- Bicentennial Medal (2020)
- President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (2002)
- W. George Pinnell Award for Outstanding Service (1998)
Paul D. Eisenberg was born, grew up, and earned his undergraduate degree in Worcester, Mass., where he graduated summa cum laude and with honors in philosophy from Clark University in 1961. He then went to Harvard University, where he earned an MA (1965) and a PhD (1967) in philosophy. Yet, even before he obtained his terminal degree, he had already made the trek west to Bloomington, where he joined the faculty of the IU Department of Philosophy in the fall of 1966 (and became adjunct professor of Jewish studies in 1989). This has been his academic home ever since.
Eisenberg’s publications at first focused on Kantian ethics, but soon broadened to include Spinoza, Plato, Hegel, and, most recently, Nietzsche. His teaching interests have been broader still. While his main interests lie in the history of ethics, Spinoza, and 19th-century continental philosophy, his courses have run the gamut from ancient Greek philosophy to existentialism — about 2,500 years of the history of philosophy. Eisenberg has directed dissertations on topics as diverse as Plato, the role of generalization in art criticism, the ninthcentury neo-Platonist John Scotus Eriugena, and Kant’s theory of education. The independent readings courses and informal reading/discussion groups he has conducted, the honors theses he has shepherded, and the MA theses and dissertations he has directed are almost beyond number. In 1989, Eisenberg even produced a half-hour documentary videotape on the life and times of Friederich Nietzsche, distributed by IU.
Eisenberg’s devotion to teaching and his mastery of the craft of pedagogy have not gone unrecognized. In 2001, he was elected to the Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching. In 2002, he was awarded the IU President’s Award for distinguished teaching. During his career, Eisenberg has chaired the department on three occasions, for a total of 11.5 years. He is a longtime member of the IU Jewish Studies Program’s executive committee and is currently president of the Bloomington chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. He has been president of the Indiana Philosophical Association and of the Bloomington Faculty Council, and co-secretary of the University Faculty Council. Since 1999, he has served as the Indiana University grand marshal. But Eisenberg’s face has turned up in more unexpected places, including stints as an announcer for the Indiana University College Bowl and foreman of the jury in a local murder trial.
It is Eisenberg’s record of service that the university has noticed. In 1997, he was awarded an IU Bloomington Distinguished Service Award, and, in 1998, the W. George Pinnell Award, for distinguished service to Indiana University.
-IU Alumni Newsletter