Professor Emerita Anne Minas
Former member of the Department of Philosophy, Anne Minas, died late September 2015 at the age of 78.
Anne Minas made a lasting mark on the University of Waterloo with her endowment of the Humphrey Professorship in Feminist Philosophy. This professorship allows the department to bring distinguished feminist philosophers to the University of Waterloo for a term.
The Humphrey Professorship has of course been a benefit to the many Waterloo students who have had a chance to learn from the eminent scholars who have held it, to the scholars at Waterloo and nearby universities who have had a chance to interact with them, and to the people who got to see them in action at the public talks that are among the duties of the Humphrey Professor. Anita Superson, the most recent holder of the Professorship, says of the Philosophy and Women’s Studies students she encountered at Waterloo that “their enthusiasm goes unmatched,” and that she was struck that “my colleagues at the University of Waterloo showed me how feminist philosophy was not only welcome, but strongly encouraged in their department.”
Both personally and by endowing the Professorship, Anne Minas was part of a significant evolution in the Department. She was the first feminist philosopher in a department that now prides itself on having a range of excellent scholars doing specifically feminist work, and many others whose work is informed by and sympathetic to feminist scholarship. Thanks in part to her leadership and generosity in endowing the Humphrey Professorship, Waterloo’s Philosophy Department is now noted internationally for its excellent feminist philosophy. But Minas’s goals were larger. Christine Overall, the inaugural Humphrey Professor, describes the impact of the Humphrey professorship this way: “Dr. Minas had a deep commitment to supporting research and teaching in feminist philosophy. Her generosity in funding the Humphrey Professorship was a concrete expression of her dedication to ensuring that feminist philosophy would both survive and thrive in Canadian academia.”
Anne Minas completed her doctorate at Harvard in 1967. Her first job in Waterloo was at Wilfrid Laurier University, but she soon moved down the street to a post in the Waterloo Philosophy Department. She taught at Waterloo from 1966 until 2002. She published in various sub-disciplines in philosophy, including philosophy of language and philosophy of religion, but is best known for her work in feminist philosophy which included publications in venues such as Ethics (where, in 1977, she wrote on what was in those days quaintly called “reverse discrimination”).
Her main claim to fame as a scholar, though, is her important edited collection Gender Basics: Feminist Perspectives on Women and Men(Wadsworth, 1993, with a second edition from Wadsworth in 2000). This book became a standard introductory textbook in the field, and is still widely used.
Anita Superson remarked “Little did I know, two decades ago when I reviewed her anthology, Gender Basics, that I would have the pleasure and honor of holding the Humphrey Professorship in Feminist Philosophy which was endowed through Anne's generosity. I had reviewed her book very favorably, believing it to be the best of its kind on the market, and to this day I still cite articles from it.”
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Angus Kerr-Lawson
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Angus Kerr-Lawson died late June 2011 shortly after his daughters accepted the honour of Distinguished Professor Emeritus on his behalf at the spring convocation.
Professor Kerr-Lawson served with excellence as a faculty member in both Philosophy and Pure Mathematics at Waterloo for nearly 40 years from 1958 to 1996. He took on many crucial roles, serving as Department Chair (Mathematics), Senate Executive Committee, and the University Board of Governors.
Since Angus's retirement, his work in the field of American philosophy, always respected, has increasingly been recognized as foundational to aspects of the field. He was a distinguished, internationally known scholar of the mathematics and logic of Charles Sanders Peirce, and of the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. He is best known, though, for his extensive work on the philosophy of George Santayana.
It is no exaggeration to say that Angus was one of the top few living English language scholars of Santayana. Indeed, it is rare to encounter an English-language book or journal article on Santayana that doesn't engage Angus, either by thanking him in the acknowledgements, or by directly focusing its attention on his work. Thus the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy honoured Angus for his
contributions to the field in 2008, while the journal Transactions of the Charles S Peirce Society published a special issue devoted to his work in 2009.
Angus published a substantial body of peer-reviewed philosophy journal articles on central figures in 19th and early 20th-century American philosophy. He also contributed book chapters on Peirce and Santayana to collections edited by some of the most distinguished living scholars of American philosophy. Yet the larger component of his philosophical work appeared elsewhere – in Overheard in Seville, the bulletin of the Santayana Society, which he himself edited from 1983 to 2006. In this journal he published 24 articles between 1983 and 2009. Overheard in Seville is the primary locus for scholarship on Santayana. Without this journal and Angus's tireless stewardship of it, Santayana scholarship would be decades behind where it is today.
Angus was a very fine scholar and a respected member of the university community. His intellectual generosity and great collegiality will not be forgotten by those fortunate enough to have worked or studied with him.