Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Errol E. Harris (1908-2009)

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Errol E. Harris (1908-2009)

Article excerpt

Errol Harris passed away peacefully on June 21, having been hospitalized for only one day, near his home at High Wray in the Lake District of England. Lucid to the end, he was able to continue his extraordinary career of philosophical work up until about six months before his death, beyond which point he no longer possessed the physical strength to keep writing. His final book, the thirtieth, on political theory, was published in his one hundredth year. Just two years previously he had published a major contribution to philosophy of mind (Reflections on the Problem of Consciousness).

He was born in Kimberley, South Africa, to English parents (Samuel Jacob Harris and Dora Gross Harris), who had emigrated from Leeds, Yorkshire. He was educated at Rhodes University College in South Africa, studying with A. R. Lord (B.A. 1927; M.A. 1929), and became a lecturer in philosophy at Fort Hare University College in 1930. Between 1931 and 1933, he studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he produced a thesis on Samuel Alexander and Alfred North Whitehead, obtaining the B.Litt. degree. From 1937 to 1941 he served as an Education Officer for the British Colonial Service in Basutoland and Zanzibar. In 1941, he joined the South African Army, later being transferred to the British Army, serving in Egypt, Beirut, and Haifa. In 1946, he married Sylvia Mundahl and returned to South Africa; they would eventually have four children. In the same year, he began teaching in the philosophy department of the University of Witwatersrand and also became a member of the executive council of the South African Institute of Race Relations, serving with the Zulu Chief Luthuli and Oliver Tambo, who later headed the ANC. …

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