Robert H. Kane (1938-2024)

Robert H. Kane, professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, has died.

David Sosa, chair of the Department of Philosophy at UT Austin, shared the following memorial notice:

The Department of Philosophy at UT Austin mourns the passing of its longtime member Robert Kane, who was University Distinguished Teaching Professor and Professor of Philo­sophy (Emeritus).

The author of seven books and more than eighty articles on the philosophy of mind, free will and action, ethics, value theory, political philosophy and philosophy of religion, inclu­ding Free Will and ValuesThrough the Moral MazeThe Signifi­cance of Free Will (inaugural winner of the Hamilton Faculty Book Award), A Contem­pora­ry Introduction to Free Will, and Ethics and the Quest for Wisdom, Kane was also editor of The Ox­ford Handbook of Free Will.

Kane was the recipient of seventeen major teaching awards at the University of Texas, including the “Presi­dent’s Excellence Award,” and was in 1995 named one of the initial members of the Universi­ty’s Aca­demy of Distin­guished Tea­chers.

Long a leading defender of a traditional “libertarian” view of free will, Kane was known for his attempts to reconcile such a view with modern science, and to articulate its implications for ethics, politics, and law.

[This post will be updated later today with further information.]


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Rob Sica
1 month ago

Kane’s forthcoming book:

The Complex Tapestry of Free Will: A Philosophical Odyssey

V. Alan White
1 month ago

He generously agreed many years ago to meet with my department at a two-day conference about his work. What a terrific intellect and generous soul. A singular figure in the free will debate, but more than that someone who anyone would benefit to emulate in his career and life.

John Fischer
John Fischer
1 month ago

Bob Kane was both an elegant and creative proponent of libertarianism about free will/moral responsibility, and a wonderfully kind and generous person. He has been a model of support for younger philosophers (and even not-so-young ones), even when we disagree.
He has been instrumental in the rise of the area of philosophy that deals with free will/moral responsibility, both as one of the most research-active and also collegial.
He will be missed.

Geordie McComb
28 days ago

Here is another generosity story. In ’08 or ’09, he was keynote for an undergraduate conference at the University of Alberta. At the dinner, he sat and talked philosophy with undergraduate students, one of whom was me. After I aired some just-thought-of idea about free-will existing because it is required for morality, he kindly said, smiling, that he had some sympathies for that line of thought.