Richard Double (1948-2021)

Richard Double, emeritus professor and former chair of philosophy at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, has died.

Professor Double was known for his work on free will. You can browse some of his writings here.

His family provided an obituary from which the following is excerpted:

Double was a tireless teacher and generalist who wrote provocatively across many areas of philosophy, specializing in ethics and free will. Double‘s work is cited in six sections of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: moral responsibility, autonomy in moral and political philosophy, personal autonomy, free will, Chinese room, and impartiality. His unique contriution to the free will problem was meta-level subjectivism, which argued that metaethical subjectivism in ethics showed that none of the familiar lower-level theories of moral responsibility could be true.  

His works included 4 books: The Non-Reality of Free Will (1991), Metaphilosophy and Free Will (1996), Beginning Philosophy (1999) (all with Oxford University Press), and Metaethical Subjectivism (2006, Routledge), 58 articles, and 23 reviews. 

Double’s proudest accomplishment was the fact his three Oxford University Press monographs were reviewed by the Times Literary Supplement.

Double is survived by his loving wife, Maureen Amar, who tirelessly managed Double’s long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

He died yesterday.

(via Gregg Caruso)


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Alan White
Alan White
1 year ago

The news of his tragic death stunned me, largely because his books had such a profound influence on my thinking about free will and other issues. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.Report

Dale Miller
1 year ago

Leiter has the birthdate as 1948, and while I only met Double once, that seems to me to be more likely to be correct. Double was at my school long before I arrived, and a retired colleague with whom I shared this immediately questioned the date.Report

1 year ago

My condolences to his wife and family. I knew him as an excellent teacher who never let me get away with not doing my best.Report

Terry Smith
1 year ago

I had the honor of being Richard’s dean at Edinboro for the last decade of his teaching career. He was not only an excellent philosopher, but also an extraordinarily conscientious instructor. One thing that he did struck me as especially useful for students. He made a list of common errors, such as confusing “they’re,” “their,” and “there.” He handed this list to students at the beginning of the term and corrected these errors each time they were made on an assignment. Students left his course a bit more polished in their writing than when they entered.Report