Lee Perlman ’68 is a professor of philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A member of Hyde’s second graduating class, he preceded his brother John ’71.
After graduating from Hyde, Lee earned his B.A. in philosophy from St. John’s College (Annapolis), an M.A. in government at Georgetown University, an M.A. in philosophy from Catholic University, and his Ph.D. in political philosophy at MIT.
A longtime MIT professor, Lee has also taught at Boston University, Brown, Harvard, and Swarthmore. He is known throughout the university for integrating the humanities and sciences. (His signature course, The Philosophy of Love, is highly popular on campus.) As he explained in a recent interview, “I teach human-centered philosophy. Simply put, let’s be serious about how we are going to live our life.”
In 2018, Lee received MIT’s prestigious Martin Luther King Leadership Award for his work as founder of the MIT Prison Initiative. Known today as the Educational Justice Institute, the program brings MIT students into Massachusetts prisons where they teach and interact directly with inmates. The program has since been replicated at a number of colleges and universities.
Prior to launching his distinguished career in academia, Lee spent eight years as a public interest lobbyist and political organizer in Maryland. He somehow also manages to find time to serve as a composer and musician for the Deborah Abel Dance Company. Founded three decades ago by Deborah, Lee’s wife, the company has toured the United States and India.
Deborah and Lee live in Carlisle, Massachusetts.