[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 
than I. 

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. 


STeve Bayne 
www .hist-analytic.org 
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