Aryeh Kosman (1935-2021)

Aryeh Kosman, professor emeritus of philosophy at Haverford College, has died.

Professor Kosman was known for his research in ancient philosophy, particularly on Plato and Aristotle. He is the author of The Activity of Being: An Essay on Aristotle’s Ontology and Virtues of Thought: Essays on Plato and Aristotle. You can learn more about his work here.

Professor Kosman came to Haverford in 1962 and retired in 2010, holding visiting appointments at various institutions during this time, including Princeton University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University and his M.A. and B.A. from Berkeley.

Haverford College has published an obituary for Professor Kosman here.

UPDATEPhiladelphia Inquirer obituary.

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Sophia Stone
2 years ago

I met Aryeh Kosman at G.R.F. Ferrari’s conference on “The Structure of Plato’s Republic” at U.C. Berkeley in 2000, those essays are published in the Cambridge Companion to the Republic. He was very kind, he laughed a lot, enjoying the philosophical banter in the discussions. I loved talking with him as he was open to hearing new interpretations from young scholars. He is an excellent writer and thinker. He will be missed.

Amy Schmitter
2 years ago

Oh, man, this one hurts — Aryeh was a large part of why I got into philosophy. I took his (year-long) historical Intro Phil class my second year as an undergraduate, then two seminars with him the next year. (Then he was away for my final year, blast him! Admittedly, he went to Pitt, which is where I ended up going, partly on his recommendation.) I probably didn’t get as much out of the intro course as I should have: it was wildly popular, and started at 8:30 am in a darkened auditorium. But I still remember his slightly covert facial response to a particularly inane comment somebody made — which made me think, hmmm, this philosophy stuff doesn’t really go for BS, does it? Then, his Aristotle seminar was amazing — a somewhat idiosyncratic, but plausible (to my mind, at least) account of what qualified as ousia — all illustrated through very apropos Yiddish jokes. Little did the man from Pinsk and the man from Pinsk know how well they explained the relation between matter and form! My condolences to Deborah and his family. May his memory be a blessing.