Erik Banks (1970-2017)


Erik Banks, Professor of Philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, died unexpectedly on August 18th. He was 47.

The cause of death was a brain aneurysm.

Professor Banks worked in the history and philosophy of science, authoring many articles and two books, Ernst Mach’s World Elements: A Study in Natural Philosophy and The Realistic Empiricism of Mach, James, and Russell: Neutral Monism Reconceived. He received his PhD in philosophy from CUNY and his undergraduate degree from Bennington College.

Don Howard (Notre Dame), in an email to members of the History of Philosophy of Science community, wrote:

It is with a heavy heart that I share the almost incomprehensible, shocking, and terribly sad news of the death, yesterday, of our friend and HOPOS colleague, Erik Banks. Erik passed away quickly and without any prior warning of difficulties. He leaves behind many deeply bereaved friends, students, and fellow philosphers.

In my opinion, Erik’s first book, Ernst Mach’s World Elements, is the most important book on Mach written in the last one hundred years. His second book, The Realistic Empiricism of Mach, James, and Russell, is another masterpiece, offering a spot on, revisionist interpretation of a crucial chapter in the history of early twentieth-century philosophy. Erik was a scholar of the first rank, profound in his insights and strikingly original in his reading of the history of the philosophy of science. He was also a wonderful and courageous human being. I will miss him.

According to Ava Chamberlain, chair of philosophy at Wright State, Professor Banks’ family is creating a student scholarship in his memory. Donations should be made out to the Wright State University Foundation, with a note that the contribution should be directed to the Philosophy Program Fund in memory of Erik Banks, and sent to Sara Woodhull, WSU Foundation, 3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Dayton, Ohio 45435.

There is a brief obituary here.

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