

Rorty and Tov-Ruach also have separate biographical entries on the “Contributors” pages in each book. In Explaining Emotions, for example: 

1) Leila Tov-Ruach is an Israeli psychiatrist, who writes on lectures on philosophic psychology
2) Amélie Rorty is a professor of philosophy at Livingston College, Rutgers University

The name Leila Tov-Ruach has several possible meanings. The name is similar to the Hebrew expression “Laila Tov,” which means “good night.” Ruach can translate to spirit, soul, breath or wind.

The correction notices by the University of California press were the result of investigative work by Michael Dougherty (Ohio Dominican University) that he is conducting for a book on research integrity in philosophy.

More information about Rorty’s use of the pseudonym is here.

Retraction Watch previously reported on the use of a pseudonym by another philosopher: Bruce Le Catt, a name used by David Lewis.

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