George Pitcher, professor of philosophy, emeritus, died Jan. 12, 2018
George has been our next-door neighbor from when Tori (Victoria McGeer) and I first moved full-time to Princeton n 2003. He was as gentle a neighbor as he was a friend and we count ourselves very fortunate to have been able to know him in both capacities. But without ever ceasing to be gentle, he was a man of high intellectual standards, sharp-witted in argument, sharp-worded in deflating pretension. His wry smile said it all, conveying a joy in company, a love of conversation, and a curiosity about everything.
George was preceptor for a course in metaphysics I took in my senior year (1964-65) whose lecturer was none other than the estimable Wilfred Sellars. I got to know him better later on when I served as editor for the book he published at Princeton University Press, A Theory of Perception (1971). George was a most gracious, kind, and gentle soul, and he never made you feel dumb even when you made dumb remarks. I remember attending some of those dinners at his home with “The Gang.” It was like being at a modern version of Plato’s Academy. He contributed greatly to the success of thew Princeton Department during the many years her was there. I regard it as a great privilege to have been his student and later his editor.
George was a beautiful man whose kindness, charm, and hospitality made a big difference in my life. When I was an assistant professor at Princeton I lived on Alexander Road, across the street from the house on College Road he shared with Ed Cone. George made contact soon after my arrival in 1989, my first job out of graduate school, and invited me to one of their wonderful dinners. We soon became good friends and his easy warmth and genuine interest in what I was up to were crucial to my feeling welcome in my new home. The many kindnesses he and Ed showed me over the years are unforgettable. They were among the people it was hardest for me to part from when I left Princeton. George and I kept in touch, and I visited him in Princeton after Ed died. I miss him terribly.
George Pitcher was my professor for a couple of Philosophy courses when I was a Princeton junior and senior during 1959-1961. He introduced me to Ordinary Language Philosophy and to Ludwig Wittgenstein as well as to the Oxford philosophers. The proper use of the English language and the careful choice of words that he instilled in me then have served me well during the past six decades. I was impressed as his student by how deeply he cared about both the content of his courses and about his students whose approaches to their thoughts and to their lives he was helping to shape in such a powerful and positive manner.
I am grateful for having known and learned from Professor Pitcher.
PS He would probably have been able to make several suggestions for how I might have conveyed more precisely the thoughts that I tried to express by what I wrote above.
I found George Pitcher through his book ‘The Dogs who came to stay’. I laughed, cried – what a gentle, wonderful read it was. Since then his little book has been given to numerous people and all have enjoyed it. I corresponded with George about his book and I soon came to realise what a thoughtful, delightful man he was. Vale George.
J Evans- Australia
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