San Francisco State UniversityChair and Professor of Philosophy
For a half-century, Anita Silvers, Ph.D., has served San Francisco State University as a professor of philosophy. She’s also in her 10th year and her second stint chairing the department after rebuilding the school’s philosophy program beginning in 2006. Between 1982 and 2008, Dr. Silvers served as the secretary-treasurer of the American Philosophical Association Pacific Division.
Known among philosophers for her leadership in creating the new and quickly-growing field of philosophical research, Silvers has conducted groundbreaking studies on disability and justice that have garnered significant recognition. Her work, informed by her own experiences as a person with quadriplegia stemming from childhood polio, increases and improves insight into and understanding of disability.
She was awarded the Quinn Prize for Contributions to Philosophy and the Lebowitz Prize for Excellence in Philosophical Thought and received a presidential appointment to the National Council on the Humanities. In 2016, she was named a top ethics educator in the Pacific Rim by the Squires Foundation.
Silvers has also played an important role in the CSU’s commitment to and compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. While serving on the CSU Academic Senate, she organized efforts to obtain funding from Governor Brown and the California Legislature needed for architectural barrier removal and accommodation. She also helped to develop affirmative approaches to the employment of faculty and staff with disabilities and was recognized with the first-ever Rights Award from the California Faculty Association.
Silvers received her Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University and her bachelor’s from Sarah Lawrence College.
“My life has been carried along by a passion to breach the barriers that bias and bullying rely on to block the opportunity people who are perceived as different deserve," says Silvers. "The clarifying light of good scholarship offers tools to combat them… And we can cultivate the courage to do the right thing and do it right.”