Another Philosopher Goes to His Reward

3 July 2009


David F. Pears, RIP


The philosopher David F. Pears has, as was formerly said, gone to his reward. There is an interesting obituary by Jane O’Grady in The Guardian.

Even among philosophers David Pears did not have a high profile. If you search Google Images for “David F. Pears” you will not get photographs of him, but photographs of pears. Even if you put the search in quotes, narrowing the search, you get pictures of the covers of his book, not pictures of the man himself. And there is no Wikipedia entry on him. Jean Baudrillard became infamous for saying the if something wasn’t on television, it wasn’t real. Today he would have to say that anything without an internet “presence” is not real. And by this measure David Pears could be called unreal. But Baudrilland has also been called “the Walt Disney of contemporary metaphysics” and this sort of thing is the antithesis of Pears’ work.

Pears wrote several books on Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and David Hume — the core of the analytical tradition and its Enlightenment empiricist origins. These books have been influential with a generation of philosophers, and will continue to exert a quiet influence. The peace that surpasseth all understanding will, for David Pears, comprise also a peaceful legacy of continuing influence.

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