The Philosophy Department and the community at Claremont Graduate University sadly announce the passing of Professor Alfred Richard (Al) Louch on Friday, May 7th, 2010, at the age of 83. Philosopher, teacher, scholar, and colleague, whose career spanned three decades at Claremont, Al is remembered fondly by his colleagues and his students. Al died in France where he retired and lived with his wife Brenda. Our deepest condolences go out to his family.
Professor Alfred Louch
Alfred Louch earned his B.A. and M.A. at the University of California, Berkeley. He then went to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University on a Rhondda Open Research Studentship where he earned his Ph.D. in 1956. Professor Louch taught at Oberlin College, Syracuse University, University of California at Berkeley, Los Angeles and Riverside, and, from 1965 until retirement in 1996, at Claremont Graduate University.
He was drawn from the first toward philosophical problems as they arise in contexts outside the domain of academic philosophy itself. Explanation and Human Action (1966) was the main fruit of these concerns, directed as it was against the scientific pretensions of psychology and the social sciences. His subsequent work was marked by the same critical focus, as he addressed problems in history, the law, and, in later years, literary theory. His interests beyond philosophy’s frontiers led also to involvement in the National Endowment for the Humanities, serving a term on the California Council for the Humanities and Public Policy. He also worked with lawyers and Information Scientists attempting to formulate policies protecting information privacy. At University of California, Riverside he helped set up a Law and Society program, and at Claremont Graduate University directed a number of projects designed to bring humanists in touch with other disciplines and the larger community. In retirement, Al lived in southern France where his thoughts turned back to the philosophical basis for his incursions into neighboring territories.
Al was known and is remembered for his humaneness, his generosity, his incredible knowledge, his kindness, and his sense of humor. Although he touched many lives and exceeded in his academic career, home and family were most important to Al.
Eleanor and Howard Katz
Former CGU Philosophy Students
We sit heavily stricken and in darkness—for from far back in dimmest[memory] he had been an ideal elder, a brother [in our pursuit of ideas], and we still, through all the years, saw in him . . . a protector, a backer,an authority and our pride. His extinction changes the face of life for us—besides the mere missing of his inexhaustible company and personality, originality, the whole unspeakably vivid . . . presence of him. And his noble intellectual vitality . . . . You knew him . . . from furthest back with us.1
It is so wonderful to count up his numerous and various, his dear and distinguished friendly names, taking in all they recall and represent . . . .[His family] should permit themselves to feel . . . extremely proud, for . . . there is scarce one of his ranged company but makes good the particular connection, quickens the excellent relation, lights some happy train, and [flourishes] with . . . individual color. 2
In gratitude, and fond remembrance.
Submitted by: David Sherry Professor of Philosophy, Northern Arizona University Former CGU Philosophy Student
I imagined that Al would pretty much live forever, especially with Brenda to look after him. He never said anything stupid or thoughtless. Al made a huge difference to my thinking and my life. Above all, he taught me that philosophy should be anchored in the world in which we live, and until I caught on to that, I don't think I had a prayer of a successful academic career. I remember the first words of praise he sent my way - after reading my Kant final. For better or worse, that led me to think I had chosen the right line of work. Al's grasp of history and his ability to make his students look at their lives and their ideas in the light of history is what separated him most from other philosophers.
1 Adapted from the letters of Henry James: “On the Death of William James,”
2 and “On His 70th Birthday: To 270 Friends,” Collected Works of Henry James, Viking Portable, ed. & with an introduction by Morton Dauwen Zabel (New York: Viking Penguin Books, 1977), 664-665, 670.