The Laughing Philosopher
I want to share an amazing name story I just ran across about a women who managed to both identify with and rebel against her father through her name. It’s an inspiring story. Her name was Thelma Zeno Lavine. She was a well know professor of philosophy in the D.C., MD, VA area and taught at several universities here as well as making a TV series on philosophy and writing, “From Socrates to Sartre.” Her classes were always packed. Her father, whom she described as “very sober,” gave her the name Zeno for the famous Stoic philosopher. She became a professor of philosophy, but she found the amusing, rather than the sober, in it. She said one of the things that intrigued her students was that she laughed a lot. web domain list . She also said, “Philosophy is comic because a lot of it is gamesmanship, and the efforts on either side of an issue are never entirely conclusive.” She was 95 when she died. Her story serves as a wonderful example of how we can use our names to both enrich and transcend our sense of identity. This story comes from her obituary in the Washington Post 2/22/2011.