Monday, November 11, 2013

Hugh Silverman : Stony Brook and IAPL Remembrances


Vale Hugh Silverman : in the Times of Philosophical Error

When I came to learn of the demise of Professor High Silverman, I was so very shocked and sorrowed. Hugh was a close friend, and remains so, and a mentor too; I worked him with him at Stony Brook (SUNY) and on IAPL (International Association for Philosophy and Literature) over several years, reinforcing the inter-disciplinary/comparative/cross-cultural alongside a/theological and even 'non-philosophy' thrusts that American philosophy is just beginning to be open to (and followed closely in Australia and New Zealand and parts of Europe and Southern America). We last saw each other in Melbourne, July 2008, during the joint ("3-some") conferences of AAP (Australasian Association of Philosophy), IAPL, and ASACP (Australasian Society for  Asian and Comparative Philosophy); it was a magnificent conference and we had philosophical time of worthynote. Academic life for me will never be the same without the kind of leadership Hugh provided via IAPL and in other ways for me (he opened up many a connection for me and many others indeed, and published us generously in at least two books series he edited); but most of all he introduced us – students, graduates and visiting fellows - to the burgeoning enterprise of the interface between Continental/European thinking and Asian/Comparative Philosophy with a conscience gaze from the erstwhile pursuits of philosophical theology and gender studies. The generosity that Hugh and his wife, Gerda as she is fondly called by all, and who faithfully accompanied Hugh to all IAPLs, exuded was so large, that on the freezing-cold eve of my first-ever New Year in America,  they had me and my late wife, Renuka, over for a fireside gathering with Stony Brook graduates and friends, whence we watched the 'Big Apple' descent on Times Square, on a large screen.  And he would only serve the best German beer, brewed apparently by his Boston father (a Silverman tradition of sorts).