July 14, 1994
Vol. 14, No. 1

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    Obituary: Manley Thompson, Philosophy

    Manley H. Thompson Jr. (A.B.'38, A.M.'38, Ph.D.'42), Professor Emeritus in Philosophy, a pre-eminent scholar in metaphysics and an expert on the philosophical work of Immanuel Kant and C.S. Peirce, died June 9 in his Hyde Park home after a long illness. He was 77.

    "Thompson was the leading authority on the general theory of categories, which can be defined as the most basic and general classification of things or ideas," said Alan Gewirth, the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy. "His work in this area showed connections between Peirce and Kant that had not previously been understood."

    Thompson's works include the book "The Pragmatic Philosophy of C.S. Peirce" (1953, reprinted 1963 and 1973); "Metaphysics" (1964), one of five monographs in the philosophy volume of Princeton University's "Humanistic Scholarship in America" series; and numerous scholarly articles and reviews.

    "Thompson's book on Peirce was the culminating work at that time in Peirce scholarship," Gewirth said. "It summed up work done in the 1950s, made new insights and defined Peirce and Kant scholarship for the 1950s and beyond."

    Thompson taught at the University of Toronto before joining Chicago's faculty as Assistant Professor in 1949. He became Associate Professor in 1955 and Professor in 1961, and he was Chairman of Philosophy from 1960 to 1969. He also served on Princeton's Associate Council on the Humanities from 1960 through 1965. He was a member of the Harvard philosophy department's visiting committee from 1963 to 1969 and chairman of that committee from 1978 to 1984. He retired from Chicago in 1987.

    He was a member of the American Philosophical Association, serving as its president in 1983, and was also a member of the Aristotelian Society and the American Council of Learned Societies.

    He is survived by his wife, Phyllis; a daughter, Katherine, of Hyattsville, Md.; two sons, Roderick of Mill Valley, Calif., and Clark of Madison, Wis.; and two grandchildren.

    Services will be private. A memorial service on campus will be held in the fall.