Monday, January 11, 2021

Margaret Morrison (1954-2021)

 I see from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto that Margie Morrison has died. She was a very charming person, capable of both extremely rigorous analysis and lightly playful humor. I didn't know her extremely well; as a graduate student, I co-instructed an Intro course with her and talked with her a number of times. (I don't remember details at this distance, but I think there was a scheduling error that led to me being brought in to help cover it over; I did a history-survey portion of the course as a sort of preparation for her more problem-focused component.) When a philosopher dies, you always wish you had vivid memory of deep philosophical discussions with them, but in reality you mostly remember small, pleasant conversations about not much. In my case, I mostly remember talking to her about Anselm (she liked Anselm, not so much for the content as for his logical focus, how he put arguments together) and about her car (which she liked having, but with Toronto's public transportation rarely drove, and then mostly to make sure it was still working). Such are most of our memorable human connections, I suppose: light touches that you don't forget, in which the importance is less the content than the people themselves. 

Her published work, in philosophy of science, was always excellent and thought-provoking, and the profession is the less for the loss of her.