Joseph H. Shieber (1970-2024)


Joseph H. Shieber, professor of philosophy at Lafayette College, has died.

Professor Shieber worked in epistemology, especially the epistemology of testimony and social epistemology, as well as in philosophy of language and the history of philosophy. He is the author of Testimony: A Philosophical Introduction, among other works. You can learn more about his writings here and here.

Professor Shieber joined the Department of Philosophy at Lafayette College in 2003. Prior to that, he taught at Connecticut College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Brown University, where he earned his AM and PhD in philosophy. He studied mathematics and philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin before heading to Brown. He earned his BA from Yale University in literature.

“He was a brilliant and astonishingly productive philosopher,” said Owen McLeod, the head of the philosophy department, according to The Lafayette.

He died on April 7th following a brief illness. He was 54.

(via Megan Feeney)


Note: the original version of this post contained a mistake about Shieber’s age. It has been corrected.

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Ernest Sosa
Ernest Sosa
1 month ago

A gifted, productive thinker, and a very fine human being, cut down in his prime. It was always a pleasure and a learning experience to do philosophy with him, already from his days at Brown. A very sad loss!

Wald Wassermann
Wald Wassermann
Reply to  Ernest Sosa
1 month ago

Yes. Yet Joseph would have probably said that we are the eternal one and that life’s purpose is but love.

Hilary Kornblith
Hilary Kornblith
1 month ago

This is such sad and shocking news. Joe was a delightful human being, a wonderful philosophical discussant, and a first-rate philosopher. I’ve really profited by reading his work and recommended it widely. And I’ve had so many enjoyable times with Joe, talking about philosophy, enjoying a wonderful meal, and just having a great time being with him. I had somehow imagined that I would always be able to continue to share his company.

Brian
Brian
1 month ago

What happened? So sad.

Gordon Barnes
Gordon Barnes
1 month ago

This is such sad news. We invited Joe to give a lecture at the Center for Philosophic Exchange last year, and he was wonderful. That semester, I used his book on Testimony in my epistemology class, and he came to my class and answered all of the students’ questions. He was so generous and supportive of them. He was a really good philosopher, but he was also a good human being. He took time to listen, and if he could help, with encouragement or advice, or anything else, he gave it. He will be missed.

Mark van Roojen
Mark van Roojen
1 month ago

Joe did a bunch of useful and supererogatory work as a member of the APA’s Lectures, Publications and Research Committee, among other things shepherding through the first year of the LIsska Prize for Small LIberal College Arts faculty. This is a small thing in what by all reports is a large and decent life. But it is also an often unrecognized kind of small thing that makes good things happen for other people. Also made my work easier as chair of that committee.

Gary Bartlett
Gary Bartlett
1 month ago

This is just terrible. I never met Joe. But he was the commentator on my paper at the Eastern APA in January this year. He ended up being unable to make it to the conference, because his son needed emergency dental surgery. But he sent along his comments, which were encouraging and insightful.

Owen McLeod
Owen McLeod
1 month ago

Small correction: Joe was actually 54 when he died, not 53. (The error is my fault, since Megan Feeney, who very kindly submitted this note, was relying on information that came ultimately from me.)