Neil Scott Arnold, 1952–2013
In 1973 Neil Scott Arnold earned a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania, a degree that gave him pride throughout his life (in Birmingham, he always belonged to the Penn Alumni Club). In 1979 he took a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where as a graduate student, he taught various courses in philosophy.
In the summer of 2011, at age fifty-eight, physicians diagnosed Scott with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. He died two years later on August 26, 2013.
His first job was for one year in 1978 at Wilkes College in Pennsylvania, followed by a two-year job at St. Cloud University, 1979-1981, and a one-year job at North Carolina State University, 1981-1982. In the fall of 1982, he joined the philosophy department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he spent the next twenty-nine years, rising to full professor.
At UAB in 1986, he won the Frederick Conner Prize in the history of ideas. He served as acting vice president of UAB’s senate and headed its academic affairs committee. He served on UAB’s core curriculum committee and on several promotion and tenure committees.
In the late 1980s, he published Marx’s Radical Critique of Capitalism (Oxford University Press, 1990). Marx’s critique presupposed a set of alternative post-capitalist institutions that would eliminate the defects of exploitation and alienation. Scott argued that these institutions could not be realized and that the kind of central planning Marx presupposed would not eliminate these defects. For Scott, the problem of Marxism was not, as commonly said, that it worked in theory but not in practice, but that it failed in theory as well.
In 1990-1991, he left Birmingham for Stanford, California, for a one-year, paid fellowship at the Hoover Institute, which helped him write his second book, The Philosophy and Economics of Market Socialism, published in 1994 by Oxford University Press. After advocates understood the problems of central planning in socialism, they turned to market socialism, which supposedly combined the efficiency of markets with state control over investment. By carefully examining the economics of such organizations, Scott revealed that market socialism would exploit people far more than capitalism, and thus conflicted with socialist visions of the good life.
Scott was a visiting scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center of Bowling Green State University in 1987, 1988, 1992, 1995-1996, and 2006, and participated in five conferences there. He served on the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) review committee and lectured one summer for IHS at George Mason University. He gave several talks at the Murphy Institute at Tulane University.
Scott finished his last book, also published by Oxford University Press, just before his neurological tragedy. Imposing Values: Liberalism and Regulation (2009) was the work of a mature scholar, one sure of his views and his targets, with big themes meticulously argued and supported. Its central target was the tendency of modern, big governments to restrict individual choice through regulation and taxes in order to further certain values. Scott opposed such tendencies.
Classical and modern liberalism debate the regulatory state (employment law, health and safety regulation, land use regulation), which classical liberals generally oppose and which modern liberals generally favor. Scott argued that reasonable disagreement persisted between these two schools, but that both, if they would impose their values on society, must accept some procedural requirements. He argued that modern liberalism violated these requirements, and hence, could not legitimately impose its values on society. In making this argument, Scott commanded a vast literature in economics and law, which he explained in lucid prose.
As reviewer Daniel Shapiro of West Virginia University summarized in The Freeman, "Arnold’s book belongs on every liberal’s bookshelf. Quite simply there is no book like it—a philosophically acute, exhaustive analysis of the classical-modern liberal debate about regulation, which ends up siding, in an original way, with classical liberalism.”
In the philosophy department at UAB, Scott was a key member who showed up every day, worked hard on his scholarship and courses, and was always eager to talk politics and ideas.
Throughout his life, he excelled athletically. In prep school and at Penn, he played squash and racquetball. During graduate school, he lifted weights, and in Birmingham, he refereed soccer for decades. He was also a connoisseur of wines.
In the Birmingham area, he was a mainstay of soccer games for hundreds of youth. For many years, he ran a master spreadsheet that allocated officials and teams to various sites. He himself officiated at hundreds of games and taught others to do the same. Both his sons grew up to be excellent soccer players and attended college at the University of Alabama.
Scott inspired careers in philosophy for several UAB graduates. Rhonda Smith, who now teaches at the Air Force Academy, wrote, "I am very grateful to have had Scott in my life. He was the teacher who first inspired me to take more philosophy courses, and he became something much more important, a mentor and a friend.” Alan Nichols, who teaches at Georgia Highlands College, wrote, "He was my teacher in Intro to Philosophy. I loved his teaching style and took every class I could with him. He was a huge influence on me, in developing my interest in both political philosophy and in libertarianism. I didn't necessarily appreciate his lessons at the time, but I do so as time passes.”
- Gregory Pence, University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Daniel Shapiro, University of West Virginia
David Braybrooke, 1924–2013
David Braybrooke, born in Hackettstown, New Jersey, on October 18, 1924, was a political philosopher, preoccupied in his later years with human needs, the concept of rules, utilitarianism, and secular natural law theory. He had a long career of university teaching divided between the United States and Canada and was a citizen of both countries. After completing undergraduate studies in economics at Harvard following wartime service in the United States Army, he taught at Hobart and William Smith for two years (1948-1950), then did graduate work in philosophy at Cornell and Oxford, receiving his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1953. He taught at Michigan, Bowdoin, and Yale, moving to Canada in 1963 to teach for twenty-seven years at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, often serving for single terms as a visiting professor at, among other places, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Chicago. He served as visiting professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto in 1966-1967. He retired from Dalhousie in 1990 to take up full-time teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, occupying there the Centennial Commission chair in the liberal arts as professor of government and professor of philosophy. He continued to spend up to five months a year in Nova Scotia until 2010, taking part in the activities of the Dalhousie department of philosophy during those times.
He published a considerable number of philosophical books and papers on a great variety of topics, most notably A Strategy of Decision: Policy Evaluation as a Social Process (in collaboration with C. E. Lindblom), 1963; Three Tests for Democracy: Person Rights; Human Welfare; Collective Preference, 1968; Philosophy of Social Science, 1987; Meeting Needs, also 1987; Logic on the Track of Social Change (in collaboration with Bryson Brown and Peter K. Schotch), 1995; Natural Law Modernized, 2001; Utilitarianism; Restorations, Repairs; and Renovations, 2004; and Analytical Political Philosophy: From Discourse, Edification, 2006. Among his honors were a Guggenheim Fellowship, the presidency of the Canadian Philosophical Association (1971), and the presidency of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (1975-1976). He was also a vice president of the American Political Science Association for one year. In 1980, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2011 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Dalhousie University.
He died on August 7, 2013, at the age of eighty-eight, after a brief illness. He is survived by his third wife, Michiko Gomyo, three children, four step-children, four grandchildren, and seven step-grandchildren.
- Elizabeth Braybrooke Portman, New Brunswick, Canada
Joseph L. Camp, Jr., 1942–2013
Joseph Lee Camp, Jr., professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, died in St. Louis, Missouri, on January 17, 2013, at the age of seventy.
Joe was highly respected throughout the profession for the span and depth of his expertise, and for the swiftness and penetration of his philosophical insight. His philosophical interests ranged from metaphysics, philosophy of mind, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of logic, and philosophy of science, to seventeenth-century philosophy. He gave generously of his time and intellect, helping colleagues and several generations of students to develop and improve their ideas. Joe never concluded a philosophical conversation until you had arrived at a better place, even if that meant continuing into the wee hours of the morning. He had a disarming, down-home manner; enjoyed making people laugh; and swore gloriously and without restraint. He was beloved by family, friends, colleagues, and students, who cherish their memories of Joe’s brilliance, humor, generosity, charisma, and charm.
Joe was born September 16, 1942, in Suffern, New York. While in the third grade he contracted polio, with devastating effects. It would take him nearly two years to recover the ability to walk even a few hundred feet. Post-polio scoliosis developed and became increasingly debilitating as it worsened over the years until, at the age of thirty-eight, doctors gave him two or three years to live. Faced with that prospect, he underwent ground-breaking surgery at Harvard Medical Center. The recovery took two years, but the operation corrected his scoliosis, leading eventually to his first pain-free conscious hours since the age of eight.
As an undergraduate at Syracuse University in the early 1960s, Joe completed coursework for a doctorate in mathematics and lab work for a doctorate in nuclear and high energy physics—but he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, the one subject in which he had managed to fulfill undergraduate graduation requirements. A growing interest in philosophy eventually led him to abandon a plan to write a dissertation in physics, and at Brown University he earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1967.
That same year, Joe joined the philosophy department at the University of Pittsburgh, where he remained until his retirement in 2005. His vision and guidance, especially as chair from 1987 to 1991, helped shape the department we see today. He held a secondary appointment as a senior fellow in the Center for Philosophy of Science.
Joe’s book, Confusion: A Study in the Theory of Knowledge (2002), takes up a nexus of questions about a kind of mistake he called ontological confusion. These are cases in which someone has wrongly taken two or more objects for a single object, or has made a similar mistake at the level of properties, or relations. Such confusion, he argued, is not uncommon in everyday life and was a central topic for early modern philosophers. Even pervasive ontological confusion does not preclude rational inference, and Joe was keen to explain how this is possible. To that end, he sought a semantical and logical theory for languages used by ontologically confused people. Joe argued that the explanatory goals cannot satisfactorily be achieved by theories, including supervaluation approaches, that define logical validity in terms of truth and falsity. Accordingly, he built on earlier work by Nuel Belnap to provide and defend a semantical and logical theory based on a very different set of notions. He rejected the idea that ontological confusion is a type of mental state, arguing instead that to take someone to be ontologically confused is to take a certain paternalistic attitude in appraising their reasoning. (Indeed, he offered his semantical and logical theory partly to explicate the content of that attitude.) Much of the argument of the book is driven by simple, engaging examples, yet he illustrates the power of his ideas by showing how they illuminate several episodes in the history of philosophy and the history of science. Joe dedicated Confusion to his companion, Tamara Horowitz, who died two years before the book was published. After Tamara passed, he edited a collection of her essays, The Epistemology of A Priori Knowledge (2005).
Two of his papers stand out from the others. With Nuel Belnap and Dorothy Grover, he co-authored "A Prosentential Theory of Truth” (1975), an influential paper that develops and defends a markedly improved deflationary theory of truth. His "Why Attributions of Aboutness Report Soft Facts” (1988) argues deftly that ascriptions of mental aboutness de re and intentional identity are best seen as variations on a single underlying theme—a theme that assimilates the grounding for these attributions to the grounding for literary interpretations of fiction.
For someone who commanded as much respect in the profession as he did, Joe did not publish a great deal. His impact was realized primarily through his teaching and philosophical conversation. As Mark Wilson has said, "He was more useful to the development of the profession than people who published six times as much.” Joe’s seminars were legendary. He delivered no prepared lectures. His spontaneous explanations, when he gave them, were stunning for their depth, detail, and clarity; but more often he taught in Socratic fashion, posing questions and giving students all the time they needed to work their way through carefully to an answer. The focus was as much on learning how to think philosophically as it was on the specific content at hand. He directed twenty-three doctoral dissertations and advised many more students as a dissertation committee member. He was a terrific mentor and advisor, with an uncanny ability to discern exactly what kind of help—philosophical or otherwise—any individual student needed, and to provide exactly that.
Joe is survived by his children, John Camp, Jennifer Smith, and David Camp; his grandsons Sam Camp and Louis Smith; his sister Alice Katzung; and his former wife, Deborah Danielson.
A memorial event with remembrances from family, friends, colleagues, and former students was held September 20, 2013, at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Walter Edelberg, University of Illinois at Chicago
Arthur Danto, 1924–2013
There are many accounts of Arthur Danto’s intellectual itinerary and his celebrated place within the worlds of art criticism and philosophy. I wish to offer a sense, partial of course, of what he was like to those who knew him closely. When his friend and former colleague Richard Wollheim died, Danto told me of his vexation that, in his substantial autobiography Germs, Wollheim described only his personal development, largely within psychoanalytical parameters. But Danto wanted to know how Wollheim the philosopher, not Wollheim the man, came into being. Danto might have taken comfort in knowing that to distinguish these two dimensions in himself might not have been possible. Who he was as a philosopher was hardly distinguishable from who he was as a person.
His philosophical fame came from analyzing the transformation instantiated in works of art—those of Pop and Fluxus, the music of Cage, and the dance of Cunningham—that took as their substance everyday objects, sounds, actions, and the like. That began as early as 1964 in his essay "The Artworld” in which he quaintly referred to a certain "Mr. Andy Warhol,” a figure whom few among his philosophical audience would have heard of or, had they heard of, would have taken seriously. With that essay, and the philosophical and critical writing that followed, Danto initiated a revolution in the theoretical reflection on the arts, a revolution in which philosophers once again began to ask the genuinely grand questions about art—about its essence, meaning, and history—themes that were foresworn by an earlier generation of philosophers allergic to metaphysical speculation and wary of attributing any great cognitive significance to "mere aesthetic” forms. The range and concreteness of his examples gave vividness to his discussions—a kind of flesh to spirit—not often found in the anemic Anglo-American tradition in aesthetics. But, more significantly, in grounding his thought in the history of art and its contemporary manifestations he gave aesthetics a demonstration of the philosophical payoff that the philosophy of science came to enjoy in using expert empirical knowledge of the sciences and their histories in the analysis of the very concepts—say, that of "species”—that are central to scientific explanation.
Danto’s major systematic work in the philosophy of art was the Transfiguration of the Commonplace, a title he borrowed from one appended to a non-existent book referred to in a real book by Muriel Spark. But it might as well have been the name of a commonplace book in which he inscribed his principles for how to treat others. For anyone who had Arthur as a teacher or reader learned that his default approach was to excavate what might be even a minor part of one’s work, if it had some value or depth, and show how that was what the work as a whole was really about—transforming lead into gold, or at least a richer metal than what one started with. Responding to a paper I once wrote for him, he said that the first twenty-four pages amounted to no more than superficial philosophy of science, but after that, it was the best philosophy of art he had read in a long time. The paper was only twenty-nine pages! And anyone who went from being his student or admirer to his friend, as I did, learned that this is how he responded to people as well—finding whatever was good in them, however implicit or accidental, and deciding that it was that which defined who they really were. This would remain a purely external redefinition if it weren’t that one wanted, when in Danto’s company, to be one’s best self, and sometimes found that one could.
But the ordinary things, of which he described the transfiguration into indiscernible artistic counterparts, were meaningful to Danto in their own right, and not, as to ironists, only devices for slumming. This was true even though he said his interest in Warhol’s work was, at least at first, primarily philosophical, and he would have traded a Brillo Box for a painting by Morandi without hesitation. In responding to a demonstration of my primitive Italian with his "soldier’s Italian” and an indiscrete narrative of the trouble it caused him in polite society, he described with real passion how, when serving in Italy in the Second World War, he would avidly await each installment of a British comic strip about a young intelligence officer named Jane whose misadventures inexplicably but reliably left her partially disrobed (this was the 1940s). After I sent him a book with reproductions from the series, he described the reverie he was sent into while reading it, now more than a half century later. But that sort of thing was never just one thing for Danto, the way it might be for someone who thought cultural ephemera couldn’t sustain any substantial reflection. We once shared a long train ride and discussed watching the nightly reruns of Seinfeld. I thought, at least in this art form, I’m as much of an expert as him—until, after a long pause in which he adopted a characteristic inward focus, he turned to me and said, "You know, it really is the closest thing our age has to the commedia dell’arte tradition.”
It was sometimes said of Danto, with admiration or consternation, that he saw the world as it should and could be, not as it was. It would imply too volunteerist a perspective to say that he chose to adopt this perspective, but he certainly recognized having it, blaming it on having been born on January 1st, in which, he said in a recent essay, "each year opens on a new page, for me as well as for the world.” In truth, Danto’s way of seeing the world was as essential a feature of his identity as any other might be. He suffered, and he suffered with you, and his optimism was not held blithely. Instead, it represented in some ways a moral stand, one no doubt a source of frustration to those who wanted him to share in their cynicism, however warranted it might be in academic locales. For me, and I’m sure for many others around him, his attitude, his exemplary being, was a source of strength: a goad to think, when possible, beyond what was currently a source of pain; and not to curse the world even if one was right to curse one small part of it. And his cosmopolitanism and earthiness, and his profundity as a philosopher, made that stance credible, when it might have seemed an artificial conceit in others. Although he engaged in the ruthless disputation required of professional philosophers, where expressing too much agreement with another’s argument is a form of discourtesy, Danto was contemptuous of the academic déformation professionnelleof taking pleasure in snide and cavalier criticism. False sophistications and too-clever-by-half arguments made him impatient. Yet he delighted in wit, even at his expense, as when he was told by a graduate student of a somewhat deconstructive bent that the indefinite article in the subtitle of his major book—"…a philosophy of art”—appeared to betray a false modesty.
Danto didn’t believe in an afterlife, and took some comfort in knowing, he said, that the end really was the end. But, of course, one retains in one’s mind an image of those we lose. Turning older, he embraced the observation that he and Socrates shared a physiognomy, and he showed me from time to time pictures that friends sent him of busts of the ancient philosopher that made the comparison highly credible. But I will continue to think of him through another set of images, those painted several years ago by his wife, the artist Barbara Westman. In these, she has represented the two of them as Adam and Eve in the Garden. And there he is, with grey beard and bald pate, dancing, kissing, and otherwise cavorting with his partner, while beasts of the kingdom somewhat quizzically look on. Danto beamed with pleasure when showing these images to visitors, a pleasure that declared the great happiness he found in his life with Barbara, and the happiness, I think, of the figure by which he is represented in that Eden.
- Jonathan Gilmore, Visiting Scholar, Columbia University
Fred Dretske, 1932–2013
Fred Dretske died this summer. He was a philosopher of singular quality, inventive, lucid, and fundamental. His work in the theory of knowledge and the philosophy of mind, and his analysis of laws of nature, won him wide recognition and respect. He was a person of great charm, greatly loved by his friends. From Waukegan, Illinois, he went to Purdue to become an electrical engineer, but he was waylaid by philosophy, and during two years in the service, stationed in New Mexico, he managed learn enough philosophy to be admitted—provisionally—to the graduate program at Minnesota. He came to Wisconsin in 1960, soon to marry Brenda Peters (who died in 1984), and would stay in Madison for twenty-eight years. His philosophical power and the quiet force of his personality made him the solid center of that department. He was a superb teacher, a stickler for "standards” in academic matters. His writing is a model of hard-working philosophical prose, clear, plain, driven by vivid examples. His manner was modest and even retiring but not from lack of confidence. In philosophy he was very sure of himself.
Fred was entirely a philosopher, not a scholar of philosophy. He had no philosophical heroes. He spent little time criticizing the work of other philosophers. Instead, he devoted himself to working out his own views in his own way. Not that he was a solitary worker; on the contrary, he loved good philosophical discussion not least for the society of it. And wherever he went, he enhanced the quality of philosophical society, the pleasure of being a part of that society, its cohesion and fertility. In discussion with Fred, as in his work, a philosophical question was addressed face-to-face, not through the veil of someone’s view of the matter, or embalmed in various isms. It was a golden age of the Wisconsin department, and he was the heart of it. He moved on, in 1988, to settle with his new wife, Judith Fortson, in Palo Alto. John Perry recalls the ten years Dretske spent at Stanford as a golden age of that department as well. When Fred retired, and moved to Durham, he continued to work productively, now in the company of the Duke philosophers. But the main thing was life with Judith.
Dretske called his last book Naturalizing the Mind, and the title fits the bulk of his work. His naturalism was less a thesis than a standard he worked by. An account that might satisfy him would employ only the concepts of enlightened common sense and those certified by natural science. Anything else was of no interest to him. He was, certainly, part of the great modern tradition that seeks to understand the place of the human being in the world as it is revealed to us by science—but the understanding he sought was philosophical. He did not think that epistemology or the philosophy of mind might better just deliquesce into some cognate branch of science. Nor did he think the proper methods of philosophy are those of science. But he had a rare ability to put the proceeds of science to fertile philosophical use. The making of plausible models, biological or mechanical, was part of his method—models of the flow of information from the external world to concept and belief, to the movements of the acting body somehow caused by the representational content of thoughts. To really understand a thing, he said, you need to know how to build it.
Fred began in epistemology defending a commonplace: that we have "direct perceptual contact” with material objects. The philosophical refusal to allow this, he thought, stemmed from confusing our simply seeing or hearing a thing, taken neat and in itself, with various conceptual and judgmental accretions to that event. He insisted on the elementary distinction between seeing an armadillo, and seeing what the thing might be, seeing that it is an armadillo. This early distinction was back at work in his late attempts to pry apart the elements of consciousness, its objects and its qualities. But in the beginning, in Seeing and Knowing, it gave him a tractable question: How do we ascend from simple "non-epistemic” seeing to beliefs based thereupon, and even to knowledge?
Dretske never doubted that if we know a proposition to be true then our belief cannot possibly be false. If the guarantee of its truth must be written in the mind’s inner sanctum, of its a priori endowments and logical powers, it will forever be doubted whether we know anything at all about the external world. But perhaps that guarantee is accomplished by the laws of nature, governing what happens even in the human mind, what actually can happen and under what conditions. For the present circumstance, the one that actually prevails, may be such that those laws entail that it could not possibly look to me as if this is a hand if it were not a hand, and if so, then that perceptual reason is a conclusive one for my belief that this is a hand. I can still conceive that I might be wrong, but that does not mean that I could be wrong in fact. I may not know that I am in such circumstances, or that there are such governing laws. But that means only that I do not know that I know, and why must I know the harder thing to know the easier one? Dretske buttressed this line of thought with studies of the distinctions on which it depends: between "epistemic operators” that do and those—like knows—that do not "penetrate” to all their implications; and between knowing that an animal is a zebra, and knowing that it is a zebra and not a small mule painted with zebra stripes. This material, put forth in his 1970 and 1971 papers "Epistemic Operators” and "Conclusive Reasons,” led on to the broadly conceived centerpiece of his corpus, Knowledge and the Flow of Information of 1981. Now the perceptual knowledge that s is F was conceived as a belief caused by the information that s is F, and for the information that s is F to be carried by a perceptual signal r—a reason—the conditional probability, given r, of s being F must be no less than 1. Such a belief, then, could not possibly be wrong. From this basis he developed an account of mental content or meaning. "In the beginning there was information. The word came later.”
Fred’s advances often began in his seeing a crucial distinction and why it matters. Philosophy may be born in wonder, but it is bred in confusion, in our blindness to differences. In Explaining Behavior: Reasons in a World of Causes, the question was how the airy content of a thought can set our physical parts in motion. The key was a seemingly uninteresting distinction between a motion that is caused by a thought and a thought’s causing a motion. If we identify behavior with a thought’s causing a motion, then the cause of behavior will be not what causes those motions, but what causes the thought to cause them: it will be the cause of the efficacious structure—like the structure of the gun that causes the pulling of the trigger to cause the bullet to move toward the target. This "structuring” cause may be found in the thought’s having the function of indicating some state of affairs, as the thought that this is food functions to indicate the presence of food, and its historically having veridically done so has selected that mental state for the role of causing the motions of eating, and sustained it in that role. But now, he said, having the function of indicating a state of affairs is being a representation of that state of affairs as obtaining. If that is what mental representation is, and what behavior is, then that is how representational content can cause behavior. The key was finding precisely the explanandum and precisely the explanans that fit together, the right nut for the right bolt.
This memorial has wound down from a tribute to a mere revisitation of his philosophy. Fred would think that’s just as well. But thinking through his ideas again is an evocation of him. And how it does make one want to sit down with Fred himself, and argue about these things again, in his amiable, irreplaceable company. Over Beefeater martinis.
- Dennis W. Stampe, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Keith Gunderson, 1935–2013
Keith Gunderson, professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Minnesota, died October 14, 2013, at the age of seventy-eight. He was born August 29, 1935, in New Ulm, Minnesota. Shortly thereafter his family moved to Minneapolis, where he attended public schools. Keith received a B.A. from Macalester College in 1957, a second B.A. from Oxford University in 1959 (after two years as a Fulbright Fellow), and a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1963. He taught at Princeton for two years before moving to California, where he was an assistant professor of philosophy at University of California, Los Angeles from 1964 to 1967. He "returned home” to Minnesota in 1967, joined the department of philosophy and the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science, and was a member of both for forty years.
Keith’s intellectual interests and pursuits were wide-ranging. He played a major role in the debates that arose with the advent of artificial intelligence, including the adequacy of the Turing Test, the problems posed by consciousness, and the limitations of functionalist theories of mind. His influentialMentality and Machines (1971, revised and reprinted 1985) is a probing, sensitive, incisive, and also playful investigation of these matters. He published, as well, papers on visual experience, meaning, dreaming, and intentionality. With respect to teaching, his interests included not only major figures of the nineteenth century but also topics in aesthetics. He regularly taught an undergraduate course that dealt with Kant (eighteenth century), Hegel, Marx, Mill, and Nietzsche, and he delighted in teaching a graduate seminar on Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Representation.
Keith was not only a philosopher; he was also a poet. His books of poetry include A Continual Interest in the Sun and Sea, Inland Missing the Sea, To See a Thing, and 3142 Lyndale Ave. So. Apt. 24—the last-mentioned being an especially popular work used widely in the Minneapolis public schools.
The term "fascinated” is perhaps overused, but it applies aptly to Keith. It was clear from his publications, and even more so from conversation, that Keith was fascinated: Keith the philosopher was fascinated and enthralled by the issues surrounding consciousness, machines, and biology; Keith the poet was fascinated by, and celebrated, the everyday things of life, however small or ordinary.
Keith is survived by his wife, Sandra Riekki, his former wife, Donna Gunderson-Rogers, three sons, Christopher, Jonathan, and Nathaniel, and four grandchildren. This gentle, creative man is deeply missed by family, friends, and colleagues.
- Joseph Owens, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
William Herron McGowan, 1931–2013
William Herron McGowan, professor emeritus of philosophy at California State University, Long Beach, from 1967 to 1996, died this August 14, 2013.
Bill McGowan was born William Kerr Henry Herron III on February 8, 1931, and adopted by Stuart Rice McGowan in 1938 in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Cranbrook Preparatory School, and then Kenyon College, graduating in 1953. He attended Johns Hopkins University, receiving his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1957 with a dissertation titled "Berkeley’s General Theory of Signs.” He taught first at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania (1957-1960), then at Eastman School of Music (1960-1966), where he offered one of their first humanities courses. After a year as a visiting professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ (1966-1967), Bill joined the philosophy department of California State University at Long Beach (CSULB) and after teaching some twenty-nine years retired in 1996.
At CSULB he regularly taught introductory philosophy, as well as courses in the history of modern philosophy. His main teaching and philosophical interest was in the British empiricists, especially Bishop George Berkeley, and in closely associated areas of the philosophy curriculum, like epistemology, philosophy of perception, and philosophy of language. Bill was deeply interested in the cultural, literary, and political context of his central philosophical figure, Berkeley. He was a long-term member of the International Berkeley Society and published a variety of articles and reviews in the Berkeley Newsletter, the Journal of Educational Thought, Indian Philosophical Quarterly, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, and South Central Review(of the Modern Language Association). His essay "Berkeley’s Influence on American Philosophy” was published in the Viewer’s Guide to "The Dean of Thin Air,” a 1983 TV-film documentary produced by WSB TV, Rhode Island, funded by NEH.
Bill McGowan and Carol Ann Hawkins were married January 2, 1952. They had two children, Richard and Lynn. The family settled in Huntington Beach when Bill joined the CSULB faculty. Carol McGowan died in 1995. Richard is now a research scientist in acoustics and speech production working in the Boston area. Lynn lives in Huntington Beach and is a writer and editor, as well as an active volunteer on behalf of animal welfare.
Outside his family and his interests in eighteenth-century philosophy and culture, Bill was passionate about music. He was an accomplished pianist, and a deep devotee of classical music and opera. Like many academics, Bill found it financially necessary on occasion to moonlight. He taught part-time at local colleges and at El Toro Marine Base. He enjoyed teaching students with real-world experience. "Fun facts” from his children’s memories include his stint as a part-time security employee at Disneyland, dressed as a Keystone cop. And he delighted at the time in wearing a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs shirt to class (a "shocking” departure from his normal departmental persona).
On April 19, 2005, as a result of hypoglycemia, Bill blacked out while driving home from a doctor’s visit. He survived the accident severely injured, and totally blind. At the time he was working on a book on Berkeley, which, sadly, remains unfinished. Bill lived the last several years of his life at an Alternative Senior Care facility, sustained by books-on-tape from the Braille Institute, music programs from KUSC, and visits from family and friends. Colleagues noted his "philosophic” demeanor, for Bill retained his linguistic wit and as much of his former interests as possible, and he adjusted to his fate with courage and determination. He will be sorely missed.
- Shane Andre and William Johnson, California State University, Long Beach
James Sasso, Jr., 1941–2013
Dr. James (Jim) Sasso, Jr., died in Bayonne, New Jersey, on April 28, 2013, at the Bayonne Medical Center. He was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, on May 2, 1941. He split his residence between Wolcott, Connecticut, and Jersey City, New Jersey. Dr. Sasso is survived by his devoted partner of many years, Linda DeSantis McGrath, her daughter, Jennifer DeSantis, and her children, Owen and Lauren, together with several cousins.
Dr. Sasso received the B.A. from Colgate University and the Ph.D. from Boston University, both degrees in philosophy. For most of his professional life he was a professor of philosophy at New Jersey City University, formerly Jersey City College. His major publication is The Role of Consciousness in the Thought of Nietzsche, based on his doctoral dissertation. His main and ongoing scholarly interest was the development of a theory of creativity.
Jim was greatly admired by his students and friends, among whom I was glad and honored to be numbered. He had a sharp and incisive wit and a mordant sense of humor. But his witticisms and humor were more than entertainment and diversion. They invariably held a germ of wisdom making them as edifying as they were entertaining. He and I used to take long hikes on the wooded trails that ran up and down and around Mt. Holyoke in Massachusetts. Jim was one who in his "love of nature had communion with her visible forms.” From the summit we would survey the valley below with its fertile pastures, the meandering Connecticut River, and the hills of the Berkshires way to the west. This to us became a symbolic landscape redolent as it was with literary associations—with Jonathan Edwards and Emily Dickinson who lived in the Connecticut River Valley; with Emerson who climbed Mt. Holyoke; with Washington Irving who skirted its base. Jim and I often stood in the very place where Thomas Cole painted the iconic The Oxbow in the 1830s. These classic figures were our invisible companions on our strolls. On our walks—and what walks they were!—we conversed (and laughed) incessantly and enthusiastically on these and other things, particularly philosophical questions—our walks were philosophical peregrinations. Emerson once remarked that walking animates one’s thoughts—well, Jim and I certainly proved the truth of that remark.
He inscribed a gift copy to me of his first book with the following: To all those who are seriously interested in the truth. This is an apt motto for his life. Like Socrates, Jim acted as our gadfly. He was a friend who was unafraid to criticize, and always constructively. Allied to this was his tolerance of one’s personal foibles. He would have agreed with Goethe’s judgment, ''Our foibles are really what make us lovable.'' He hated with a vengeance anything that smacked of meretriciousness, mendacity, and hypocrisy.
A funeral Mass for him was held at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Bayonne, New Jersey, with interment at Calvary Cemetery in Waterbury, Connecticut. He is greatly missed.
- Richard A. S. Hall, Fayetteville State University
George N. Schlesinger, 1925–2013
Rabbi and Professor Dr. George N. S. passed away on June 27, 2013, at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. He had been a resident of the Memphis Jewish Home and Rehab for seven years.
Schlesinger was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1925. He moved to Israel in 1939 with his parents, who settled in Bnei Brak. He studied at religious seminaries in Jerusalem and was ordained as a rabbi in 1948. He met his wife of sixty-three years, Shulamith Davidi Schlesinger, while teaching in a seminary in Kfar HaRoeh.
Less than a year after their marriage in 1950, they moved to England, where Schlesinger received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of London. They then relocated to Australia, where he received his Ph.D. in 1959 from the University of Melbourne.
During his career he published ten books and more than 300 articles on scientific method, time, logic, and religion, which were often also anthologized. He lectured throughout the world. In his work he raised original questions, and he usually took highly provocative positions backed by ingenious arguments.
From 1960 to 1967, he held the ranks of lecturer, then senior lecturer and reader (the equivalent of U.S. full professor) at the Australian National University. He also volunteered his services as a rabbi to the small Jewish community of Canberra, where his son David was born.
In 1967, the Schlesingers moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Schlesinger was professor of philosophy until his retirement in 1999. He also held fellowships and visiting positions at the University of Minnesota, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Texas, and (repeatedly) Bar-Ilan University.
His teaching specialties at UNC were philosophy of religion and philosophy of science (especially confirmation theory, philosophy of physics, and philosophy of time). In each of those areas, he educated his students in Socratic fashion, with provocative and stimulating questions. In 1975 he won a university-wide Tanner Award "in recognition of excellence in inspirational teaching,” and in 1990 he was Henry Horace Williams Award laureate for excellence in undergraduate teaching, an honor bestowed by UNC’s Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies.
For many years, he taught a course on space and time jointly with Professor Hendrik van Dam of the physics department.(Under the influence of twentieth-century physics, we came to think of time as simply another dimension along with those of space. Schlesinger particularly enjoyed calling attention to the contrastsbetween the static nature of space and the dynamic nature of time.)
In 1991 he directed a very successful NEH Summer Seminar on the Philosophy of Time for College Teachers—so successful, in fact, that its members set out to form a society for the philosophy of time. That society exists to this day, meeting in conjunction with the APA, and continues to credit Schlesinger for its inspiration.
Schlesinger was an incomparable raconteur. He could just start in, telling stories off the top of his head, with jokes and anecdotes and literary references and historical oddities and cultural tropes and biographical information and personal reminiscences and . . . , punctuated by philosophical observations and modest flights of fancy. And he could go on indefinitely; he never ran out, nor would anyone have wanted him to. Naturally, this ability enhanced his teaching.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Schlesinger and Lycan put on periodic debates under the auspices of the UNC Graduate Philosophy Club on topics such as Pascal’s Wager, the Principle of Sufficient Reason, the practical application of moral rules, "Is Ignorance Bliss?,” and lastly, in 1997, "Ulterior Motives in Philosophy.” These were immensely well attended. (The audiences had come to hear Schlesinger.) On several occasions, Schlesinger and Shulamith hosted a reception in their home following the debate; both food and conversation were superb.
Not surprisingly, he was much in demand as a speaker, at over two hundred different universities in Canada, Great Britain, Greece, India, the Netherlands, and Sweden, in addition to Australia, Israel and the United States.
A retirement festivity was held in Schlesinger’s honor in October 1998. Numerous affectionate and amusing testimonials were given, and a congratulatory proclamation arrived from then North Carolina governor James B. Hunt. Schlesinger gave a valedictory speech on the difference between wisdom and intelligence, illustrated by an intriguing little paradox from game theory.
Schlesinger’s first book, Method in the Physical Sciences (1963), was very highly regarded. It was reissued by Routledge upon its fiftieth anniversary in 2013. Aspects of Time (1980) developed his views on space-time analogies and disanalogies, the status of temporal becoming, and the direction of causation. Timely Topics (1994) applied those views to various other issues in metaphysics; of it, Philosophia said that "no one wrestles with these questions more vigorously, more creatively, or with greater variety of innovative and fascinating twists and turns, than does George N. Schlesinger.”
Confirmation and Confirmability (1974), The Intelligibility of Nature (1985), and The Sweep of Probability(1991) addressed paradoxes of confirmation theory and probabilistic reasoning; in approaching them, among other things, Schlesinger developed and deployed his own notion of a "scientifically genuine” predicate. The Range of Epistemic Logic (1985) introduced concepts from probability theory into traditional epistemic logic and applied the result to each of several traditional issues in epistemology.
Religion and Scientific Method (1977) and New Perspectives on Old-Time Religion (1988) gave novel confirmation-theoretic arguments for the existence of God, and took up various topics in natural theology, most notably the problem of evil. Schlesinger offered not just one but several mutually compatible theodicies.
Schlesinger was once asked by an interviewer how he had happened to end up in Chapel Hill, by way of Israel, England, and Australia after leaving Budapest, and to settle there for so many years. Deliberately intensifying his Hungarian accent, he replied, "Because it is the Southern Part of Heaven.”
Schlesinger leaves behind his wife Shulamith, his son David, and four grandchildren, Avishai, Ariav, Efroni, and Eliana Schlesinger.
- William G. Lycan, University of North Carolina
Avrum Stroll, 1921–2013
It is with great sadness that I convey the news of the death of Professor Avrum Stroll on September 12, 2013, in Thornton Hospital at the University of California, San Diego, Medical Center.
Avrum Stroll was emeritus research professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). A distinguished philosopher and scholar, his open, generous, sensitive, and sharp spirit—acutely alive to philosophy and to the world—will be missed by all who knew him. Avrum loved life, but most of all loved to share it—as he did the wonderful anecdotes of his life and the superb grands crus of his cellar.
Born on February 15, 1921, in Oakland, California, Avrum Stroll received a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1951. He spent most of his professional career at UCSD, whose philosophy department he founded, alongside Richard Popkin and Jason Saunders, in 1963. He also taught at the Universities of British Columbia, Oregon, and Iowa. Stroll was All-University of California Lecturer in 1965, a J. S. Guggenheim Fellow in 1973, and received the Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Teaching in 1996.
Stroll's interests and work focused on the philosophy of language, epistemology, and the history of twentieth-century analytic philosophy. In philosophy of language, he thought that most philosophical problems originate in non-technical contexts and involve subtle extensions and misuses of everyday speech. Though Stroll was not adverse to introducing technical terms in philosophy, he was adamant that these should be held to a minimum, and that virtually whatever can be said that is sensible can be said in ordinary language. He developed these thoughts in Informal Philosophy. His example-oriented approach to philosophical questions as an alternative to theory building or to the quest for essences is embodied in his Sketches of Landscapes: Philosophy by Example. This work also contains an essay on the logic of examples and provides a solution to the problem of fictional reference, a topic that Stroll will tackle in depth in a book, co-authored with A. P. Martinich, Much Ado About Nonexistence: Fiction and Reference.
In epistemology, Stroll’s contributions focused on the nature of the external world, skepticism, knowledge, and certainty. His Moore and Wittgenstein on Certainty has been, since its publication in 1994, a standard work of reference for scholars of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty. It pioneered our understanding of that work and also constitutes one of Stroll’s multi-pronged assaults on the bewitchment of philosophical scepticism.
In Surfaces, Stroll conducted an unprecedented investigation into how we organize (via the logic of ordinary speech) a conceptual model of the world whose components are surfaces, edges, margins, seams, and boundaries. This approach generated a substantial literature on the ontology of boundaries (e.g., Holes by Casati and Varzi). Surfaces is also an attack on indirect as well as direct theories of perception. Though Stroll agreed with J. J. Gibson that we generally see things as they are, he denied that this amounts to seeing them directly, and proposed his own "piecemeal realism” according to which our perception is only rarely and under special conditions to be described as direct. He held that in normal cases objects are neither seen directly nor indirectly. In this, he deviated from the tradition of direct realism, and obviated the problems that come with it, including the idea that a general account of perception can explain all the possible ways that human beings see things.
Stroll wrote extensively about the main developments in twentieth-century analytic philosophy. His Twentieth-Century Analytic Philosophy contains biographical sketches of philosophers he has known personally, such as Quine, Ryle, and Marcus, as well as an evaluation of their work. Some of these sketches are autobiographical. In that work he mentions that Austin invited him to participate in a seminar he gave in Berkeley in 1958, and gives a vivid account of Austin’s personality and teaching style.
Avrum is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Stroll, a medieval historian, and his four children, Robin, Susie, Ted, and Noelle. He died surrounded by his family and aware that those who loved him were there. He was cremated, and interred with military honors, at Fort Rosecrans on October 23, 2013. The UCSD philosophy department held a memorial for him on October 26, 2013.
Surfaces (Minneapolis, 1988)
Moore and Wittgenstein on Certainty (Oxford, 1994)
Sketches of Landscapes: Philosophy by Example (Cambridge, 1998)
Twentieth-Century Analytic Philosophy (New York, 2000)
Skeptical Philosophy for Everyone (with R.H. Popkin) (New York, 2002)
Wittgenstein (London, 2002)
Did My Genes Make Me Do It? (New York, 2004)
Much Ado About Nonexistence: Fiction and Reference (with A. P. Martinich) (2007)
Martinich, A. P. and White, M. J. (eds.) Certainty and Surface in Epistemology and Philosophical Method: Essays in Honor of Avrum Stroll (Lewiston, 1991)
- Danièle Moyal-Sharrock, University of Hertfordshire
Paul C. L. Tang, 1944–2013
Paul Chi Lung Tang, professor emeritus of philosophy at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), died on July 27, 2013, after a long illness, at the age of sixty-nine. A member of the faculty for twenty-two years until he retired in 2008, he served as chair of the department in 1988-1994 and graduate advisor in 1997-2001. He also taught in the department of Asian and Asian-American studies, the university honors program, and the department of science education.
Paul was the son of a world-renowned biochemist in China and a mother who earned a doctorate in pharmacology. A native of Vancouver, Canada, he received his Bachelor of Science with high distinction in zoology and biochemistry from the University of British Columbia in 1966; his Master of Arts in education from Simon Fraser University in 1971; and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis in 1975 and 1982, respectively. His doctoral dissertation, directed by Richard S. Rudner, was "An Epistemological Study of the Gene Concept in Biology.”
He also received a certificate in bioethics from the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University in 1983 and a diploma of associateship from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, with honors in piano, in 1962. Throughout his life, he loved playing his spinet piano at home and regularly attended musical concerts at the CSULB campus. While in St. Louis at Washington University, he worked as the music critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, writing hundreds of reviews.
His major teaching specialties were philosophy of science, philosophy of social science, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, history of science, logic, Wittgenstein, Quine, Goodman, aesthetics, and Asian philosophy. His introductory course in critical thinking was legendary on campus and always filled to capacity with long waiting lists. Prior to joining the CSULB faculty, he taught at Grinnell College, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Washington University, and St. Louis Community College at Meramec.
Paul edited the Philosophy of Science Association Newsletter from 1986-1990 and the Philosophy of Science Academic Journal during 1972-1975. He also was guest editor for a special issue of the Social Science Journal in 1999. He was the co-author of the LSAT Preparation Guide in 1990 and a revised edition in 1992. He was active in publishing throughout his career, with thirty-six major articles and many other articles, book reviews, and conference presentations.
He was especially active in the graduate M.A. program at CSULB, assisting students in the organization of numerous major conferences and serving for many years as faculty advisor for the student philosophy association. He chaired the M.A. thesis committees for forty-five students, several of which won the "Outstanding Thesis” award from the college, and he was a member of ten additional thesis committees at CSULB. He was especially proud of co-authoring with graduate students numerous papers presented at conferences and published in journals, both here and abroad. Even after serious illness forced him to retire, he continued to tutor graduate students at his apartment near campus and assisted them in developing their thesis projects.
Paul is survived by a sister, Mei, in Washington. He was a gracious, tireless, and trusted colleague. He inspired life-long devotion in many students, which is the best memorial that so wonderful a teacher may receive.
- Julie C. Van Camp, California State University, Long Beach
Burnham Terrell, 1923–2013
Dailey Burnham Terrell was born on November 12, 1923, in Port Arthur, Texas, and died on November 13, 2013, in Houston, Texas. He received a B.A. with high honors from Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania, in 1945. As a member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, he opposed war on principle. Thus, he registered as a conscientious objector, and while at college and in the year thereafter he performed his alternative service at Civilian Public Service camps in Ohio and South Dakota. In 1946 he began graduate studies in philosophy at the University of Michigan, where he completed his dissertation on Franz Brentano and received his doctorate in 1955. In light of the pressing need for college faculty in the early years following World War II, he joined the philosophy department at the University of Minnesota in 1949 and taught there for forty years. He served as chair of the department from 1961 to 1964.
Burnham had broad philosophical interests and knowledge. These included not only the philosophy of Brentano but also the work of other German-speaking figures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the history and development of logic, British moral-sense theories of the eighteenth century, and the idealism of the Irish philosopher George Berkeley. Over the course of his career, Burnham presented and published nearly a dozen pieces on Brentano, including his translation of Brentano’s Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt (Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint), selections of which Roderick Chisholm published in Realism and the Background of Phenomenology in 1965, and his critical review "Franz Brentano’s Philosophy of Mind” (Chronicles of Philosophy, Vol. 4, Philosophy of Mind, Guttorm Floistad, ed. (1983)). He also translated from German, among other works, some writings of the Bohemian philosopher, logician, mathematician, and antimilitarist Bernard Bolzano.
Burnham’s teaching was as careful and as subtle as is his scholarship. He regularly taught a course on eighteenth-century British moral-sense theorists, figures such as Francis Hutcheson and Joseph Butler, with the iconoclast Bernard Mandeville in the background. In addition to an intrinsic interest in the notion of a moral sense, he had the discerning view that David Hume’s ethics, which relies on the notion of moral sentiment, cannot be correctly understood without knowledge of the similar, but contrasting, notion ofmoral sense of his predecessors.
Over the years, Burnham taught the department’s undergraduate logic course using in own book Logic: A Modern Introduction to Deductive Reasoning (1967). This work is a rigorous and balanced presentation of classical and contemporary approaches to logic. And it reflects its author’s view of pedagogy and his love of old texts of intricate reasoning: it includes an appendix that, while it serves as an exercise for students to identify and assess arguments, reproduces the full seventeen-page text of a debate that took place in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1675 between Anglicans and Quakers concerning theological issues that separated them.
A former student recalls that Professor Terrell was once asked in class why he always presented three interpretations of passages of historic texts. He replied: "If I offered you two, you would think that one or the other must be true. Were I to offer you four or more, you would never remember them all.”
Ever concerned about quality education at all levels, Burnham initiated a pilot program for talented students in 1965. When his scheme was subsequently instituted by the College of Liberal Arts as an Honors Program—the University’s first—Burnham served as its first director. CLA honors became the model for honors programs adopted afterward by other colleges of the University.
In all his undertakings at the university, Burnham adhered unflinchingly to a principle of peaceful resolution of conflict and the promotion of mutual respect. In the late 1960s, at the time of campus protests against the Vietnam War, he mediated between students occupying the university’s administrative offices, demanding establishment of a Black studies program, and university administrators. Then in his capacity as vice-chair of the university senate he helped shepherd endorsement of the agreement through the senate and secure compliance with it by the administration. He persisted in promoting curricular change as the College of Liberal Arts introduced women’s studies and further ethnic-studies programs in the next decade. Throughout his career, Burnham was a strong advocate of shared governance, a polity in which all members of the university community have an actual say in deliberation about—and adoption of—goals, policies, and programs. He sought always to strengthen the effectiveness of this form of government against the encroachment of hierarchy.
Burnham returned with his wife, Joan, to Texas when he retired from the university in 1989. There, in Houston, he attended the Live Oak Friends Meeting and played his flute at Joan’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, music not being a part of Quaker services. And together with other members of his meeting house, he stood vigil whenever he could for the 475 persons executed by the state of Texas in the years 1990 through 2013.
Burnham is survived by his wife, Joan McNeely; by his nine children, Christopher and Elizabeth (children of Elizabeth Todd, Burnham’s first wife, by her former marriage), Geoffrey and Eva (with Elizabeth), Karl, Cindy, Clyde, and William (children of Julia Kessel, Burnham’s second wife, by her former marriage), and Thomas (child of Joan by her former marriage); and by his fifteen grand- and great-grand-children. Family, friends, colleagues, and former students gathered at a commemorative event at the University of Minnesota on March 29, 2014, to remember and celebrate the life of this beloved man.
- Douglas Lewis, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
William Asbury Wisdom, 1935–2013
William (Bill) Asbury Wisdom was born on February 5, 1935, in Haverford, PA. He graduated valedictorian of his class in Haverford High School in 1952, received a BA from Wesleyan University in 1956, an MA in philosophy from New York University in 1960, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College in 1966. His dissertation was titled "Necessary and Contingent Truth in the Philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.”
After two years as an instructor in the philosophy department at Penn State University, he joined the philosophy department at Temple University in 1964. He received tenure and promotion to associate professor in 1969 and remained in that position until his retirement in 1997. Early in his career, he published several articles in the areas of logic, metaphysics, and philosophy of language and also collaborated with Professor Hughes Leblanc in writing a widely used textbook, Deductive Logic (first edition, Allyn and Bacon, 1972; second edition, Allyn and Bacon, 1973; third edition, Prentice Hall, 1993). Later in his career he did not publish but devoted himself to teaching and service activities. He received the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1985. He also served terms as director of graduate studies and department chair. He was active in the faculty union, playing his banjo and leading faculty in song during the 1990 strike.
In retirement, Bill spent more time on his avocation, playing Old Time music with his second wife, Fritzi (Frances) and friends. Every Friday night for years, Bill and Fritzi opened their home to musicians for an Old Time Jam. He was an active member of both the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking and the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia. In more recent years, Bill and Fritzi lived in Martin’s Run, a senior living community in Media, PA. Bill died in hospice care on December 15, 2013. Fritzi survives him, as do Fritzi’s three children. Bill’s son Robert Wisdom preceded him in death.
- Miriam Solomon, Temple University