RIP Philippa Foot (1920 – 2010)

It has come to my knowledge that Philippa Foot has died. Foot’s philosophical career reflected a great sea change in the character of 20th Century philosophy. While I’m sure that many qualified persons will address the impact of her life and works; it should be pointed out that Foot, alongside the likes of Hursthouse and Anscombe were responsible for the revival of Aristotle’s moral theory in a time when taking Aristotle seriously was highly suspect. Foot was also known for her engagement in the philosophical question of ‘Why be moral?’ This is pertains to an issue of how one may try to convince a hypothetical amoralist to behaving alongside agreed ethical standards, and concerning the rationality of morality. This particular issue was greatly influential on one of my Ethics tutors at Bristol during my undergraduate years. Foot will perhaps most famously be known for the so-called ‘trolley problem’. Foot’s life should be remembered for an important contribution to 20thC Ethical philosophy.

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3 thoughts on “RIP Philippa Foot (1920 – 2010)

  1. Sorry to hear that Philippa Foot has passed on… I keep hoping to get hold of some of her books, but they are a devil to find.

    I must ask: from where are you sourcing your philosophical obituaries?

    • I’m not quite sure how to answer this, but I have three possible responses on three interpretations of the question:

      1. I initially found out this news on the blog Leiter Reports. Brian Leiter has become a good soure of information for the philosophical community as an academic profession.

      2. My knowledge of Philippa Foot must be attributed viz ethics lectures from Dr. Allison Hills, an ethicist more popularly known (as I knew her) for her book on Animal Rights; but I knew her more for her work on the question of ‘why be moral’ and the amoralist. It’s fair to say that although I’m not much of an ethics expert by any stretch, I’ve certainly had interesting lecturers with diverse research interests (from sex to animals, to Plato and Kant)

      3. I get lots of philosophy blog RSS feeds, in fact too many. I’ve unsubscribed from many of them (due to information overload/parsimony).

      here are two orbituaries I’ve found today:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/8044589/Professor-Philippa-Foot.html
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/05/philippa-foot-obituary

  2. Thanks, I’ve subscribed to the Leiter Reports in my “Philosophy (Aux)” folder, where lower priority or higher volume philosophy blogs go to be ignored. Cheers!

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