Hilary PutnamPutnam


NOTE: It took The Globe six weeks, but it finally published an onituary about this Arlington notable. Read it here >>


UPDATED, April 26: Hilary Putnam, Cogan University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, who is considered a major American philosopher and was involved in civil rights in the 1960s, has died. He was 89.

The Arlington resident's work encompasses metaphysics, cognitive psychology, the philosophy of science, language and logic, as reported in Legendary Locals of Arlington (Arcadia, 2015). 

He also made contributions in mathematics and computer science and has influenced virtually every major field of contemporary philosophy. Read more here >>

He studied at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard and earned his doctorate from UCLA. He began teaching at Harvard in 1965; his wife, Ruth Anna Putnam, also a philosopher, accepted a teaching position at Wellesley College.

In addition to teaching, Putnam was known for his activism and was involved civil rights as well as the antiwar activities during the Vietnam era.

He has won numerous awards and honorary degrees and has been named a fellow of several institutions, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He retired from Harvard, where he remains Cogan University Professor Emeritus. His wife is professor emerita at Wellesley.

Obituary information published in The Boston Globe reports he was the husband of Ruth Anna (Hall) Putnam, father of Erika Chin and her husband, Derrick Chin, of Acton; Samuel Putnam and his wife, Rebecca Steinitz of Arlington; Joshua Putnam and his wife, Jennifer Putnam of Medford; and Maxima Kahn and her fiancé, Don Williams of Grass Valley, Calif.; grandfather of Tanisha Elliott, Lauren Chin, Mara Steinitz and Eva Steinitz.

Funeral services are set for Monday, March 14, at 12:30 p.m. at the Levine Chapels, 470 Harvard St., Brookline.

Burial will follow in Crawford Street Cemetery, 776 Baker St., West Roxbury.

Memorial observances will be held in his late residence on Monday from 4 to 7 p.m., on Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. and on Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104.


N.Y. Times, March 17: Giant of modern philosophy


This obituary was published March 14, 2016, and updated April 26.