Lewis Samuel Feuer (1912-2002) was a philosopher, sociologist, and historian who produced a large and distinguished scholarship on the history of science and the sociology of ideas. Aside from his prolific scholarly output, Feuer was known for his lifelong political activism, which he began in the 1920s and 1930s as an advocate for left-wing radicalism. Turning away from the left after the Nazi-Soviet Pact in 1939, by the 1960s and 1970s Feuer had become one of the leading figures in the neo-conservative movement.
Born to Jewish parents in New York City's Lower East Side, in 1932 Feuer earned his bachelor's degree at City College and went on to complete a Ph.D. in philosophy at Harvard University in 1935. After serving in the army during World War II, in 1946 he began teaching history at Vassar College. Reflecting the diversity of his interests, in 1957 Feuer took a position in the University of Vermont's philosophy and sociology departments. In 1963, Feuer moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where his encounters with the school's student movement led to his most popular book, "The Conflict of Generations: The Character and Significance of Student Movements." Unhappy with the political environment fostered by student radicalism, in 1966 Feuer took a position at University of Toronto. He returned to the United States in 1976 to teach, as a University Professor, at the University of Virginia, where he remained until his retirement in 1988.
Feuer published a number of monographs, many of them translated into several languages. These include "Psychoanalysis and Ethics" (1955), "Spinoza and the Rise of Liberalism" (1958), "The Scientific Intellectual" (1963), "The Conflict of Generations" (1969), "Marx and the Intellectuals: A Series of Post-Ideological Essays" (1969), "Einstein and the Generations of Science" (1974), "Ideology and the Ideologists" (1975), "Imperialism and the Anti-Imperialist Mind" (1986), and "Varieties of Scientific Experience" (1995). Feuer also worked on an uncompleted biography of John Dewey. Besides his many books, Feuer published widely in scholarly journals, and periodicals such as "The Atlantic Monthly" and "The New Leader." In 1959, Feuer edited an influential collection of the writings of Marx and Engels, "Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Basic Writings in Politics and Philosophy" (1959; second edition 1984). Feuer's only novel, "The Case of the Revolutionist's Daughter: Sherlock Holmes and Karl Marx," was published in 1983.