Stephen F. Barker (1927-2019)


Stephen F. Barker, professor emeritus of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University, has died. 

Professor Barker worked in philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of science, and logic, and was the author of, among other things, Induction and hypothesis: a Study of the Logic of Confirmation.

He began teaching at Johns Hopkins in 1964. Before that he worked at the University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University and was an undergraduate at Swarthmore.

(via Steven Gross)

UPDATE: The university has posted an obituary of Professor Barker.

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Annette Bryson
Annette Bryson
1 year ago

Stephen F. Barker was my teacher, my mentor, and my friend. I am deeply saddened by his death. I will miss him.

Professor Barker introduced me to philosophy when I first took a class from him as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins. He was a wonderful teacher. His passion for philosophy, his capacity to think clearly and rigorously, his precision, and his incisive commentary made him an amazing and inspiring teacher. He clearly relished the opportunity to share stimulating ideas in the classroom and to invite his students along with him on an intellectual journey. And he cared about us, his students, both as potential philosophers and as people. We gained immensely from our discussions with him—but those conversations clearly enhanced his life too.

He supervised my research on Descartes at Johns Hopkins, and he continued over the years to follow and cheer for my progress. Professor Barker’s friendship and support, his challenging conversations, and his cheerleading played vital roles in my having become a professional philosopher. And an important part of my dissertation grew out of a conversation I had with Professor Barker around 2015.

Throughout our friendship, he continued to be both inspiring to and supportive of me. I came away from every conversation with him enriched, my thinking expanded. He was caring and generous and gracious. Though he embraced his own convictions confidently, he was consistently respectful of the views of others.

Every time I visited the Baltimore area in the years after I moved away, I was delighted to meet with my teacher and friend. I will miss our lunches together. I will miss his humor and his breadth of insight, his consistent encouragement, and the model of gracious philosophical inquiry and engagement he provided. My life is immeasurably different in virtue of my having known him. I will always treasure my memory of the exceptional example he provided of what a truly outstanding teacher and friend can do and be. Report