Langer, Susanne Knauth [key], 1895–1986, American philosopher, b. New York City, grad. Radcliffe (B.A., 1920; Ph.D., 1926). After holding various teaching posts, she was a lecturer (1945–50) at Columbia and was then professor of philosophy at Connecticut College from 1954 to 1962, when she became an emeritus professor. A student of Alfred North Whitehead, she wrote extensively on aesthetics and other subjects. In her chief work, Philosophy in a New Key: A Study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite and Art (1942), she attempted to give art the claim to meaning that science was given through Whitehead's analysis of symbolic modes. She made an important distinction between discursive and nondiscursive symbols: the former are found in scientific and ordinary language, the latter in art. Among her other works are The Practice of Philosophy (1930), Feeling and Form (1953), An Introduction to Symbolic Logic (2d ed. 1953), Problems of Art (1957), Philosophical Sketches (1962), and Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling (2 vol., 1967–72).
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