Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Peter Geach (1916 - 2013)


Commonweal reports that Peter Geach -- philosopher, one of the fathers of “analytical Thomism,” husband of Elizabeth Anscombe (with whom he is pictured in a famous photo by Steve Pyke), and Catholic father of seven -- has died.  A list of some of Geach’s publications can be found at Wikipedia.  I had reason to examine some of Geach’s ideas in a recent post. RIP.

18 comments:

Scott said...

I just read the news this morning on Bill Vallicella's site. R.I.P.

Bobcat said...

Does anyone think that there are any youngish (60 years old or younger -- so, no MacIntyre, and no Charles Taylor) Catholic philosophers alive today that are about as good at philosophy as Geach was?

Timotheos said...

How about David Oderberg? (He’s 50)

And there’s also a certain Catholic philosopher that runs around these parts that could qualify…


I’m talking to you Brandon! :-)

Anonymous said...

Geach and Anscombe was people (actually their writings) which bring me strength my Christian faith. I will pray for him.

There are not many top-notch philosophers like Geach not only among Roman Catholics but also among secularists of different kinds and theists. Geach was among leading analytic philosophers in Golden Age and I hope that this generation of philosophers will produce such great works.

Bobcat said...

I thought Oderberg was Orthodox.

Anonymous said...

Oderberg is 50! My goodness, the man has youthful vigor.

There were a lot of great Catholic philosophers in the 20th c. (Geach, Anscombe, Wojtyla, Dummett, Stein, both von Hildebrands)

However most were phenomenologists or analytic philosophers. I'm excited about this revival of Thomism. Pruss, Oderberg, Feser, the faculty at TAC. Could be a good thing, no?

- Curio

Anonymous said...

Memory Eternal!

Sivert Ellingsen said...

@Bobcat: I'd nominate Alex Pruss (with the major caveat that I've only read his blog, not any books or peer-reviewed articles). That man is scary smart.

Scott said...

I've also read his book on the PSR and I concur.

Scott said...

(This one, I mean, although I expect that's obvious to most here.)

Anonymous said...

Jean-Luc Marion?

Timotheos said...

I’m not that big of a fan of Pruss; I think he’s way too sporadic of a writer. I won’t deny that he very intelligent and knowledgeable though.

One thing that I thought was a weakness of his book was that he didn’t include an indirect proof of the PSR by reductio ad absurdum. This was standard in all of the early 20th century scholastic textbooks and, given his Thomistic commitments, would seem to be the sort of argument he would want to explore.

In fact, even though he wrote a whole section on how the PSR might be self-evident, and he thinks it is himself, as far as I can tell, he never even mentions that such a proof might be possible. The way he spoke, it seemed like that admitting that the PSR is self-evident would entail that one could prove it in no way, or that such an attempt at a proof would be counter-productive.

But then, I’m having trouble seeing how we could ever doubt the truth of any finding (or at least most) in mathematics, since they are at least usually self-evident in the required sense.

Brandon said...

Anscombe was always the better philosopher, but Geach certainly has strengths of his own. I liked his collection of essays, Truth and Hope, although there are significant portions with which I disagree.

On Bobcat's question, I think Catholic philosophers today have a tendency to be either too narrow or insufficiently rigorous to quite compare with Geach. But it could be that Catholic philosophy -- which, since the genuinely Catholic must be be genuinely catholic, has to touch on a lot of things -- just takes time to develop properly.

Anonymous,

Marion would otherwise be an excellent candidate (and should be more widely read among Catholic philosophers of any stripe), but he's over 60 -- he was born in 1946.

Anonymous said...

Brandon,

Thanks, didn't realize he was that old. I'm actually not that familiar with him, but know that he is respected in some circles. Any advice on where to start with him?

Brandon said...

In general I would say it's probably best with Marion to go more or less in order; *God Without Being* and *Cartesian Questions* are both quite good, as long as you remember that they are early works and he has modified and refined details since.

Anonymous said...

What's with all the recent Thomistic/Catholic philosophers living into their 90's anyways? Gilson, Maritain, Adler, Pieper, Geach, Norris Clarke, Benedict Ashley, William Wallace, et al. Must be good for you.

Feser, you got a few more decades of this in you apparently.

BenYachov said...

Dr. Feser? Anybody? Brandon?

Come on I have been good & I haven't gotten pissed at dguller so far.

I want to know what it is here thinks is the contradiction here?

Anonymous said...

A certain Edward Feser gets to the point faster and the ideas are set more precisely and clearly than any other philosopher these days, with exception to Joseph Ratzinger, in my opinion. I really wish Dr. Feser would write his version of Adler's Ten Philosophical Mistakes. ~ Mark