In Memoriam

Randall R. Dipert

Randall R. Dipert.

It is with sincere regret that the University at Buffalo Department of Philosophy announces the passing of Randall R. Dipert on Sunday, June 23, 2019 at the age of 68. Randy studied at the University of Michigan and Indiana University before starting his philosophy career in SUNY Fredonia in 1977. From there he moved in 1995 to the U. S. Military Academy West Point where he taught philosophy until 2000, when he was appointed to the C. S. Peirce Chair of American Philosophy in the University at Buffalo. He retired in 2017. Influential contributions by Randy in the course of his career include his groundbreaking book on Artifacts, Art Works and Agency in 1994, which played a seminal role in the founding of a new branch of philosophy called "philosophy of technology". His paper "The World as Graph", published in the The Journal of Philosophy in 1997, influenced the thinking of leading figures in contemporary analytical metaphysics and also anticipated ideas central to what in computer science is now called the "Semantic Web" or "graph-based knowledge representation". This reflects Randy's own life-long interest in computing, illustrated in his work on programs in Prolog and LISP for computer-assisted research in logic and philosophy, and in his contributions to software for logic teaching. Most recently Randy has worked on military ethics, where his 2010 paper "The Ethics of Cyberwarfare", published in the Journal of Military Ethics, 2010, was the first and is still the most important theoretical contribution to the resolution of an increasingly urgent problem for mankind. Randy's work spans a broad range, from scholarship in the Peirce tradition to practical contributions to resolving policy issues surrounding the use of computers in modern warfare. His work will be of lasting influence, and he will be missed tremendously.