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Bob Hale RIP (1945-2017)

Sad news. The philosopher Bob Hale has died. He had been a British Academy Research Reader (1997-9), was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (elected 2000), was President of the Aristotelian Society in 2002-3, and a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow (2009-11). He became an emeritus professor at Sheffield University in 2011.

Much of his work was in the philosophy of mathematics. During a long and continuing collaboration with Crispin Wright, he defended an approach to the foundations of mathematics inspired by Frege, combining a deflationary version of platonism with a form of logicism, according to which mathematical knowledge can be grounded in logical knowledge together with definitions of fundamental concepts. His research as British Academy Reader was mainly in this area, one product of it being the first published neo-Fregean construction of the real numbers. His other main research interest was in the metaphysics and epistemology of modality – the theory of necessity and possibility and related notions.

His published work includes ‘Abstract Objects‘ (Blackwells 1987), ‘The Blackwell Companion to the Philosophy of Language‘ (1997, co-edited with Crispin Wright) and ‘The Reason’s Proper Study: Essays towards a Neo-Fregean Philosophy of Mathematics (OUP 2001, jointly written with Crispin Wright), together with numerous articles in journals and edited collections. His most recent book – ‘Necessary Beings: an Essay on Ontology, Modality, and the relations between them’ (Oxford 2013) – was largely written during his recent Leverhulme Fellowship.

His 3:AM interview is here, and is one of the best we’ve done.

First posted: Saturday, December 16th, 2017.

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  1. […] he was Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.  There is an informative memorial notice at 3AM.  I will add links to others as they […]