Berit Brogaard writes:
It saddened me deeply when I recently heard of the death of Iris Einheuser. Iris was supposed to attend a conference on aesthetics and relativistic semantics organized by James Young in Victoria, Canada, this week. I had been looking forward to seeing her at the conference. I knew she had been struggling with cancer but she was so young that I believed that she would have been able to make it through. Iris’ colleague Sara Bernstein informed me that Iris passed away last week on March 29, 2012, after officially receiving tenure at Duke University on March 22.
Iris was a very promising young philosopher with papers in prestigious journals and volumes, such as Relative Truth (Oxford), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Studies, Nous and Philosophers’ Imprint. Despite her young age, she had already made notable contributions to important issues in core analytic areas. She had an exceedingly bright future ahead of her that was abruptly interrupted by this terrible disease.
Iris received her master’s degree at St. Andrews and her Ph.D. at MIT. She wrote her dissertation on conventionalism under the direction of Professor Stephen Yablo. In her dissertation she argues that metaphysical relations, such as ontological dependence, may be partially grounded in conventions. After teaching a few semesters at Wellesley College, she was hired at Duke University in 2005. She was a prominent person in several core analytic areas, including philosophy of language, metaphysics and philosophical logic. We both had an interest in relativistic semantics, which was how I got to know her. I have learned a tremendous amount from our conversations about semantics and the different notional variants of relativistic semantics.
Iris was a wonderful human being, one of the nicest people I have ever met. Her exceptional intellect and her kindness have always been among the first things people have noted when Iris’ name came up. My former colleague Irem Kurtsal Steen just noted on my update on Facebook that Iris was the nicest person she had ever been interviewed by. That is just how Iris was. She asked the kinds of questions that brought out the best in people, both intellectually and personally. She was philosophically and psychologically insightful in a way that is rare to find in people in today’s busy, internet-based society. Iris’ premature death is an immense loss to the philosophical community. She will be truly missed.
We hope to publish at least one more remembrance of Iris. But please also leave your thoughts in comments.
(Dates corrected above.)