Nenad Miščević (1950-2024)

Nenad Miščević, professor of philosophy at the University of Maribor in Slovenia and one of the most influential Croatian philosophers, has died.

[Nenad Miščević, photo by Alastair Norcross, 2016]

Professor Miščević had broad interests, and wrote on subjects in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, philosophical method, ethics, and political philosophy. He is the author of Thought Experiments (2022), Nationalism and Beyond (2001), Rationality and Cognition (2002), among other works. A volume of the European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, “Many Faces of a Philosopher” (2014) took Miščević’s ideas as its subject matter, and a festschrift for him, Thought Experiments between Nature and Society was published in 2017. You can learn more about his philosophical writings here. In addition to his academic work, he was also a columnist for several publications and a public intellectual.

Miščević played a central role in developing analytic philosophy in southeast Europe and cultivating and maintaining a network of analytic philosophers in the region. He was a longstanding member of the Croatian Society for Analytic Philosophy  and one of the founders of the Rijeka Philosophical Circle. He helped in the creation of the philosophy departments at the University of Rijeka and the University of Maribor.

From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, Miščević taught at the University of Zadar. After that, he joined the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Maribor. He also has taught at the University of Rijeka, the University of Klagenfurt, the University of Graz, and elsewhere, and for 20 years was affiliated in several respects with Central European University. He earned his PhD from the University of Ljubljana.

A memorial notice on the site of the Croatian Society for Analytic philosophy remarks that

It cannot be emphasised sufficiently that without Nenad’s organizational, professional, and scholarly work, the Rijeka philosophical-analytic “circle” and the Department of Philosophy would likely not exist. Speaking of the work of this informal but highly active group of philosophers who operated in Rijeka in the 1980s… Boran Berčić (Rijeka) states: “The central figure in the group was undoubtedly Nenad Miščević. He possessed immense intellectual, social, and organizational energy. He was the main driving force of the group, truly the spiritus movens.”

He died on Saturday, May 11th.

(Thanks to Boran Berčić and Marko Jurjako for letting me know of Nenad’s death.)

Links to memorial notices elsewhere:

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1 month ago

I met Nenad at the Dubrovnik Philosophy of Science conference in 2004, just after I got a tenure track job. He was so warm and welcoming. He worked hard to cultivate and maintain interest in philosophy of science in Croatia. A fine person

Mohan Matthen
1 month ago

Nenad’s passing is very sad news indeed. I first met him around 1989 at the Dubrovnik Philosophy of Science conference and at many of those conferences in subsequent years. He was voracious for philosophical conversation–extremely well-read and very critical of what he read. Very committed to intellectual integrity. And extremely open to all points of view. He was also, I understand, very involved in politics, and though I didn’t know enough to understand much of his views about the very big events of the time, I did gather that he was one of those who mourned the dissolution of Yugoslavia. (Others could tell us more about this, and I hope they will.) A force for the good.

Stephen Hetherington
1 month ago

I met Nenad only once, in Taipei. He seemed like a person of substance, with genuinely intellectual motivations but, just as importantly, without affectation or pretension. Others can, I’m sure, write more fully about those aspects of him. My reason for posting here is to mention my wife’s appreciative reaction to Nenad. (She was with me on that visit.) She is not an academic, but she greatly enjoyed talking with Nenad about anarchism. She felt that he was a warm and interesting person who cared — intelligently and open-mindedly — about the wider world beyond academia.

Guido Melchior
1 month ago

I met Nenad Miščević the first time when I was visiting the University of Maribor as a graduate student at the University of Graz. Nenad became one of my most important teachers and mentors for many, many years. Nenad was not only a superb philosopher with broad interests. As a mentor and teacher, he was of enormous importance for young philosophers in Central Europe. He tremendously supported many young philosophers from the region, including me, for example by inviting them to international workshops and conferences in Dubrovnik and Bled, thereby opening the door to the international philosophical community. However, Nenad was not only a philosopher of broad interests; he was also incredibly and intimidatingly educated, philosophically and otherwise. I know of at least six languages that he spoke fluently and between which he could switch effortlessly. 

Friderik Klampfer
Friderik Klampfer
1 month ago

I have known Nenad for over thirty years, first as an undergraduate student in Ljubljana where in the late eighties he taught a course on the 20th century analytic philosophy and later as his PhD student and eventually his colleague at the philosophy department in Maribor (Slovenia). He was an incredibly warm and generous person, always happy to share bits and bobs of his vast knowledge of philosophy, science, art, culture and politics; knowledge of such width and breadth that it was almost intimidating. He loved opera and classical music in general, fluently spoke six languages (when in Trieste, he would lecture in Italian, when in Paris in French, and when in Graz in German), could recite Dante or Homer in the original by heart, read obsessively and was genuinely curious about the world and people. He had strong presence – even people who only met him once recall this encounter years later. He was an excellent philosopher and teacher and a great friend. His absence will be sorely felt. 🙁
Here is a longer account of his life and personality for those who’d like to learn more:

ENGEL pascal
ENGEL pascal
1 month ago

I am very sad to learn Nenad’s death. We met long time ago at the Karlowy Vary conferences in the 1990s, in the first ECAP meetings (he organised one) , in Geneva and in Budapest later. Last time I saw him was in Istanbul , at a conference on curiosity, a topic which fitted him perfectly. His open mindedness, his friendship and above all the sharpness of his mind and the breadth of his philosophical culture, which was not limited tp analytic philosophy, will always be with me, although I regret no to have seen him in the recent years.He was a philosopher in the Sellarsian sense, as very as a formidable debater.

Alastair Norcross
28 days ago

I’m very sad to hear this news. I had many great discussions with Nenad over the years at the Bled philosophy conferences, and was looking forward to seeing him there again in a few days. He was always a larger than life presence, and very supportive, especially of younger philosophers. His passing is a great loss to philosophy in Slovenia and Croatia, and the world as a whole.