Philosopher

Lawrence Hass is Professor of Humanities at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1991, after which time he began to develop his interdisciplinary career while teaching at Muhlenberg College.

While Larry didn't realize it at the time, his dissertation on the experiential features of perception was his gateway into magic. Shortly after completing his Ph.D., Larry was watching magic on television one night and realized that magicians were creating a kind of perceptual and aesthetic experience that, to his knowledge, traditional philosophers had entirely ignored.

What quickly followed was, in effect, a post-doctorate study of magic. Inspired by the writings of master magician Eugene Burger, who would soon become his friend and colleague, Larry plunged into great works in the vast literature of magic. He also began performing magic that he felt would be astonishing and interesting to intelligent audiences. His deep interest in both the scholarly study and the artistic performance of magic was the inspiration for the Theory and Art of Magic Program--a series of events in academic settings that bring both sides of the art together for magicians and for the public.

Alongside his on-going activities in magic, Larry also has a national reputation for his wide-ranging scholarship in 20th Century European philosophy. He is the author of an acclaimed book on the great French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty entitled Merleau-Ponty's Philosophy.

Larry regularly teaches magic performance and magic theory. He also teaches (and has taught) a diverse array of philosophy courses on aesthetics, phenomenology, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and postmodern philosophy. He has received several distinguished awards for his teaching from both the University of Illinois and Muhlenberg College.