RIP Marjorie Grene

According to Leiter and some other sources, it has been announced that Marjorie Grene had died. I knew of her work in the history of philosophy, her book on Spinoza was, after much of my reading on the subject, the only book I really needed to get an intermediate grasp on the issues, literature and exegesis. I came to look up her life a bit more on the internet and I found out some really fascinating things about her:

1. Some allege that she is one of the earliest figures to seriously think about biology as a philosopher (i.e. establishing the area that has become known as philosophy of biology).
2. She had been taught by varied figures from Heidegger to Carnap. Much of philosophical development was an exploration of who’s who in mid-20thC philosophy.
3. Grene seemed to have been quite a firebrand, very opinionated on the works of other philosophers; herself part of a rumour relating to the circumstances of Lakatos’ death!
4. Grene managed an eminent philosophical career that would be enviable by today’s standards, yet managed to take a 15-year hiatus to raise a family.

Grene came from an age of philosophy which begins to have dust on the hardcovers, an age that I quite admire, like a nice mature port (and I do like port). The age of philosophers who had real
diversity and humanity in their work. An age before the academy became an essay-mill with priorities like ‘research output’ or league tables. Grene had a unique and diverse philosophical career; spanning across the ‘continental’ and analytic divide that people later invented. That older age of philosophy is virtually extinguished.


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