Brief Biography: Merrill Ring
Born in 1936 in Illinois, I grew up in Illinois, Colorado and Nebraska, graduating from high school in Nebraska. In order to get a better education than my family could afford, I joined the Navy after high school: it was then the latter stages of the Korean War and veterans would get the GI Bill.
Upon completion of military service, I worked for a year writing computer programs (in the early days of computers) for Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell Aviation (they built engines for the big US missiles).
Then I enrolled at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It offered an interdisciplinary major I wanted - called the Tutorial Program, that allowed one to invent one's own major classes. As I studied, I discovered that what really attracted me was philosophy - I ended up with enough philosophy classes to have a major though I wasn't one officially.
I received an NDEA fellowship for graduate study at the University of Washington, receiving there my M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy. I still hold the record for the fastest philosophy Ph.D. there, three years.
My teachers at UC Santa Barbara hired me back as a professor when my dissertation was finished. I spent eight years in the Philosophy Department there and then moved on to CSU Fullerton where I taught for thirty-plus years. Technically, I retired in 2000 and was hired back to teach half-time for a period of five years, fully retiring in June of 2005. I continued to teach for another 5 years part-time for the Fullerton department.
During my teaching career, I've also taught a summer session at the University of Utah and spent a year teaching at the University of Sussex in England. I also spent a sabbatical semester in England – and have taught the CSUF Humanities Semester in London.
I've published a book (which is out in a second edition), several papers (some of them very good), and also reviews and similar things. I have, as well, read a significant number of papers at various conferences in the US and abroad.
Since I have not been occupied with teaching lately, I was able to finish a book with the working title 'On Bearing the Truth: Sentences, Propositions and Such'. The topic is a troubling philosophical problem about what sort of thing it is that we call true or false. (When you say 'That's true' what is it that you are referring to by 'That'? Discussing that involves a lot of important philosophical notions.) Almost anyone can read and appreciate my book on the Pre-Socratics - unfortunately the new one is aimed at a specialized audience, philosophers and some linguists. It is presently looking for a publisher.
As with most philosophers, I have taught a large variety of courses in my professional life, lower division, upper division, and graduate. While most of those have been in philosophy, I have also taught a significant amount in inter-disciplinary programs.
For all of my various activities, I have received several awards including four sabbatical leaves, a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in England, two Meritorious Performance awards, and the CSU Fullerton Humanities and Social Science Distinguished Faculty Award.
I am married (my wife is a now retired) college professor too), have two sons, both now out of school.
My chief hobby was soccer: after years of coaching, I was a soccer journalist. For some years I was the Women's Soccer Editor for www.americansoccernews.com, a major online site covering American soccer. However, the U.S. decision to invade Iraq caused me to return to political activities that I had abandoned in the '70s and the subsequent madness in American politics has led me to continue being a political activist.