R.I.P. William Alston (1921-2009)

I only learned a couple of hours ago about the death of William Alston.  I never met him, I have only read one of his articles, and philosophically he played a leading role in putting Christian epistemology back on the map.  But he was the dissertation adviser of Garey Spradley, one of my college philosophy professors.  I took 8 courses with Professor Spradley and he taught me at least half of what I know about how to rigorously, carefully, and humbly pursue philosophical questions.

And so in an odd way learning of Professor Alston’s death is like learning of the death of a personal intellectual grandfather whom I never knew. Here’s an intellectual biography of my teacher’s teacher.

Thanks to Brian Leiter for passing on the news.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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