In Memoriam: Nelson Pike (1930-2010)
February 10, 2010 — 10:06

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: News  Comments: 3

By way of Leiter Philosophy Reports by way of Kurt Smith.
I’ve been meaning to post this for days, but philosophers of religion owe a great debt to Pike’s lucid statement of one kind of problem concerning God, freedom, and evil.
My first ever grad class was a PR class that began with Pike’s classic piece. It’s hard to estimate the amount of ink spilled over that argument since then.
One gauge is how many references there are at the end of this bibliography.
He seemed an amicable and honest man, I invite you to join me in praying for his soul.

  • Tom Senor

    Contemporary analytic philosophy of religion owes a tremendous debt to Nelson Pike. He was one of the first analytic philosophers to turn his attention to religious matters in a way that took them seriously. His work on the omniscience-and-freedom and timelessness issues was ground breaking. He was able to look beyond the then-currently-popular questions of religious language/intelligibility and discussions of the theological/atheological arguments, and explore the metaphysics of theism. Those of us who work on these matters owe him for kicking off discussions of these issues in the analytic tradition.

    February 10, 2010 — 18:31
  • Thanks for posting this, Trent. I was waiting for one of the contributors to this blog to post something about Pike’s death.
    Tom’s comments are right on target. The importance of Pike’s contributions to analytic philosophy of religion cannot be easily overstated. While I don’t believe in souls (and have doubts about an afterlife), I’ll definitely remember to be thankful for the life and work of Professor Pike.

    February 12, 2010 — 10:52
  • Kurt Norlin

    I was lucky enough to be a student of his at UC Irvine, and he was indeed an “amicable and honest man.” Also far and away the hardest-working, clearest, and most engaging classroom lecturer I’ve ever seen.
    Even in what he judged to be failure, he was inspiring: once in a while he would start class by announcing that he’d really made a hash of the previous session and was going to have another go at it. Then he did, with a fresh example and a revised argument. His example of a philosopher intently and un-self-consciously dedicated to getting things right was unforgettable.

    February 26, 2010 — 1:50