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In Memoriam: Fred Dretske (1932-2013)

Jul 26 2013

It is with great sadness that the Department notes the passing of our friend and colleague Fred Dretske (1932-2013), on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Fred arrived at Stanford from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in 1990, and taught with us full time until 1998, when he retired as the Bella and Eloise Mabury Knapp Professor of Philosophy. During the 1990s, Fred had a decisive impact on the intellectual life of our community.

Here at Stanford, he did much of the work that led to his Naturalizing the Mind (1995) and to many of the papers inPerception, Knowledge, and Belief (2000); that work, along with his dedicated mentorship, inspired a generation of our graduate students. In our communal life, he brought his inimitable combination of down-to-earth style and devastatingly incisive philosophical insight into exchanges with colleagues across the department and the university. In addition, he brought wise counsel to the leadership of our Department as Chair in the mid-1990s. After his retirement, Fred remained engaged with many of his Stanford colleagues and students, even as he worked as a Senior Research Scholar in the Philosophy Department at Duke. Fred Dretske will be sorely missed in the Stanford philosophical community.