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photo of Dr. Drew Leder in a red sweater

Drew Leder has blended an unusual array of interests and accomplishments in scholarly and “public” philosophy. He is a full professor teaching Western and Eastern Philosophy at Loyola University Maryland, residing in Baltimore. He has an M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine, as well as a Ph.D. in philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Drew Leder’s latest is The Healing Body: Creative Responses to Illness, Aging, and Affliction (Northwestern University Press, forthcoming Fall, 2023). Building on the phenomenology of the lived body, he examines some twenty strategies used by individuals to cope well with chronic illness or incapacities. He also treats special topics relevant to healing; how to deal well with aging and mortality; and how to survive and thrive even in the face of “embodied injustice,” for example the socially-imposed “illness” of mass incarceration.

This book concludes a trilogy focused on bodily experience and its implications for philosophy, and for living well as individuals and communities. His highly influential The Absent Body U. of Chicago, 1990), still in print over 30 years later, suggests ways in which Western mind-body dualism, and negative attitudes toward the body, actually arise from features of embodiment itself.

The Distressed Body: Rethinking Illness, Imprisonment, and Healing (University of Chicago 2016) focuses on topics relevant to the experience of illness, our problematic medical system, the (mis)treatment of animals, and of discarded persons in our age of mass incarceration.

Dr. Leder has worked extensively with incarcerated persons in maximum-security facilities, as recounted in The Soul Knows No Bars: Inmates Reflect on Life, Death, and Hope (preface by Cornel West; Rowman and Littlefield, 2000). Such work led to his employment as the first Ferraro Fellow in Public Philosophy and Prison Education at Marymount Manhattan College.

He has also written more popular trade books drawing on the spiritual resources of diverse cultures and traditions. Sparks of the Divine: Finding Inspiration in Our Everyday World (Sorin/Ave Maria Press, 2004) explores the spiritual lessons hidden within the things of the natural and human-constructed world. On a lighter note, Dr. Leder was inspired by his daughter, and personal experience, to write Games for the Soul: 40 Playful Ways to Find Fun and Fulfillment in a Stressful World (Hyperion, 1998).

Another book, Spiritual Passages: Embracing Life's Sacred Journey (Tarcher/Putnam, 1997), grew out of work Dr. Leder did on cross-cultural views of aging. Dr. Leder continues to offer lectures and workshops on spirituality and aging, and acts as a consultant to educational and residential communities with this interest.

Dr. Leder's work has garnered a good deal of media attention. Articles by or about him have appeared in such places as Family Circle, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and other magazines and newspapers around the country. Dr. Leder has also spoken at conferences around the country, and participated in panels, workshops, and think-tanks in a variety of settings, including the Omega Institute and Esalen, along with more traditional scholarly forums. He is committed to reaching as wide audience as possible through his books, articles, workshops, retreats, and web-based courses.

Dr. Leder's academic CV

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