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8 thoughts on "Comments"

  • Lewis Ross
    Lewis Ross
    Friday 7 May 2021, 12.51pm

    I didn’t know Katherine well at all, much less well than others who have contributed their reflections here. But in every department, there are a rare few people who you always love to see in seminars and discussions groups, because of their warmth and humour, because of their insight and encouragement, and, well, because they are clearly one of the goodies. Katherine was one of these people. I’m sure many people who knew Katherine only slightly feel the same way, so I can only imagine how hard it must be for those who knew her even better than the many hundreds of people who admired her from a distance. We’ll miss her.

  • Hasen Khudairi
    Hasen Khudairi
    Friday 7 May 2021, 3.56pm

    Two notable things about Katherine, from the vantage of a PhD student at Arche, was that she was a brilliant metaphysician and was also kind. I thus hoped for some time to work with her when I was at Arche. I wasn't ultimately able to, unfortunately, but she read a couple of my papers on metaphysics and gave me positive feedback on them, which was very much encouraging. Along with our productive discussions, I was a fan of her writing. I looked up to her, and consider myself lucky to have been able to discuss work with her for three years.

  • Robert Stern
    Robert Stern
    Friday 7 May 2021, 4.36pm

    I didn't know Katherine well - but it is a sign of her great qualities that this wasn't really necessary in order to see what an impressive person she was, both intellectually and humanly. We served on the REF panel together in 2014 when she was deputy chair. She performed this difficulty task with great wisdom and calmness. Ironically, the REF process is now underway again, and I like to think of her hovering over us with her wry smile. I am sure we will miss her good judgment and warmth. A really very sad loss.

  • Yuri Balashov
    Yuri Balashov
    Friday 7 May 2021, 7.06pm

    I was completely shocked at Katherine's untimely passing away. She was a source of great inspiration. Her intellectual and human generosity cannot be put into words.

  • Patrik Hummel
    Patrik Hummel
    Monday 10 May 2021, 12.46pm

    It was such an immense privilege to be taught by Katherine. Over the past days, it has been sad but also soothing and uplifting to talk to and read from former fellow students, and to relive the magic of hear teaching and supervision in memories and anecdotes. Katherine combined being an amazing philosopher with kindness, being completely down to earth, and caring deeply for the well-being and success of her students. She was such a receptive and sensitive teacher, tailoring her approach and feedback precisely to what the recipient needed. Looking back, I remain deeply impressed how she handled students’ hesitation and doubt. I remember distinctly how in her M.Litt class I attended nine years ago, she took great care that everyone had a chance to speak, gently encouraged less vocal students to contribute in a way that did not make them feel pressured, and made them aware that they did have something insightful to say. During PhD supervision, Katherine would effortlessly take up even less-than-half-finished thoughts (i.e., the vast majority or entirety of mine) and instantly return something fruitful that advanced whatever I was trying to figure out. She always highlighted and encouraged me to explore points of connection between philosophical thinking and timely issues outside academia, a blueprint of which I knew was to be found in her own research. She maintained such consistent generosity in her feedback to drafts, countless iterations of these drafts, presentations, proposals, mock job interviews, and much more. At several points in and around my PhD when I was unsure about what to do or how to proceed, her remarks, questions, and suggestions guided the way. Sometimes her advice was calming or prompting to focus on details or the bigger picture, sometimes it was plainly energizing and exciting, most often all at once. Throughout, it always struck me how she viewed philosophy as deeply communal. She was amazing at connecting people with similar interests. When we as a group of former students sent her a card after she fell ill, she expressed happiness not only about the gesture as such, but the fact that people collaborated, joined forces, acted in concert, and made the whole bigger than its parts. She made a difference in how people who knew her interact with and approach others. I will cherish the memories of being taught by her. My heartfelt condolences go out to her family.

  • James Ladyman
    James Ladyman
    Monday 10 May 2021, 1.47pm

    Katherine made important contributions to the philosophy of science and the philosophy of physics, with particularly influential papers concerning the relation between scientific realism and metaphysics, and identity and individuality in physics, and with her outstanding editorial work on the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

  • L. A. Paul
    L. A. Paul
    Thursday 13 May 2021, 2.50am

    Katherine made the world so much better. I will always remember her with very deep affection and respect. She was such a wonderful colleague and good friend. We would walk along the shore and talk about metaphysics, and trust, and friendship, and what it was like to be a woman doing metaphysics in such a difficult, problematic, yet wonderful field. We also jumped up and down on trampolines together more than once, which was a satisfying counterpart to all those serious conversations. I will miss her very much.

  • Shaun Darby
    Shaun Darby
    Thursday 1 July 2021, 1.44pm

    It is with great sadness that I heard about Katherine's passing. I count myself as being very fortunate indeed in having had her as Head of Department. From an administrators perspective Katherine was always so welcoming and supportive and was clearly loved and deeply appreciated by her students. Tasks always seemed lighter and more enjoyable when she was around. As others have rightly already said Katherine made the world a better place to be in. My thoughts are especially with her family and the wider St Andrews community.


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