Hook, Sidney

Hook, Sidney,

1902–89, American philosopher, b. New York City, grad. City College (B.S., 1923), Ph.D. Columbia Univ., 1927. He taught at New York Univ. (1927–72) and was long head of its philosophy department (1948–69). Originally a Marxist, he wrote The Meaning of Marx (1934) and From Hegel to Marx (1936). Hook later became disenchanted with Marxism and became active in anti-Communist causes. His opinions on American life were expressed in such works as Heresy Yes, Conspiracy No (1953), Common Sense and the Fifth Amendment (1957), The Place of Religion in a Free Society (1968), and Academic Freedom and Academic Anarchy (1970).


See P. Kurtz, ed., Sidney Hook and the Contemporary World (1968).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hook, Sidney


Born Dec. 20, 1902, in New York City. American idealist philosopher, member of the instrumentalist school of J. Dewey. Professor at New York University (1939–72).

For Hook, the ultimate philosophical reality is experience, in which, according to his concept, unity of subject and object is attained. He deals with truth as a procedural, relative, and hypothetical principle of action leading to the successful reconstruction of a separate, individual situation. As a revisionist, Hook falsifies the teaching of K. Marx from a position of pragmatism, rejecting the theory of dialectical materialism as supposedly “mechanistic.” As a proponent of so-called democratic socialism, Hook is an aggressive theoretician and propagandist of anticommunism.


The Metaphysics of Pragmatism. Chicago, 1927.
Religion in a Free Society. Lincoln, Neb., 1967.
Academic Freedom and Academic Anarchy. New York, 1970.
Education and the Taming of Power. New York, 1973.


Bykhovskii, B. E. Filosofiia neopragmatizma. Moscow, 1959.
Titarenko, A. I. Pragmatistskii Izhemarksizm—filosofiia antikommunizma. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Hook, Sidney

(1902–89) philosopher; born in New York City. A 1923 graduate of City College of New York, he earned a 1927 doctorate from Columbia University, where he became a disciple of John Dewey, and taught at Columbia until 1972, chairing the philosophy department from 1932 to 1968. He wrote a seminal study of Dewey (1929). Radical as a student, he also wrote influential expositions of Marx's thought (1933, 1936), but he soon revolted against Marxism and became an early "neoconservative," championing free speech, the cold war against Communism, and liberal social programs. After retiring, he became a senior research fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford, Calif.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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As the editor of two festschrifts in honor of Sidney Hook, Sidney Hook and the Contemporary World: Essays on the Pragmatic Intelligenee (New York: John Day, 1968) and Sidney Hook: Philosopher of Democracy and Humanism (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1983), I remember that Hook called me on the telephone prior to the conferring of the medal wondering if he should accept it--we would speak by phone virtually every other week, year in and year out.