09 January 2007

Remembering P. F. Strawson

The great Peter Strawson (my teacher's teacher) died last year, but I missed this former student's letter, published in the Guardian not long afterwards ...

Thursday March 9, 2006
The Guardian

While I was a philosophy student of Sir Peter Strawson at University College, Oxford, in summer 1965, my father died. I had a tutorial with Professor Strawson at which I was due to deliver an essay the day before the funeral. Unable to write anything, I went to apologise. I have never forgotten his response: "To think that you should be worried about writing an essay at such a time. Philosophy is just a game played by clever people to avoid having to get their knees brown.
" We spent the rest of the hour talking about coming to terms with my loss. That was true humanity.
(Jeremey Hein)

Although I was fortunate enough to share quite a few meals and conversations with him while at Univ, I never knew Professor Strawson well. But from all that I've gathered from those who knew him better than I, such humanity was no less characteristic than was his acumen.

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