Thursday, April 10, 2014

Anthony Brueckner (1953 - 2014)

Philosopher Tony Brueckner of UC Santa Barbara died this week.  Tony was a professor of mine when I was in graduate school, and served on my dissertation committee.  I remember him as an excellent teacher, a formidable philosopher, and a nice guy with a droll sense of humor.  I recall a phony pop quiz he handed out in class one day.  The first multiple-choice question read: “What is your name? (A) Bruce, (B) other.”  After a reference he once made to the tune in a comment in the margins of a term paper of mine, I can never listen to Steely Dan’s “The Fez” without thinking of Tony.

Tony was a philosopher’s philosopher, and his work was largely devoted to a rigorous investigation of the philosophical issues surrounding Cartesian skepticism.  No one seriously interested in that topic can avoid grappling with Tony’s work on it, most of which is collected in his book Essays on Skepticism.  Related issues are pursued in Debating Self-Knowledge, co-written with Gary Ebbs.

By all accounts (such as this one) he was a kind man.  R.I.P.