Obituary for Richard Robin

Richard Shale Robin

Richard Shale Robin 1926-2010 SOUTH HADLEY – Richard Shale Robin, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Mount Holyoke College, passed away on October 4th. He was born in Stamford, Ct. on April 18th 1926. Richard was one of the primary advocates of the field of American philosophy, especially American pragmatism, the kind whose roots are traceable to the polymath Charles Sanders Peirce. Richard completed his studies at Harvard University where he was awarded an A.B., cum laude, 1948 and a Ph.D. in 1958. At that time Charles Sanders Peirce was an obscure figure at best. Richard was a central figure in bringing Peirce’s achievements to the forefront of the philosophical community. At present Peirce is arguably considered America’s premier philosopher. Richard was proud of the role he played in bringing about this transformation. Initially he ordered the unpublished manuscripts (approximately eighty thousand pages), which arrived a Harvard in a chaotic state, and subsequently he wrote many books and articles. Perhaps uppermost he edited the Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society for 29 years. Together with his co-editor, Peter Hare, they turned this Quarterly Journal from an in-house publication and built it into one of the major philosophical journals of our time. Richard also cofounded the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy and used the Transactions to link the society with the Peirce Society. Both societies as well as the journal flourish today. For his achievement he was awarded Herbert W. Schneider Award and the Josiah Royce Award – both for lifetime contributions to the cause of American philosophy, capping a gratifying professional career. In addition he was awarded the John Dewey Senior Research Fellowship, a Fulbright Senior Lectureship at Tohoku University, Japan. He was invited to lecture throughout the world including Russia, China, Japan, and Korea. In addition to teaching undergraduate students he served on a dozen or so doctoral committees. But Richard’s family life was his real focus. Richard enjoyed a long and happy marriage to Joann Cohan Robin for nearly 46 years until her death in 2007. Richard said that he and Joann’s proudest achievements were his children, and by extension their families. Richard is survived by his son David and daughter Debbie; their spouses, Yasmin and Pat, and 5 grand children, Aliya, Parker, Ethan, Kaitlynn and Jack, and Dick’s sister Jane. In addition he touched the lives of so many in the town of South Hadley – his and Joann’s home for 50 years. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to charities of one’s choice. RYDER FUNERAL HOME 533-1735

Published in The Republican on October 7, 2010

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