Causes of Deaths of Philosophers


Maintained by Hugh Mellor but apparently last updated in 2005, the Causes of Deaths of Philosophers website humorously speculates about, well, the causes and descriptions of deaths of philosophers. To wit:

Husserl: Phenomenally bad luck
Ryle: Gave up the ghost
Dancy: No particular reason
Sellars: Not given
Benacerraf: Number was up
Wittgenstein: Became the late Wittgenstein
Plato: Caved in

…and so on.

It is Halloween, the holiday of the dead, so what better day to start adding new entries and updates to the list?

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DCH
DCH
6 years ago

David Lewis: modally relocated
Donald Davison: misinterpreted
W.V.O. Quine: variably devaluedReport

David
David
6 years ago

Aristotle: lost his nous
Locke: substance abuse
Hume: no ideaReport

Jerry Dworkin
Jerry Dworkin
6 years ago

Rawls: Contract killing
Williams: One thought too many
Moore: It’s an open question
Foot: Trolley accidentReport

BB
BB
6 years ago

Korsgaard: bad constitution
McDowell: rails to infinity
Bratman: didn’t stick to the planReport

John Protevi
John Protevi
6 years ago

Descartes: stopped thinking
Spinoza: fell into lens-grinding machine, made spectacle of himselfReport

Clayton
6 years ago

A.J. Ayer – Came up positivist
David Hume – It was just one damn thing after another
Tim Williamson – Hit by a bus. Insufficiently luminous
Alvin Plantinga – All part of the proper function. Nasty part of the design plan.
Friedrich Nietzsche – Brain cancer. Brain cancer. Brain cancer. Brain cancer. Brain cancer. Brain cancer. Brain cancer…Report

Adam Omelianchuk
Adam Omelianchuk
6 years ago

Alvin Plantinga: stopped functioning properly
Daniel Dennett: stopped making the intentional stance.
Immanuel Kant: became part of the noumenal realm.
Peter van Inwagen: became particles shaped fertilizer-wise.Report

Alan White
Alan White
6 years ago

Levy: hard luck case
Mele: agnorexia
Nadelhoffer: flickered out
Fischer: became unresponsive
Wolf: selfless sacrificeReport

anon
anon
6 years ago

I thought Aristotle hung himself with a nous?Report

Joshua Smart
Joshua Smart
6 years ago

Leibniz’ cause of death was unobserved.
In sleep went Epictetus, unperturbed.
Johnson, Sam died thus: against a stone.
And Nietzsche lost the will to pow’r his bones.Report

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

21 grams Leiter.Report

Anon
Anon
6 years ago

Zeno: Lifeline cut in half, then in half, then in half…
Dummett: Drowned in the seas of language
Epicurus: Swerved into a tree while drivingReport

Colin
Colin
6 years ago

Merleau-Ponty: disembodied
Heidegger: no-longer-in-the-worldReport

nobody@gmail.com
6 years ago

Godel: completedReport

p
p
6 years ago

Hume: didn’t make the connection; Leibniz: opened a window; Plato: caved in; Socrates: turned a hipster; Descartes: had it on the tip of his tongue; de Beauvoir: got married; Sartre: made a choice; Kant: fell asleep while reading Hume; Hegel: proofread the Phenomenology; Heidegger: got hammered; Wittgenstein: fell of a ladder; Anscombe: didn’t mean to; Aristotle: at the right time; Plotinus: was born; Rousseau: tied up; Rawls: we’ll never know.Report

Nick Z
Nick Z
6 years ago

Habermas: unforced force
Churchlands: folks say they ‘died’; still searching for a material explanationReport

RJS
RJS
6 years ago

Carnap – unverified
Duhem – underdetermined
Derrida – différaitReport

BunnyHugger
BunnyHugger
6 years ago

I learned the following joke many years ago…

Did you hear that George Berkeley died? Yeah, his girlfriend stopped seeing him.Report

Steph
Steph
6 years ago

Nietzsche: a fan called him “the God of Modern Philosophy”Report

Alf84
Alf84
6 years ago

Tye: not poised
Quine: self-quined
Chalmers: lost in two-dimensional semantics
Kripke: not rigidly designated
Noe: dancing with death
Churchlands: reduced and eliminated
Cartwright: Belied by the laws of physics
Kim: causally irrelevant
Derrida: never existed outside textReport

Walto
Walto
6 years ago

Russell: Ticker stopped
Whitehead: Natural processes
Nozick: Wilted
Dretske: Motor troubles
Langer: Key not foundReport

Luke Kaven
Luke Kaven
5 years ago

Hugh Mellor actually did include my entry for Russell in his list, but different versions of the list have been circulating.

Bertrand Russell: He thought the pier was longer than it was.Report

Finn
Finn
5 years ago

I’m not sure if these ones work in English but I give them a go.

Marx: fell from the superstructure.
Heidegger: asked about nothingness and got his answer.
Derrida: story ended.
Foucault: history of sexually transmitted diseases.
Gadamer: reached his horizon (lived long as hell!).Report