Naval War College Review


Martin L. Cook


In Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot, his collection of reflective essays published long after his time in Vietnam, Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale writes eloquently about the importance of the study of philosophy in helping him to endure the prisoner of war (POW) experience. While at Stanford completing a degree in economics, he found his most important questions being deflected by the economics faculty, often with the remark, “Well, we’re getting into philosophy now.” Exasperated by that reaction, Stockdale found his way to the Philosophy Department and embarked on a course of reading in the subject, guided by Pro- fessor Philip H. Rhinelander.