In Memoriam - Professor Emeritus John Tienson

John TiensonIt is with deep sadness that we inform the University of Memphis community, and the wider philosophical profession, that Professor Emeritus John Tienson passed away on November 10, 2018. A trusted and admired colleague, teacher, and researcher, Professor Tienson was an irreplaceable philosophical mind, interlocutor, and collaborator at Memphis and beyond. We, his colleagues, staff, and students, will miss him greatly.


Memorial Service

A memorial service will be held for Professor Tienson in Memphis on Saturday, December 15, 2018.
LOCATION: Kirby Pines Retirement Community - Main Community Center
ADDRESS: 3535 Kirby Road, Memphis, TN 38115
TIME: 2pm - 4pm

Colloquium in Honor of Professor John Tienson

The Philosophy Department at The University of Memphis, his home department for many years, will hold a colloquium in honor of his work in the spring of 2020.

Memorial Tribute from Professor Terry Horgan

To me, John Tienson was a towering figure—quiet and non-bombastic, but towering nonetheless. Very shortly after he joined the University of Memphis Philosophy Department, I realized from talking philosophy with him that the astonishingly high praise in his recommendation letters for his talent was no exaggeration: he was a philosophical genius. John and I commenced a long and fruitful collaboration, during which he awakened me in numerous ways from the dogmatic slumbers that my conventional American education in philosophy had thrust upon me. Nobody could run with a half-baked philosophical idea I might throw out, and start productively baking it, the way John could—as he so often did while we were drinking beer at that near-campus pub along the railroad line, R.P. Tracks. And his own, fully baked, philosophical ideas—especially in philosophy of mind—influenced me very heavily and largely defined our collaborative projects. His general mindset about philosophy was nicely reflected by what he said to me when I once told him about a paper I'd been reading that I admired because of the respect it showed for the problem it was addressing; he said that in his view, approaching a philosophical issue with thorough respect for the problem is a mark of philosophical intelligence. From him I acquired a proper appreciation for the history of philosophy, and also a proper appreciation for philosophical ideas outside the narrow and parochial confines of mainstream analytic philosophy. The PhD program in philosophy started shortly after he joined the department, and he was the originating source of the unique vision that inspired this program: a thoroughly pluralistic mix of analytic philosophy, continental philosophy, and the history of philosophy. John was unique, and his philosophical influence was profound. His legacy will persist.

Terry Horgan
Philosophy Department, University of Arizona