[hist-analytic] The Death of Myles Brand
Baynesr at comcast.net
Baynesr at comcast.net
Fri Nov 27 16:40:38 EST 2009
I just found out something many of you, probably, know already:
Myles Brand died of pancreatic cancer, Sept. 16, 2009. Here is
an obit by his wife, Dr. Peg Brand:
http :// www . iu . edu /brand/obituary. shtml
Myles was interested in the theory of action. Although he authored
a number of works, his anthology _The Nature of Human Action_ .
Scott, Foreman and Co. 1970 had a great influence on my own
work and that of others.
I first saw Brand at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Circle in the late sixties. In the area of action theory it was
one of the best departments in the world. It was a subject,
completely, alien to my positivist upbringing. When he rose to
speak at one of those scheduled talks that many departments
have one afternoon. I took note that he wore bell bottoms and
was a pretty "hip" guy. This resonated with me at the time
inasmuch as I was, and remain, something of a child of the
sixties. His lecture was interesting but the ideas were new to
me. I went back to other stuff.
One day someone suggested that I write a book on Anscombe .
I'll mention that person when permission "clears." I recalled
Brand's lecture and the echoes that had quietly reverberated
in my mind over the years. After some work, it occurred to me
to contact Brand who by this time had been President of Indiana
U. and, later, President of the NCAA. I asked if he was "still
interested in philosophy."
He gave an affirmative and I invited him to subscribe to
Hist-Analytic and he DID! Rarely, but occasionally, at least,
he would email me. Once introducing me to a friend, also,
a current list member. I only recently learned of his passing.
I think this has affected me more than most deaths in philosophy.
One reason is that for the brief time I taught I preferred
teaching athletes. I got to know the "culture." Sometimes
these guys can put the heat on a teacher, even suggesting
legal action. I, always, resisted reacting to this sort of thing;
BUT I did take into account the fact that I was dealing with
some people interested in a career, the path of which was
somewhat defined already. So, I'd go a bit easy. This was a
mistake. Brand wouldn't have done this; Brand was a better man
Myles, I believe, thought first and foremost, not of the career
and the law, etc. He thought of the kids. Judging from the
revolution he brought in college athletics I think his guiding
star in times of doubt was to reflect on students, qua, students
and future citizens and the obligation of the university to
not let them down. He was faithful to that end to the very end.
I never met him; I never, really, got to know him but he was
a "Hist-Analytic guy," and I am proud of that. Before hearing
of his death, I had written a brief few sentences in my book
on its origins. I had hoped to send him a copy for his amusement,
perhaps.His demise suggests to me that this is no longer the
best of all possible worlds, even for Leibnizians . He will
be missed by those he served, many of whom will never know his
name. Good night Myles. You will be missed even by strangers.
(I know some of you knew him, whereas, I did not (in fact). Any
reflections would be warmly received.
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