Feminist Philosophers

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MARY ANNE WARREN, In Memoriam: addition August 12, 2010

Filed under: women in philosophy — jj @ 12:37 am

Addition: See Rob Wilson’s further comments here.  In them he notes that there isn’t much on the web about MAW; he would welcome additional material. 

The following comes from SWIP-L.  We relay it with sadness:

It is with great sadness I share the news of the death of  long-term SWIPer,
Feminist Philosopher, and friend, Mary Anne Warren. She passed away  on August 9th at home, with her husband Michael Scriven by her side. Her will to live couldn’t be
stronger and her love of life was undiminished by her illness.

Mary Anne  was an amazing, talented, kind, and adventuresome woman.
Not only did she make a contribution to the field of Philosophy and to
Feminism, she helped keep SWIP alive all those years there were just a few of us
at the meetings. So many stories we could tell.

Her work in Philosophy has already changed the field and
moved it forward to a more inclusive way of thinking. There
is no doubt that she will continue to have more impact.

May all the memories of dear Mary Anne help carry us through the sadness of our
loss.

(Submitted by Wanda Teays)

 

16 Responses to “MARY ANNE WARREN, In Memoriam: addition”

  1. Alan Says:

    My heart fell seeing this–I’ve taught some of her classic work many, many times over the years. If there is any basis for calling a philosopher’s work truly fearless, it applies to hers.

  2. H. E. Baber Says:

    My god I knew her–she wasn’t that old and was a good person who did good stuff. Used to meet at APAs and chat. May her soul and the souls of all the departed rest in peace. Amen.

  3. Anna Says:

    Gosh, does nobody know what her birthday is ? Does nobody have a photo to publish of her ? Please get this up on Wikipedia ! This woman is so very valuable to the quality of life on planet Earth. We need to see her image and be able to spread her word by knowing her biography and what encouraged her to become who she became. What illness took her ? All these things I would like to know about this wonderful woman.

  4. rob wilson Says:

    I knew Mary Anne via Michael Scriven during his time at the University of Western Australia in the 1980s, and through her connection to Michael Tooley, who was the head of department in Philosophy there at that time. I had seen her most recently at last year’s APA Pacific, where she attended an invited session on “Human Kinds” that I organized. I’m shocked to hear of her death (“passing” just wouldn’t sound very MAW to me), especially since the last words I had from her, about Michael Scriven, were that he was still very active and “gunna live forever”, said with the kind of wryness that I knew her for.

    Mary Anne was a full person in a way in which too many academics manage, somehow, not to be. When a bushfire destroyed their California home, the two losses noted with most regret, but completely without self-indulgence of any kind, were her cats and her paintings. I think Michael’s hope was to return more permanently, together, to the southern hemisphere. But the cliche “you can take the girl out of California, but …” held in spades for Mary Anne, and she was right that it was all so far away from everything else.

    Missed already.

  5. jj Says:

    RW, thanks so much for the vivid portrayal.

    Anna, I did look for a picture of her and couldn’t find one. If anyone can send us one, it will get posted.

  6. rob wilson Says:

    I’m just putting together a short What Sorts post on Mary Anne and on David Hull, who also died this week; it will be up shortly. –raw

  7. jj Says:

    Thanks for letting us know.

  8. I knew Mary Anne when we were graduate students in philosophy at UC Berkeley. I remember her as a very bright and open person. Then we lost touch, although I read and learned from her writing.

    In June of 2004 I helped organize a stem cell research advocacy conference at UC Berkeley and I invited Marry Anne to give a talk on the the moral status of embryonic stem cells. She consented and her presentation was excellent — very balanced, very reasonable.

    There was a forthrightness about her that I appreciated. I’ll miss her.

    Raymond Barglow, Berkeley

  9. jj Says:

    Thanks, RB, for sharing this.
    Do you know when she got her PhD?

  10. Wanda Says:

    Her Ph.d. was from U.C. Berkeley. Most of her teaching was at S.F. State–except for her years in Australia.

    She died of cancer–it moved quickly and resisted the aggressive treatments she was subjected to. Mary Anne was very brave through the months of her varying treatments. The cancer moved very quickly and took her by surprise. She faced it with courage and determination. As with everything she did in her life, she was a model of inner strength and integrity.

    Her will to live was impressive–as was the pleasure she took in her travels all over the world to learn about animals, plants, and minerals. In addition to her love of Philosophy and in teaching, she had a great interest in Native American art. We shared many hours traveling to shows and to museums and galleries in the U.S. and Canada. She took a lot of pleasure in meeting Indian artists and talking with them about their lives and their craft.

    Mary Anne was an accomplished landscape artist (oils) and photographer. Anyone who ever sat next to her at a conference (including the APA) knows of her fine sketches of the speakers and members of the audience.

    She took great pleasure in her life, her friends, and her family–not to mention the hundreds of hummingbirds that came to the many feeders she had along the side of her house.

  11. fred goldsmith Says:

    Mary Anne was my graduate thesis chairman at San Francisco State in 2004. She was an inspiring teacher and mentor and made philosophy about as personal as it can be. I remember fondly our last visits at her beautiful home in the bucolic setting of Pt. Reyes in Northern California. One of my most precious memories of Mary Anne was at my orals. Though we were on the same wavelength with much of the bigger picture regarding ethics (my thesis was on the moral obligations we may or may not hold toward contingent future people), I did take on a few of her minor arguments. She acknowledged those arguments with such grace and lack of ego. She encouraged independent and especially creative thinking. That spirit came through so strongly in her writing and her teaching style. Having the opportunity to listen to and establish dialogues with her for the course of a semester was such a joy in addition to being of great philosophical import and benefit. Mary Anne was profoundly influenced by the teachings of the likes of Aldo Leopold, and therefore associated with his views on a more holistic, rather than individualistic, notion of ethics. It is in this way that she is best remembered. Not as an individual who has passed. But as part of something greater, something that does not perish: the passing on of the love of wisdom combined with human emotion that never forgets the practical applications of that wisdom and the effects that teaching and wisdom have on other persons, animals, and the planet of which we are all a part.

  12. jj Says:

    Thanks so much to you all for relaying these wonderful memories!

  13. Lavonne Bebler Johnson Says:

    How sad that we lose touch with wonderful people from our early lives. I just learned of Mary Anne’s death when my issue of Kappa Delta’s magazine Angelos arrived today, which brought me to find this website. Mary Anne roomed with me for one semester at Kappa Delta Sorority while we were undergrads at Indiana University…where she met and fell in love with Dr. Michael Scriven! I was always thrilled that she followed him to Berkeley & ultimately married him. What a wonderful pairing of genius! Mary Anne was probably the deepest thinker & artist, and the most independent spirit in the KD house… but then, KD at IU was a sorority of thinkers rather than the usual popular beauty queens. I truly regret not keeping in touch with her over the years as I moved to Philadelphia & New Jersey… and she stayed primarily on the West Coast. But I am honored to have known her as she was blossoming into her brilliant career. Her spirit must have influenced me, too, regarding feminism, inclusion, integration & racial harmony, environmental activism, progressive government, global respect for indigenous peoples, etc. I hope her spirit recognizes that she touched my spirit! May she rest in peace. And may her work & influence among her students help the world to live in harmony and peace. How beautiful to read that she hosted hummingbirds near her home… as she was like the hummingbird of our KD house. My sympathies to her family…

  14. rob wilson Says:

    Lavonne,
    I really appreciate your note on Mary Anne, in part because I knew her personally chiefly through Michael Scriven and their time together in Western Australia. So knowing of how far back their tight bond went is perhaps as heart-warming to me as is your knowing how it continued right until her death, 40+ years later. And mention of those hummingbirds, again, brings out a memory of the sole time I was at their Point Reyes home, where both of them (but especially Mary Anne) took pleasure and pride in the hub of feeding activity that their home had become for local hummingbirds. While I had always thought of her relaxed humanity in stark contrast to the frenetic flurry of hummingbird hovering that she fostered at Point Reyes by doing simple things that let them be themselves, your note reminds me that there are many ways to be a hummingbird. Perhaps creating spaces for that kind of diversity in natural activity is one way to think about her legacies.

  15. Lavonne Bebler Johnson Says:

    Rob,
    Thank you for your kind words. I barely slept last night, thinking of Mary Anne and how I regretted not keeping in touch with her. I would have so loved to sit with her and Michael and have lengthy discussions about ethics, philosophy, current events, politics, etc… which is not always possible with many of the acquaintances in our lives. I think her being so unique contributed to my courage to be different, too.

    It sounds like she believed that we are all truly interconnected through the circle of life. Ironically, I am continuing my evolution from film, advertising & public relations, to communicating harmony with nature via gardening, creating bird feeders this winter, & becoming a Master Gardener in order to write about this wiser path. I think Mary Anne would be proud that I’m also turning a forced early retirement from overseeing the NJ Dept. of Human Services website content… to becoming an Adjunct Prof at the local community college, teaching effective oral communications & public speaking.

    These are giant leaps from where she last knew me, as I left Indiana Univ. to become the first female film editor at NFL Films. While she was true to her inner calling, some of us got sidetracked from our real calling, via circuitous routes. From football, to supporting friends in the Olympics (almost more impactful on world peace than is the United Nations) and sports venues, we can move beyond the pop culture aspect of sports & film and actually show how meeting citizens of the world can connect our world for the better.

    And now it is so rewarding to use my communication skills to promote sustainable gardening & permaculture, to teach students how to analyze and evaluate the media messages that engulf them, and to share with them my wisdom gained from the wonderful adventures in civil rights, politics, multiculturalism, and the creative world that I’ve lived all these years. Finding out how important Mary Anne’s work has been for feminism and women’s rights all these years has re-inspired me to finish another one of my goals… writing a novel that will promote saving the Amazon, shine light on the wisdom of indigenous peoples, and educate people about the destruction caused by greed & exploitation of fossil fuels, etc. It is our duty to make a difference. And Mary Anne began that quest well ahead of the rest of us!

  16. Gail Says:

    I just heard that Mary Ann Warren died in 2010. How sad I am to hear this news, now four years since. She was a complete inspiration to me as an undergraduate at SFSU. I have taught her work throughout my years as a philosophy professor, and I especially recall her casual, easy-going, and brilliant radiance in the class room. The course title was “Meaning of Life.” Mary Ann, you will be in my heart forever.


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