It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Jon Altschul, associate professor of philosophy at Loyola University New Orleans. Jon was born in Evanston, Illinois, on May 18, 1981. He earned a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Ph.D. from the University of California–Santa Barbara, where he completed his dissertation under the direction of Kevin Falvey. Jon joined the philosophy department at Loyola in 2009 and was awarded tenure in 2015. In the same year, he was elected president of the University Senate by his faculty colleagues. He was one of the most well-liked and well-respected faculty members at Loyola.
Jon specialized in epistemology and philosophy of mind. Much of his research (following from his dissertation) focused on epistemic justification and entitlement. His views on perceptual entitlement were central to this research and were greatly influenced by the work of Tyler Burge. Jon also published work on the bootstrapping problem, the disjunction problem, and epistemic deontologism.
Besides teaching courses in his research areas, Jon had also taught logic, metaphysics, and senior seminars in perception and in the philosophy of John Locke. He was a devoted teacher, advisor, and mentor to students in the philosophy and general studies programs.
Although Jon’s work was technically sophisticated, he was not an ivory tower philosopher, but preferred to practice philosophy on the ground. He had a knack for communicating complex philosophical ideas in clear, simple terms and was determined to take philosophy beyond the college classroom into the community. To that end, he founded the Philosopher Kids program in partnership with the Good Shepherd School, a school for underserved children in New Orleans. Jon recruited and coached Loyola students to conduct weekly after-school classes with second-graders at the school. By engaging grade-schoolers in discussions about philosophical themes taken from children’s literature, the program strives to set the proper foundation for critical thinking in young children to equip them to become more discerning thinkers. For his work with Philosopher Kids, the University Senate honored Jon with an award for Community Engagement.
Jon will be remembered as a wonderful friend, colleague, and faculty leader. As Reverend Kevin Wildes, S.J., university president, noted, "All who knew Jon remember his gentle laughter and a frequent twinkle in his eye. They also remember the care, thoughtfulness, generosity, intelligence and rigor with which he approached his research, led faculty meetings, and taught classes. Jon was well respected by colleagues and students alike."
Jon is survived by his parents, Lynn and Joel, grandmother, Esther, brother, Jason (Karen), sister, Sarah (Robert), nieces, Emma and Ellie, and nephews, James and Jamal. A memorial service for Jon was held at Loyola University on February 29. A second memorial service was held April 8 in Kenilworth, IL. Jon will be greatly missed.
- J. C. Berendzen and Constance Mui, Loyola University New Orleans
Robert James Baum, a specialist in applied ethics, passed away at the age of 74 in Baltimore on May 17th, 2016, following a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. He is survived by Barbara Ann White, his partner of 10 years; his daughter, Aimee Belser, and her family; his two nieces, Cindy Cutler Skacel and Tammy Randa, and their families; and his stepson, John Murphy, and his family.
Baum was born on October 19, 1941, and was educated at Northwestern University, earning his BA in 1963 and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Ohio State University in 1969, with a dissertation on George Berkeley's philosophy of mathematics, under the supervision of Paul Olscamp. He taught for some time at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey and at the University of Maryland at College Park, but spent most of his career at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and at the University of Florida. He spent 12 years at Rennselaer, there achieving the rank of full professor, before moving to Florida in 1981 as a new department chair. He retired in 2008, having devoted 27 years to the University of Florida.
Baum's primary research and professional service was in the area of applied ethics, especially business ethics and ethics for specific professions. With Deborah Johnson and Norman Bowie he co-founded the Business and Professional Ethics Journal in 1981 and was co-editor through 1988, after which he was sole editor until 2010, when the journal was acquired by the Philosophy Documentation Center, which currently publishes it in cooperation with the Institute for Business and Professional Ethics at DePaul University. In 1991, Baum founded a second publication, Professional Ethics: A Multidisciplinary Journal, to provide a venue for what he saw as important work deserving exposure that could not fit comfortably under the purview of the first journal. This publication was folded back into the first one in 2003. Both were sponsored for a time at the Center for Applied Philosophy and Ethics that Baum directed at the University of Florida.
His published research includes a short monograph, Ethics and Engineering Curricula, several edited anthologies on ethics, an edited anthology in the philosophy of mathematics, and many articles in such journals as Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science, Teaching Philosophy, and Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association. He gave more than 80 lectures at conferences, and himself organized conferences on professional ethics, the ethics of health care, the ethics of finance, and a special conference in honor of R. M. Hare. He had an overriding concern with bringing philosophical expertise to bear on practical problems, as also evidenced by his serving from 1974 to 1976 as the director of the Ethical and Human Value Implications of Science and Technology Program sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
This concern extended to his teaching. He authored a textbook on logic that has gone through four editions, first published in 1975 and still in print today with Oxford University Press. As one of his former teaching assistants reports, he made great efforts to make his lectures engaging to students (even in as dry a subject as logic) and worked to connect the issues in his ethics courses with those students would encounter outside the classroom.
Outside of academic philosophy, Baum pursued a secondary avocation as a collector of antique kilims—flat weaves created by nomadic tribes in Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the last decade of his time as a professor, he was often invited to speak at conferences on kilims, and his collection numbered over 800 pieces, a collection that will be broken up and donated to museums around the country. Some of his more valuable pieces were shown at the University of Baltimore Law School's Gallery of Art in an exhibit entitled "19th Century Women's Abstract Art."
Baum was a relatively quiet person, thoughtful and mostly keeping to himself. His character is perhaps well portrayed by something we learned in the course of preparing this notice. He was very fond of picking blueberries and would arrange his travel so that he would be home when they were in season. He would drive to different farms to pick blueberries and prepare them with tofu, a dish he reported to be delicious.
- Department of Philosophy, University of Florida
Donald G. Brown, a distinguished Canadian philosopher, passed away at the age of 89 on July 18, 2016. Don was educated at UBC (BA, honors philosophy, 1947) and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, which he entered as a commoner with senior status in 1948. He became a Scholar of Corpus in 1949, and attained his BA with a first in PPE in 1950. In 1951 Don was a Senior Demy of Magdalen College, then in 1952 a Fellow by Examination of Magdalen; he received his MA and D.Phil in 1955. His dissertation, written under Richard Hare, was “Practical Reason: A Study in the Logic of Theory and Practice.” His examiners were H. L. A. Hart and J. D. Mabbott. Don joined the philosophy department at UBC in 1955 as an assistant professor, took a leave of absence in 1958–59 to teach at Magdalen, then came back to UBC where he remained until his retirement as full professor in 1985.
Don’s primary philosophical interests were in the nature of inference and practical reason, action, and ethics, with a specialty in J. S. Mill. His major publications include “What the Tortoise Taught Us” (Mind 1954), “The Nature of Inference” (Phil Rev., 1955), Action (University of Toronto Press, 1968), “Mill on Liberty and Morality” (Phil Rev., 1972), and “Mill’s Moral Theory: Ongoing Revisionism” (Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, 2010). In retirement he read voraciously and widely, almost as if comps were coming up. He never met a philosophic problem he did not like (except, he once confessed, in aesthetics), and he pursued those he came across with vigor and determination. He also wrote until about a year before his death and has an article on Mill’s Harm Principle in press.
Don also was remarkable for how seriously he took his teaching, and the time and energy he devoted to it. The resulting influence he had on students was enormous. He had the ability to make philosophical problems sound interesting and important, gave model lectures (and was even better in discussion), and lavished attention on us. The comments he put on our work were unsurpassed, and he was unfailingly helpful, encouraging, and accessible. All his students had his home phone number and an invitation to call. The evaluations he received would make an immodest person blush.
Don had non-philosophic interests too. He liked chamber music, jazz, plays, literature and poetry (Phillip Larkin along with Yeats and Hardy were among his favorites), swimming, and sunbathing, and took a lively interest in science and politics and human affairs generally. He also had a practical bent. He taught in and was a staunch advocate of Arts I, was a moving spirit in developing an experimental free school for primary grades, was one of the founders (along with Bob Rowan and Reg Robson of UBC) of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (which remains a force for social change to be reckoned with), and served on the ethics committee of Vancouver General Hospital.
He leaves a daughter, Claire Zaslove, and grandchildren Max and Jessica in Seattle, his partner of 18 years, Monica Robson, in Vancouver, and many former students, colleagues, friends, and acquaintances who remember him with affection, gratitude, and admiration.
- On behalf of the Philosophy Department, University of British Columbia
Professor Dale Jacquette of the University of Bern in Switzerland died suddenly and unexpectedly on Monday, August 22, 2016, at the age of 63. After graduating from Oberlin in 1975 with high honors in philosophy, Jacquette earned his Ph.D. at Brown University in 1983 with a doctoral thesis on the logic of intention under the direction of Roderick Chisholm. Thus began an amazingly productive career which saw the publication of a long series of informative and influential books appearing at a rate exceeding one per year, and covering a vast range of philosophically salient topics in logic, metaphysics, and the philosophy of mind. Of special interest to Jacquette were Meinong, Russell, and Frege—to each of whose work he dedicated several books. His breadth of vision is indicted by the fact that Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein also figured in his pantheon. Beyond his own writings, Jacquette rendered service to the profession in various important editorial projects, including a term as editor of the American Philosophical Quarterly (2002–2005).
There is a long tradition of transatlantic migration of European scholars into American universities, but movement in the reverse direction is exceedingly rare. Jacquette became one of its few instances when he moved from Penn State University to the University of Bern in 2008. His transit betokened the deep appreciation his European colleagues had for his extensive work on modern Germanophile logic and philosophy.
Jacquette was a devoted and indefatigable researcher possessed of a keen insight into fundamentals and a tenacious determination to get to the heart of the matter. His premature death left several important projects in a state of near-readiness for publication, including a monumental philosophical biography of Gottlob Frege in preparation for Cambridge University Press.
An accessible and friendly person who always manifested a spirit of cooperation and collaboration, Dale Jacquette had accumulated a wide circle of admiring and dedicated friends and associates. His departure is a great loss both to philosophy itself and to the philosophical community.
- Nicholas Rescher, University of Pittsburgh
Professor Emeritus Haig Khatchadourian was born in East Jerusalem, Palestine, in 1925 and died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2016. He was married for more than 61 years to Arpiné Khatchadourian (Yaghlian), who preceded him in death in 2012. He is survived by two sons, a daughter, and two grandsons.
Professor Khatchadourian earned his BA and MA from the American University of Beirut and his Ph.D. from Duke University. In addition to numerous (at least 130) journal articles in Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, Epistemology and Ontology, Ethics, Social Philosophy, and Philosophy of Religion, he has published fourteen original books in philosophy: The Coherence Theory of Truth: A Critical Evaluation; A Critical Study in Method; The Concept of Art; Music, Film and Art; Philosophy of Language and Logical Theory; The Morality of Terrorism; Community and Communitarianism; The Quest for Peace between Israel and the Palestinians; War, Terrorism, Genocide, and the Quest for Peace – Contemporary Problems in Applied Ethics; Meaning and Criteria: With Applications to Various Philosophical Problems; Philosophical Reflections: Philosophical Reflections of a Minute Philosopher; Truth: Its Nature, Criteria, and Conditions; and, most recently, How To Do Things with Silence (September 2015, DeGruyter).
In addition, Professor Khatchadourian published Shadows of Time, The Raven and the Cardinal: Poems of Remembrance and Celebration, and a Verse Play, Valentio Di’ Buondelmonte, A Tragedy in Five Acts. The play, The Raven and the Cardinal, and Thoughts, Impressions, Reminiscences (1946–2013) have also been published as e-books. He also edited his wife Arpiné’s posthumously published book, David of Sassoun: An Introduction to the Study of the Armenian Epic (July 2016, Wipf and Stock)
Before joining the philosophy faculty as a tenured full professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1969 where he taught until his retirement in 1994, Professor Khatchadourian taught at Melkonian Educational Institute in Nicosia, Cyprus (1950–51), at Haigazian College (now University) in Beirut (1951–52), and he was a professor of philosophy at the American University of Beirut, where he taught for fifteen years, culminating in his promotion to full professorship in 1967–68. During 1967–68, he was a visiting professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. In 1968–69, he taught at the University of Southern California, and from 1969 on, he taught at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee as a tenured full professor. In 1976–77, he was a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (Semester II) and was distinguished visiting professor at the University of New Mexico–Albuquerque in 1978–79.
Professor Khatchadourian’s areas of specialization were aesthetics and philosophy of the arts; normative ethics, including feminist and environmental ethics and political ethics (ethics of terrorism, revolution, war, and peace); value theory; philosophy of language; contemporary analytical philosophy, and social philosophy. His areas of competence were metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of law, and history of modern philosophy.
Professor Khatchadourian’s selected honors and awards included Phi Beta Kappa, Graduate Division, Duke University (1956); J. Walker Tomb Prize, Princeton University (1958); Harvard International Seminar (June–July 1962); Prize, Essay Contest, Ararat (1964); Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh (1963–64); Outstanding Educators of America Award (1973); Senior Fellow, Center for Twentieth Century Studies, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (1975–76, Semester II); Charter Member, Phi Kappa Phi; Phi Beta Kappa-Eta Chapter; Liberal Arts Fellow in Philosophy and Law, Harvard Law School (1982–83); University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Alumni Association Award for Teaching Excellence (1987); Seminar on Postmodernism: A Philosophical Genealogy Readings in Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida, University of California, Riverside (June–August, 1994); Fellow, Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture, and Commerce (FRSA), England (1994–2016); Ernest Spaights Plaza Award, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (2005).
Memberships in learned societies included the American Philosophical Association; American Society for Aesthetics; Philosophy of Time Society; Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society; International Society for the Study of Argumentation; Armenian Academy of Philosophy; International Academy of Philosophy; Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia; and the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce.
At the time of his death, he was working diligently on two books: his autobiography, Leaves from My Life, Volume I, and a book on “World Tragedies: Drama.” Also, to use his own words, he has “reams and reams of writing” already completed that need to be published.
Haig Khatchadourian was an exemplary man who dedicated his life to peace, truth, and beauty. He was loved and admired by all who knew him.
- Sonia Khatchadourian, Department of English, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Professor Helen S. Lang died June 20, 2016, after a 15-month battle with brain cancer. Forced by illness to leave her beloved Philadelphia, Helen spent the end of her life in hospice care in New York, surrounded by family and friends. She is survived by two daughters and their families: Ariella Lang and Alexander Kornfeld and their children Nina, Lela, and Gabriel; and Jessica Lang and Joerg Riegel and their children Hannah, Leah, and David.
Helen was born February 19, 1947, in Urbana, IL, and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. After earning bachelor’s (1970) and master’s degrees (1971) at the University of Colorado, Helen completed her doctorate in philosophy at the University of Toronto in 1977. Her dissertation, supervised by Joseph Owens, was entitled “Aristotle and the Supreme Mover of the Physics.” In the course of her long and productive career, Helen taught at the University of Colorado, the University of Denver, SUNY Albany, the University of Pennsylvania, Trinity College, and Villanova University. Most of her career was spent at Trinity College, where she was honored as the inaugural holder of the Alfred J. Koeppel Chair in Classical Studies, and at Villanova University, where she chaired the philosophy department from 2002 to 2005. As a researcher, Helen was a fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT and at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Her work was also recognized in major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation.
By all standards Helen’s research project was impressive. Her specializations were ancient Greek philosophy, and science and medieval and Renaissance thought. (She also described herself as competent in the history of medieval science, but what she considered a competency most of us would consider a specialization.) Helen published two groundbreaking books on Aristotelian natural philosophy, Aristotle’s Physics and Its Medieval Varieties (SUNY Press, 1992) and The Order of Nature in Aristotle’s Physics (Cambridge University Press, 1998). Together with A. D. Macro, she published an edition and translation of Proclus’s De Aeternitate Mundi (University of California Press, 2001). Helen published more than three dozen articles, wrote dozens of scholarly book reviews, and gave scores of lectures.
At a time when many philosophers were reading Greek philosophy as a source to be mined for responses to contemporary philosophical problems and unearthing these lost riches with the tools of contemporary analytic philosophy, Helen championed a combination of philosophical rigor and historical sensitivity. Ancient thinkers were to be understood and appreciated on their own terms even if there was no philosophical coin to be made with respect to some current problem. The task of the reader of ancient texts was principally to submerge oneself into their world. Thus when her peers were reading Aristotle’s logic, psychology, or metaphysics with an eye to contemporary philosophical issues, Helen was reading texts in ancient science, particularly physics, and seeing the world through its lens.
Helen loved ancient Greek as a language, and her fascination with ancient physics put her at the very forefront of the wave of interest in the late Greek Commentators on Aristotle. At the time of her death, Helen was developing a new study of the concept of body in Plato and Aristotle. Two essays, “Plato on Divine Art and the Production of Body,” (in B. Holmes and D.-K. Fischer, ed. The Frontiers of Ancient Science: Essays in Honor of Heinrich von Staden [De Gruyter, 2015]) and “Embodied or Ensouled? Aristotle on the Relation of Soul and Body,” (in J. E. H. Smith, ed. Embodiment [Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2017], show the preliminary results of her research.
Helen’s work has been an inspiration to students and colleagues. Excellence was always her motto. She was a passionate, generous teacher and mentor, always eager to talk philosophy and always a source of encouragement, constructive criticism, and intellectual energy. She believed in philosophy as a democratic endeavor and wanted to hear a good idea or a good question from anyone who had one. Helen was deeply committed to nurturing the work of younger scholars; those of us whose manuscripts and proposals have been through the “Lang Treatment” are forever in her debt. Helen was also deeply committed to improving the academy for women and members of other underrepresented groups.
Outside the academy, Helen was a gifted pianist who took great pleasure in the Philadelphia music scene. She was immensely hospitable and a gourmet cook; her dinners are legendary among her friends. She particularly loved to host her daughters and their families at home in Philadelphia. “Camp Gram” was a yearly treat for all of the grandchildren. Helen had a gift for friendship, was quick with a laugh, and was always up for adventure. She was also a generous donor to many charities, foremost among them the Southern Poverty Law Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Congregation Darkhei Noam. Helen’s combination of brilliance, warmth, and joie de vivre is profoundly missed by her colleagues, friends, and family.
- Julie Klein, Villanova University
- Jon McGinnis, University of Missouri–St. Louis
Thomas Anthony Losoncy was born January 17, 1939, and passed away on June 12, 2016. He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1961 from Sacred Heart College in Detroit, his master of arts degree in 1963 from the University of Detroit, and his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of Toronto, writing on “The Nature of the Intellectual Soul in the Teachings of Giles of Rome.” Tom’s thesis supervisor was A. C. Pegis, and his advisor was A. A. Maurer. Tom began his career teaching philosophy at Villanova University in 1967, retiring in 2005 as associate professor. For 38 years, he was intent that freshmen receive the best possible introduction to philosophic thinking. In this way, he brought his love for the history of philosophy to thousands of students. In addition to philosophy students, Tom also taught students studying medicine, law, and religion.
A recognized and highly regarded scholar in the field of medieval philosophy, Tom Losoncy’s research focused on Saints Anselm and Augustine, but he also appreciated and taught courses in Greek philosophy, medieval philosophy, ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of human nature. An author and editor with more than 30 scholarly works in the field of medieval philosophy, Professor Losoncy delivered numerous papers on Saint Anselm at conferences held in the United States and Europe (including Italy, England, France, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Germany, and Hungary). Two of these papers he gave at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. He served on the International Saint Anselm Committee and was U.S. National secretary for the 5th International Saint Anselm Conference in 1985. Among his scholarly works may be found “St. Augustine,” in Ethics in the History of Western Philosophy (St. Martin's Press, 1989), 60–97; “The Soul-Body Problem in the Thirteenth Century: Countering the Trend Toward Dualism,” Studies in Medieval Culture XII (1978): 91–96; “St. Anselm’s Rejection of the ‘Ontological Argument’—A Review of the Occasion and Circumstances,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, LXIV(1990): 373–85; and “Plato’s Meno Argument for Recollection: Correct and Incorrect,” Methexis (Etudes Neoplatoniciennes Presenteees au Professeur Evanghelos A. Moutsopoulos) (Athenes: Centre International d'Etudes Platoniciennes et Aristoleciennes, 1992), 60–66.
In addition to his own scholarly work, Tom was a generous colleague and mentor. He is perhaps best remembered as the founder and principal organizer (for nearly three decades) of the annual International Conference on Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies held at Villanova University. Tom envisioned the PMR as a “working conference,” where scholars would roll up their sleeves and work through an idea with colleagues. He was especially dedicated to giving younger scholars a venue to present their work at the PMR conference.
Loving husband and father, Tom was also deeply involved in his church and his community. He played the organ and sang, contributed to parish leadership, and taught in the religious education programs. Tom was proud of his Hungarian heritage and, recalling the era when smoking was a common feature of faculty meetings, colleagues remember his affinity for cigars.
Professor Thomas Losoncy’s love for the history of philosophy and dedication to passing that love on to others created an immense impact on both the world of philosophy and his local community.
- On behalf of the Department of Philosophy, Villanova University
Daniel D. Merrill died on March 13, 2016, after a brief hospitalization. The Oberlin community will greatly miss his wisdom and friendliness.
Dan was a central member of the Oberlin Philosophy Department from 1962 until his retirement in 1998. He was a longtime professor of philosophy who also served as chair of the department from 1965–1968 and from 1982–1986. He published a number of articles on logic and the history of logic in leading journals as well as a book, Augustus De Morgan and the Logic of Relations. He also organized a large number of philosophical conferences, the Oberlin Colloquium in Philosophy, and edited the proceedings for publication.
Dan was born in South Bend, Indiana, in 1932, and attended Princeton University, where he majored in mathematics. In his senior year, he developed an interest in the philosophy of mathematics and logic. A young professor at Princeton, Hilary Putnam, encouraged him to continue his studies in philosophy, and he entered the graduate program at the University of Minnesota where he worked with Wilfred Sellars and Herbert Feigl. After completing his Ph.D. with a dissertation on The Theory of Logical Constants, he taught for three years at Knox College in Illinois before becoming an assistant professor at Oberlin College in Ohio in 1962. He was promoted to associate professor in 1967 and to professor in 1975. At Oberlin, Dan regularly taught courses in logic, philosophy of science, modern philosophy, philosophy of religion, and theory of knowledge.
Dan served as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1970–1973. He was a highly respected member of the Oberlin faculty who was regularly elected to the most important faculty committees. He had a well-deserved reputation for dealing with college issues in a rational, non-ideological way. Dan would patiently listen to opposing viewpoints and form his positions on the basis of the available evidence. He was a paragon of reasonable thinking in that he was willing to change his initial position if he was given sufficiently good reasons.
Dan’s major research interests were in logic, the history of logic, and the philosophy of science. His 1990 book, Augustus De Morgan and the Logic of Relations, concerned the development in the nineteenth century of a formal notation for expressing relations and of rules for deriving consequences from statements about relations. From ancient times, geometrical reasoning was considered a paradigm of logical thinking, but until De Morgan developed a formal logic for relations, formal logic was unable to express geometrical reasoning. Dan’s book examines the history of De Morgan’s attempts to create a formal logic that can deal with these issues. He was awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies for research for this book.
Dan served on several committees of the American Philosophical Association: the Committee on the Status and Future of the Profession (1979–1982), the Central Division Nominating Committee (1970, 1984), and the Central Division Program Committee (1983).
Dan was a great colleague who was regularly available to discuss philosophical and college issues. I would sometimes stop by his office to talk, and he was always ready to contribute insights. After his retirement Dan continued to be interested in philosophical issues; he would attend the lectures of visiting speakers and raise interesting questions during discussion periods.
Dan is survived by his beloved wife, Marly, his son, Steve, and his daughter, Karen.
- Peter K. McInerney, Oberlin College
Myra E. Moss, emeritus professor of philosophy and government at Claremont McKenna College, died on July 26, 2016, at age 79. Her BA was from Pomona College and her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. She came to Claremont McKenna College (CMC) in 1975 (originally as an adjunct professor), was tenured in 1991 (she was at the time one of the few tenured women professors here), served as chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies from 1992 to 1995, and retired in 2007.
Myra was an expert in modern philosophy, with a special emphasis on Italian philosophy. At the height of her career, she was undoubtedly the top American expert in Italian philosophy, and was so recognized by Italian academics. She was the author and/or editor of several books and multiple essays in philosophical journals. Her edited works included The Philosophy of Jose Gaos (Rodopi, 1997). Her books included Benedetto Croce Reconsidered: Truth and Error in Theories of Art, Literature, and History (University Press of New England, 1987) and Mussolini’s Fascist Philosopher: Giovanni Gentile Reconsidered (Peter Lang, 2005). Two of her most cited essays are “Enduring Values in the Philosophy of Benedetto Croce,” Idealistic Studies 10, no. 1 (1980): 46–66, and “Croce and Collingwood: Philosophy and History,” in The Legacy of Benedetto Croce: Contemporary Critical Views, ed. Verdicchio, Trafton, and D’Amico (University of Toronto Press, 1999).
Myra was a committed teacher, dedicated to her craft; her students frequently commented on how much real learning went on in her class. For several years she taught seminars in philosophy for selected CMC first-year students. Later in her career she was known for courses in fascism and theories of history. She was also an excellent colleague and citizen of CMC.
On a personal level, it should be noted that in her youth Myra was a highly accomplished, near-Olympic level equestrian, and her love of horses continued throughout her life. She was married to Dr. Andrew Rolle, Robert Glass Cleland Professor of American History at Occidental College, for many years.
- Department of Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College
Malcolm Barry Estes Smith died on August 15, 2016, at home in Northampton, Massachusetts. Barry came to Smith College, where he would spend his career, in 1967 from Cornell University. He completed the Ph.D. in 1969 with a dissertation entitled “A Critical Study of the Emotive Theory of Ethics.” Anyone who knew Barry Smith and his philosophical work—he was a staunch ethical intuitionist—is very sure that any study he would do of the emotive theory (or anything like it) would indeed be critical. A tenacious philosopher of strong, and strongly held, views, Barry's interest in his subjects was always more than academic. Over the years he staked out a variety of positions in ethics and the philosophy of law which he regarded, and I suspect all of his readers and colleagues would agree, as of import to our individual and community lives.
For the most part Barry taught courses in ethics and legal theory at Smith (and occasionally at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he mentored several graduate students). He was also fond of teaching the survey courses in the history of philosophy. His students remember him as demanding—a teacher of high standards—but also fair. He especially enjoyed team-teaching and the opportunity it gave for friendly debate in the classroom.
Like any good philosopher (but perhaps more than most), Barry was a study in contrasts. Born in the South (Houston, 1939), he spent most of his life in New England. He was an undergraduate at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), but there he studied not war, but English and philosophy. He saw several years of active duty with the army in the mid-1960s, including service in Viet Nam, and was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain. Perhaps in reaction to army life, he at one time wore his hair longer than anyone else in the philosophy department, and in his early years at Smith College his uniform was a white leather jacket with fringe. He became quite conservative in his political views, but on the other hand, his answering machine at one point greeted callers with his own version of the opening stanza of “The St. James Infirmary Blues.” A fine guitarist, he was equally talented with another stringed instrument, the tennis racquet. Perhaps the most telling contrast in his life was between his deep love for the law—which led him, in mid-career, to law school at Berkeley followed by a half-time legal practice in Northampton—and his equally deep-seated conviction that we are under no moral obligation to obey that same law. The motley nature of these characteristics—perhaps evidence of a libertarian streak—made Barry a fascinating and endearing colleague, one moreover who never let political or philosophical differences interfere with friendship.
Barry produced, under the name M. B. E. Smith, a string of challenging philosophical articles of admirably high quality. These pieces were published in a variety of well-regarded philosophical and legal journals. His widely cited essay “Is There a Prima Facie Obligation to Obey the Law?” first appeared in the Yale Law Journal in 1975 and continues to be included in anthologies in law and philosophy. Barry's penchant for engaging colleagues in provocative discussion is echoed in the titles of some of his essays: “Should Lawyers listen to Philosophers about Legal Ethics?” (Law and Philosophy, 1990: an intriguing question, given his own dual career, but his answer was a resolute No); “Do Appellate Courts Regularly Cheat?” (Here he replied, roughly: “yes, and rightly so”) and—a favorite—“Can a Lawyer Be Happy?” (Criminal Justice Ethics, 2000). Barry retired from Smith College after 35 years in 2002.
As a kind of capstone to a lifetime of thought about moral theory, Barry published in 2010 an essay he had worked on for many years: “Does Humanity Share a Common Moral Faculty?” (Journal of Moral Philosophy). His argument for “commonalism”—a view which he attributed to such diverse thinkers as Aquinas, Hume and W. D. Ross, among others—supports the conclusion that “normative theory’s task is not to revise, but rather to discern and explain the shared moral conception that we all apply in our ordinary moral lives. . . . Far better than relativism, scepticism or elitism, commonalism explains how reflective persons of good will, but of different languages and cultures, can intelligibly debate with one another over moral and political issues, and how they often find substantial ground for agreement. Commonalism also offers a secure moral foundation for human rights and democracy: if all humanity shares a moral conception and so the capacity for attaining moral knowledge, there plainly can be no good moral reason for reserving political advantages and opportunities to only a portion of it.” On this important issue Barry was a convinced egalitarian.
Admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1985, Barry continued his solo practice in Northampton until 2011. A man of admirable community commitment who performed copious pro bono legal work, he was proud to have “a good reputation up at the county jail.” There are not many philosophers of whom that sort of thing could be said. He also did more than his share of community service on boards and panels, both locally and in the wider philosophical profession.
To return to his question “Can a Lawyer Be Happy?” Barry was responding to a skeptical book of that title by William H. Simon. To judge by his own life and work, the answer is a clear “yes.” Barry often credited his wife, Patricia Sweetser, his sons, Malcolm and Eric, and the rest of his family for much of his own happiness, of which he also said it was more than he deserved. Reminded, when his own death was imminent, of Kant’s “practical postulate of immortality,” Barry was typically philosophical. As a confirmed but open-minded agnostic, he said he did not know if there is an afterlife, but (ever the defense attorney), he added that if he were to face judgment, he thought he could plead that he had lived a good life. His family, friends, and colleagues would surely want to file amicus briefs on his behalf: he did indeed lead a good life, and he shared it generously with the rest of us.
- John M. Connolly, Sophia Smith Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Smith College
Bill Stine was born to a Lutheran minister in Allentown, PA, on March 29, 1936. He attended Haverford College and won a Fulbright Scholarship to Göttingen University and a Rockefeller Brothers Theological Fellowship to Harvard Divinity School. But apparently philosophy was Bill’s calling, for he earned a Ph.D. from the Harvard philosophy department in 1969.
While at Harvard Bill met and married Gail Caldwell, a fellow graduate student, and both took positions at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan; Bill had previously taught at Williams College. Sadly, Gail died young (the Wayne State department annually holds a Gail Stine Memorial Lecture).
Bill later married Marcy Chanteaux, now cellist emeritus in the Detroit Symphony, who survives him. Bill and Marcy loved opera and frequently visited the opera capitals of Europe. A high point was visiting the Wagner opera mecca, Bayreuth, to hear seven Wagner operas in 2010.
Bill’s philosophical interests were primarily early modern philosophy, especially Kant, and Dewey’s pragmatism. He published, among other papers, “Dewey’s Theory of Knowledge” in The Monist (1973), “Transcendental Arguments” in Metaphilosophy (1972), and “Self-Consciousness in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason” in Philosophical Studies (1975).
Mostly Bill gave yeoman service to Wayne State. He served as chair of the philosophy department, directed the undergraduate honors program, chaired the humanities council, was occasional academic representative to the board of governors, and was elected to academic senate. He directed two doctoral dissertations and served on many doctoral committees.
Bill was old school, both in dress and demeanor. He wore a bow tie every day. His lectures used long, formal, perfectly grammatical sentences. He would not have been out of place in a nineteenth century philosophy department. But he served both undergraduates and graduates well and was a devoted friend to many (including the present writer).
- Robert Yanal, Professor Emeritus, Wayne State University
I write with great sadness to inform you that professor of philosophy James “Jim” Stramel passed away on Thursday, March 17, from complications caused by leukemia. He was fifty-six. This is a huge loss for Santa Monica College, as Jim was known—by colleagues and students alike—as “one-of-a-kind” and “impossible to replace.” He began teaching philosophy at SMC as a part-time faculty member in August 1992 and was hired as a full-time faculty member in August 1999.
Jim was born in Kansas on April 5, 1960. He was raised by his mother, Dorothy Miller. He often joked about the fact that he was from Kansas and his mother’s name was Dorothy.
“I was so proud of him—for a man raised without his father, Jim did pretty darn well,” Dorothy said. “Even at three years old, he knew he was going someplace, he was just amazing.” A year and a half ago, Jim’s mother—then recently widowed—moved to Southern California to live with Jim in his newly purchased house, something he thought he would never have. She recalls how he would get down on his hands and knees to tend to the beautiful yard he designed. “There wasn’t a weed in this place!” she said.
His mother and colleagues remember Jim as a great teacher and someone who cared deeply about his students. Jim attended the University of Kansas and later obtained his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Southern California. His area of specialization was ethics, and his dissertation was titled Gay Virtue: The Ethics of Disclosure.
He was a proponent of virtue ethics, which originated with Aristotle. He was an atheist, but he argued tirelessly that ethics does not require religion. He believed that humans have the capacities necessary to live well together, especially through the use of critical thinking and care for others.
“He taught these things with skill, good humor, and great success,” remembers philosophy professor Amber Katherine. She co-taught a class with Jim on the philosophy behind Star Trek, which was publicized in a Los Angeles Times article. “He taught by example, striving to live by the highest ethical ideals.”
Political science professor Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein remembers visiting Jim in the hospital a week before he passed away. Jim was concerned about missing his classes and not being able to serve on the department’s faculty hiring committee. He shared with Richard that he never knew someone could love him as much as his boyfriend, Mark, and that he felt “blessed.” Richard also recalls how Jim made sure the department benefitted from his green thumb, often bringing trees and plants for the department.
Jim served as faculty advisor to the student-run philosophy club many times. He served on the Academic Senate, chairing the Professional Ethics Committee for several years and contributing vastly to the development of SMC’s ethics statement.
Jim is survived by his mother, Dorothy Miller; and siblings, Richard, Jeffery, Janet, and Phyllis. At this time, there is no memorial or celebration of life planned. We will keep you informed of any future arrangements.
My deepest and heartfelt sympathies go out to Jim’s family, his colleagues, students, and friends. I know that Santa Monica College will never forget Jim, and that his contributions will forever be a part of what is best about this college and the world.
Note: The photos of Jim include his friends and colleagues Amber Katherine and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein.
- Kathryn E. Jeffery, Superintendent/President, Santa Monica College
On March 3, 2016, Joseph Norio Uemura “shufflel'd off this mortall coile.” As with Hamlet, this event must give us pause.
His remarkable life had two major aspects. The first is recorded in words and visual images in his autobiography published under the title The Insatiable Search for Truth [IST] (edited by Steve LeBeau, Autobiography, Inc., Saint Paul, Minnesota, 2015). His account of the experience of the Japanese-Americans who suffered so much and so unjustly in the twentieth century sears the conscience and the consciousness of all who are truthfully following the events related to the 2016 presidential election process. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Roosevelt called for the evacuation of all Japanese people from the West Coast. Maye Mitsuye Oye (who became Joe’s wife in 1949) and her family were sent to Tule Lake, an internment camp in northern California. Although both Joe and Maye were born in Oregon, often they were not treated as full and equal citizens of the United States. Joe’s father was a Methodist minister first on the West Coast and then in Colorado where the entire Uemura family became a central part of the Japanese-American spiritual community. Joe recalls “our Kristallnacht”—the smashing of most of the stained glass windows of his father’s church—the Japanese Methodist Episcopal Church in Denver, which took place shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In the midst of disturbing recent political events, I asked Joe whether it has ever been this bad. He said, “It has always been this bad.” After graduating from University of Denver, Joe studied theology at Iliff School of Theology and became an ordained minister of the Methodist Church.
In 2000 Maye died from complications related to a fall. At a meeting of the library committee of the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church on September 11, 2001, he met Nancy Whiteside, whom he married in that same church three years later. Joe himself performed several marriages, including some of his students and even his daughter, Charissa, who married Kristin Turnblom in 2013 when same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota. The beloved community expanded over several decades as his children matured. His son, Wesley, became a professor of Japanese history; he married Makiko Sasaki from Japan and then adopted Melina Mei, who was born in China.
The second aspect spawned his career as a professor of philosophy and a mentor to dozens of us who were fortunate to be his students. Although he had earned a master’s degree and completed the coursework for a doctorate in theology, he received a fellowship from Iliff that would pay tuition at any major graduate school, allowing him to switch to philosophy, the subject matter he really preferred. He began his graduate work at Colombia University in the early 1950s when the influence of John Dewey was still strong and John Herman Randall Jr. was a major force in the department. At that time Naturalism was popular at Columbia, but it was the ancient Greeks who became central to Joe, who preferred to call himself a “Greek Naturalist.” Randall helped him reconsider the way Plato had been interpreted and set him on the Platonic path he never left. In his book Reflections on the Mind of Plato: Six Dialogues (Agora Publications, 2004), Joe summarized his approach to Plato who, he insisted, was not a Platonist: “I have made four principles as obvious as I can: (1) putting aside ‘Platonism,’ (2) attending to the ‘Method’ of the subject of the dialogue itself, not some spurious ‘Socratic method,’ (3) attending to the argument of the dialogue itself, and (4) allowing the Platonic ‘conclusion’ to speak for itself. So, what indeed was Plato if he was not a Platonist? He was first and foremost a searcher after the ‘natural integrity’ of all things, an ontologist, and a philosopher par excellence.”
His teaching career at Westminster College, Morningside College, and Hamline University extended from 1953 to 1993. In his final years at Hamline, he was appointed to the Hanna Chair of Philosophy. In retrospect, he said that he had probably picked the right time to retire because of the widespread trend in colleges to, as he put it, become vocational schools rather than focusing on the “useless liberal arts.” He also realized that he was “losing the war in his fight to preserve the classical ideal of philosophy.” Contrary to his gentle demeanor and the disarming laugh that accompanied his most cutting remarks, Joe never hid his true opinion. “The trend toward diversity and multicultural perspectives is very important and laudable, for I as much as anyone understand the right of each person to be respected regardless of gender or ethnicity. However, I don’t think the resulting ideas of this movement happen to be philosophy” (IST, 158). That is the same tough-minded kind of critique that prevailed in his classrooms and in the hundreds of letters and conversations with his former students that took place after their graduation. He continued to meet us at the APA (which he attended almost every year from the time he began teaching). We embraced those annual exchanges even though we knew his evaluation of our intellectual and professional choices and decisions might be devastating.
It would be difficult to find a philosophy professor anywhere with as many former students who have continued their education by doing graduate work in philosophy. In the appendix to The Insatiable Search for Truth, more than 100 such students are listed; several of them have subsequently earned a Ph.D. in philosophy and have held tenured positions. When asked about the importance of publishing, Joe used to say that he planned to “publish posthumously.” At first I took that as a joke, but then I began to realize that his real legacy is to be found in the souls of his former students, his friends, and his true colleagues. Socrates never published a word, but the influence of his “soul-tending” has remained for almost twenty-five centuries.
- Albert A. Anderson, Babson College
Professor Jiyuan Yu, born in Zhuji, Zhejiang, China, on July 5, 1964, passed away November 3, 2016, in Buffalo, New York, after a lengthy struggle with cancer. He was 52. Yu had been a member of the Philosophy Department of the University at Buffalo (SUNY) since 1997, and director of the UB Confucius Institute since 2013. He had an international reputation for his work in ancient Greek philosophy, classical Chinese philosophy, and comparative philosophy. Yu is survived by his wife Yajie Zhang, son Norman Yu, mother Youqing Zhao, and three brothers.
Entering academics early, Yu was admitted to the highly competitive Shandong University in 1979 at the age of 15. According to Yu, his high school instructors decided he should study philosophy, though at the time he knew little of the field. While at Shandong, however, he discovered his calling, winning an award during his senior year for an essay on Plato. From 1983 to 1986 he worked towards a master’s degree at Renmin University in China, studying with the scholar of Greek philosophy MIAO Litian. From 1986 to 1989 he stayed on at the RUC Department of Western Philosophy, serving as both graduate student and professor. Yu continued his studies abroad at Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa in Italy before receiving his doctorate from University of Guelph in Canada in 1994. From 1994 to 1997 he conducted post-doctoral research at Oxford University in the UK as a member of Wolfson College and the Institute for Chinese Studies.
During his time at UB, Yu rose to the rank of full professor and was awarded both SUNY’s Exceptional Scholar Award and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Yu remained with the UB philosophy department until his passing, drawn by the intellectual freedom afforded by his position and UB’s collaborative atmosphere, resulting in many fruitful joint projects with SUNY faculty. Yu’s inclination towards collaboration is perhaps best evidenced by his role as UB’s Confucius Studies director, where he was greatly successful in achieving the institute’s aim of building a cultural bridge between China and the Western New York Region. He also served as president of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy and held a visiting post as Changjiang Professor at Shandong University in Jinan, China.
Throughout his academic life, Yu was an indefatigable scholar, publishing 10 books and 74 articles. While his early-career work focused mainly on ancient Greek philosophy, his later work attempted to juxtapose texts from the ancient Greek and classical Chinese traditions, with the goal of gaining new insights from comparative study. His scholarship frequently triangulated insights from Greek and Chinese texts with contemporary philosophy as practiced in the English-speaking world, and combined a deep familiarity with technical aspects of classical texts with an emphasis on the richness of the philosophy they contained. Yu’s books written in English include The Ethics of Confucius and Aristotle: Mirrors of Virtue (2009); The Structure of Being in Aristotle’s Metaphysics (2003); The Blackwell Dictionary of Philosophy (co-authored with Nick Bunnin, 2004); and A Dictionary of Western Philosophy (co-authored with Nick Bunnin, 2001). His books in Chinese include Aristotle’s Ethics《亚里士多德伦理学》(2011); Plato’s Republic《〈理想国〉讲演录》(2009); and Plato and Aristotle《柏拉图》,《亚里士多德》(co-authored with Shizhang Tian, 1992). Yu also worked with MIAO Litian on a Chinese translation of the complete works of Aristotle, providing one of the first Chinese translations of Aristotle’s Prior Analytics and Posterior Analytics《工具论》(1991); he also translated Gadamer’s Dialogue and Dialectic《伽达默尔论柏拉图》(1991). His prodigious output and creativity will no doubt prove of lasting importance in discussions of Ancient Greek, Chinese, and Comparative philosophy.
In addition to his prolific research achievements, Yu was an inspiring and popular instructor at UB, drawing students regardless of discipline with his uplifting attitude and effortless ability to make philosophical topics compelling and relevant to their daily lives. Yu’s courses often emphasized thinking critically about human flourishing, providing a format in which he could guide students on a path of self-discovery through works of philosophy. His love for ancient philosophy inspired two decades of students at UB, and a number of his former Ph.D. students continue his work in the research and teaching of Greek and Chinese philosophy at universities around the world. At the time of his death, he was working on a project that would bring together Daoism, Stoicism, and disease, focusing on the practical appeal of both philosophies for dealing with trauma. “What is important,” Yu would tell his students in summary of the ancient ideal, “is not to live, but to live well, and to live well means to live happily.”
Professor Yu will be missed by all those who have had the pleasure of his company. A memorial service will be held at the University at Buffalo at a later date.
- Neil E. Williams, University at Buffalo
- John Beverley, University at Buffalo
Joseph Jay Zeman, a logician and specialist in the thought of Charles S. Pierce, passed away on September 8, 2016, after a struggle with Cortico-Basal Degeneration. He is survived by his wife, Norma Beckwith-Zeman, siblings, Douglas Zeman and Judith Sarna, several children and stepchildren (Carolyn Zeman, Jay Michael Zeman, Edwin Ronsani, Cynthia Ronsani, Amy Ronsani), and several grandchildren and step-grandchildren.
Zeman was born on July 15, 1934, in Chicago and attended the Jesuit school of St. Ignatius High School. He was later educated at the University of Illinois, Xavier University, Loyola University, and the University of Chicago. In addition to his education in philosophy, he earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering and studied classics while at Xavier. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1964, completing a dissertation on C. S. Pierce under the direction of Lars Svenonius.
Upon completion of the Ph.D., Zeman joined the U.S. Army, working on digital computer system analysis and design from 1964 through 1966. After a brief period teaching at the University of Maryland, he joined the University of Florida as an assistant professor in 1966, where his teaching and research encompassed symbolic logic, modal and quantum logic, moral philosophy, pragmatism, semiotics, and philosophy and psychotherapy. He was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 1970 and promoted to professor in 1973. He remained at Florida until his retirement in 1994, a career of nearly 30 years, twice serving as acting chair of the department. During his retirement he married his second wife, Norma Beckwith, in 1999, and remained active in research up through the mid-2000s, including a presentation at the International Conference on Conceptual Structures in 2004.
Zeman's major interests throughout his career were on the ideas of Charles S. Peirce and formal logic. His book Modal Logic: The Lewis-Modal Systems was published by Oxford’s Clarendon Press in 1973. A review of the book by the eminent logician M. J. Creswell praised it for providing semantic models for the older modal systems S1o and S1 and concluded that the book “certainly has a place on the shelf of anyone with a more than cursory interest in modal logic” (Journal of Symbolic Logic 42: 581, 1977). Zeman was a contributing editor for the multivolume Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition (Indiana University Press, 1993) and published many papers in the Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, the Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, and the Journal of Symbolic Logic.
Some of Zeman's unpublished work is available online at philpapers.org, including a paper on Pierce’s theory of signs and a paper investigating Gestalt Therapy techniques in relation to the pragmatist thought of both Peirce and John Dewey. Zeman in fact was trained in such therapeutic techniques in 1975 and was, from 1983, on the staff of the Gainesville Gestalt Center.
One topic of enduring interest was the idea of “existential graphs” proposed and developed to a degree by Peirce; such graphs provided a system of notation intended to provide a more illuminating method of capturing deductive reasoning. Zeman developed a software application (“the Graphs”) for working with this system on digital computers; this can be found online at existentialgraphs.com. His work on existential graphs has been recognized by the international “Conceptual Structures” community, a group of scholars influenced by Peircean logic and focused on cognitive science and semantic network analyses (see conceptualstructures.org). Members of that community are currently working on plans to archive Zeman’s work and ensure that it lives on, making it available online for generations of future researchers.
- On behalf of the Department of Philosophy, University of Florida