Benjamin R. Tilghman (1927-2023)

Benjamin Ross Tilghman, professor emeritus of philosophy at Kansas State University, has died.

Professor Tilghman worked in philosophy of art and the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein. He is the author of But is it Art? (1984), Wittgenstein, Ethics and Aesthetics (1991), An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (1993), The Expression of Emotion in the Visual Arts (2012), and Reflections on Aesthetic Judgment (2017), among other works.

Professor Tilghman joined the faculty of Kansas State in 1967, retiring in 1994, and served as department head there from 1967 to 1980. Before that, he had taught at the University of Wyoming, Western State College of Colorado, and Reed College. He earned his PhD from the University of Washington and his BA and MA from Washington University in St. Louis.

His colleague, Jim Hamilton, writes:

Ben’s interest in the philosophy department and its students at Kansas State University was everlasting. He often contributed to a fund for scholarships for students, called the “Tilghman Excellence Fund,” set up in Ben’s name by several former students. And. significantly, he was instrumental in helping faculty establish, explore, and excel in their philosophical interests.

While at the University of Washington he was introduced to the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein whose conception of philosophy continued to be the primary influence on this work. His interests were largely in aesthetics and the philosophy of art although he has “dabbled” (his word) in philosophy of religion, humorous philosophical short stories, and translations of works in French literature. Those who knew Ben will miss his keen intellect, curiosity, and wit.

 You can learn more about Professor Tilghman’s writings here.

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