Desmond Clarke, RIP

Mercurial

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The death has occurred of Desmond Clarke, who was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at University College Cork.

Mainly known as one of the world's leading experts on René Descartes, Clarke was also a political philosopher:

In 1984 he published the highly influential 'Church & State' (Cork University Press). The main contention of this book is that the individual citizen in Ireland is oppressed by the mutually reinforcing ideologies of the state and of the main churches, and that the autonomy of the individual is one of the first victims of this oppression.
I was fortunate enough to have been a student at UCC when Professor Clarke was still teaching there, and remember him as being an excellent lecturer, enthusiastic about the material and with a knack for explaining complicated ideas in simple terms.

Here is the full statement, from UCC Philosophy's Facebook page:

Desmond M. Clarke, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at UCC, passed away on Sunday, 4th September 2016, at the age of 74. He is best known for his work on Descartes, including 'Descartes: A Biography' (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and 'Descartes’s Theory of Mind' (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003). Des Clarke published widely on the 17th Century, in particular on theories of science, the work of Blaise Pascal, and women in philosophy: 'The Equality of the Sexes: Three Feminist Texts of the Seventeenth Century', trans. Desmond M. Clarke (Oxford University Press, 2013); 'French Philosophy, 1572-1675' (Oxford University Press, 2016); 'Pascal’s Philosophy of Science' in The Cambridge Companion to Pascal (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Des Clarke was also co-editor of the Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy series. Apart from history of philosophy, Des Clarke also published widely on political philosophy, human rights and legal theory. In 1984 he published the highly influential 'Church & State' (Cork University Press). The main contention of this book is that the individual citizen in Ireland is oppressed by the mutually reinforcing ideologies of the state and of the main churches, and that the autonomy of the individual is one of the first victims of this oppression.

In 2015 he was awarded the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Humanities.

The Philosophy Department at UCC holds a selection of books from his own private library. Des Clarke is survived by his wife, Dolores Dooley, two daughters and four grandchildren.
 


statsman

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Rest in Logical Inquiry.
 

Mercurial

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I also recall he had some run-ins with the UCC President a few years after I was there - something to do with bullying being rife at UCC?
Yes, there was a very public feud between Clarke and Gerry Wrixon. More information on that can be found here.
 


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