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.

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