martes, 10 de febrero de 2015

Death of Professor Irving Singer


Longtime member of the MIT philosophy community was a dedicated professor, prolific writer.

Irving Singer, a professor emeritus of philosophy at MIT, died Feb. 1 at age 89. Singer was an eminent philosopher whose academic career spanned 65 years — with more than half a century as a professor at MIT. 

Singer was the author of 21 books in the field of humanistic philosophy, focusing on topics such as the philosophy of love, the nature of creativity, moral issues, aesthetics, and philosophy in literature, music, and film. His works have been translated into Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish, among other languages.

The MIT Press recently honored Singer’s career by initiating “The Irving Singer Library,” which includes republication of his books including "The Nature of Love," volumes 1, 2, and 3, and "Meaning in Life," volumes 1, 2, and 3; "Cinematic Mythmaking: Philosophy in Film"; "Ingmar Bergman, Cinematic Philosopher: Reflections on his Creativity"; "Mozart and Beethoven: The Concept of Love in Their Operas"; and "Modes of Creativity: Philosophical Perspectives." Other books by Singer include "George Santayana, Literary Philosopher"; and "Santayana’s Aesthetics: A Critical Analysis." A manuscript in progress at the time of Singer’s death was titled “Creativity in the Brain.”

A three-day conference in 1991 focusing on Singer’s work generated a book titled "The Nature and Pursuit of Love: The Philosophy of Irving Singer," edited by David Goicoechea (Prometheus Books, 1995).

Samuel Jay Keyser, a professor emeritus of linguistics who had an office next door to Singer’s in MIT's Stata Center, remembered his colleague fondly: “We were good office friends, and I am so sorry to hear he has passed on. It is the end of an era.”

Singer retired from MIT in 2013, having served on the MIT faculty in the Department of Philosophy and Linguistics (and its forerunners) since 1958. Until age 85, he was still actively teaching. Singer enjoyed teaching immensely, appreciating it as integral to his process of developing ideas that would inform his writing projects. Several of Singer’s course lectures are viewable on MIT OpenCourseWare, on topics including “Philosophy in Film and Other Media”; “Feeling and Imagination in Art, Science, and Technology”; and “The Nature of Creativity.”

Timothy Madigan, an associate professor of philosophy at St. John Fisher College, recalled Singer’s influence on his work: “Irving was a role model to me, and a true exemplar of a man of wisdom. He will be greatly missed, but his works will continue to live on.”