Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

In Memoriam

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

In Memoriam

Article excerpt

HENRY BABCOCK VEATCH

(1911-1999)

Henry Babcock Veatch, one of the leading neo-Aristotelian philosophers of the twentieth century, died July 9, 1999 in Bloomington, Indiana. He was laid to rest in Bloomington.

Henry Veatch was born in Evansville, Indiana and educated at Harvard. He taught twenty-eight years at Indiana University, eight years at Northwestern University, and more than ten years at Georgetown University. His mentor at Harvard was John Wild, and he was influenced by such neo-Thomists as Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson.

Henry Veatch was an Aristotelian through and through, but he championed his Aristotelianism by considering the current issues and problems of the contemporary philosophical scene. Anyone familiar with Veatch's works would also be familiar with the latest contemporary issues, especially those exhibited in Anglo-American philosophy. Veatch's championing of Aristotelianism against contemporary fashions in philosophy became evident in his classic work, Intentional Logic (1952; 1970). In this work he challenged many of the contemporary positions found in analytic philosophy regarding the nature of logic. From issues regarding the nature of logical forms and relations to the alleged primacy of the analytic-synthetic distinction, this book argued that a failure to understand the intentional character of logic lie at the very heart of many of the fundamental confusions of contemporary analytic philosophy.

In his 1952 Marquette University Aquinas Lecture, Realism and Nominalism Revisited, Veatch challenged both Fregean and Quinean characterizations of logic and accused both of resurrecting the ancient problem of universals--a problem, for Veatch, which had its solution in Aquinas' "moderate realism." Veatch's quarrels with many of the assumptions of analytic philosophy were continued in his later (1969) work, Two Logics. This book foreshadowed, and in many ways predicted, the deconstructivism of Fish and Rorty.

Veatch did not, however, confine his work to logic and language. His classic, Rational Man (1962), was a modern interpretation of Aristotle's ethics. …

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