Cover photo for Robert Arrington's Obituary
1938 Robert 2015

Robert Arrington

October 19, 1938 — June 20, 2015


ROBERT LEE ARRINGTON was born on October 19, 1938 at the Flint River Hospital in Bainbridge, Georgia. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lee W. Arrington of Havana, Florida. Growing up in Havana, he attended Havana High School, graduating in 1956 as Valedictorian of his class. He attended Georgia Institute of Technology from 1956 through 1957, transferring in 1957 to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, Arrington studied creative writing with the renowned Fugitive poet, Donald Davidson, who described one of Arrington's early poems as "dipping into the deep springs of pure poetry." Mr. Arrington graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt in 1960, with a major in philosophy, winning a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to attend the graduate program at Harvard University. Instead, he went to graduate school in philosophy at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he was awarded a National Defense Education Act Fellowship for three years. He obtained his M.A. degree in philosophy in 1962 and his Ph.D. in 1966. Mr. Arrington married Senorita Margarita Elena Barahona of San Salvador, El Salvador in 1961. They had two children, Karen Belinda Arrington in 1962 and Lisa Rae-Marie Arrington in 1964. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversity in 2011 in New Orleans, where they met and fell in love.

In 1963 Mr. Arrington became an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Additionally, he served as Assistant Editor of The Southern Quarterly for two years at Mississippi Southern. In 1966 he became Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State College in Atlanta, which became Georgia State University in 1969. Progressing through the ranks to Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State, he became Chair of the Department of Philosophy in 1978. In 1967, he won the Griffith Award for best paper by a junior member at the annual conference of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology. Dr. Arrington also won an American Council of Learned Societies Research grant in 1974, which he used to study and do research at the University of Oxford, England. While at Oxford, he studied with Dr. P.M.S. Hacker, the preeminent international authority on the philosophy of Wittgenstein, and with the renowned legal scholar, H.L.A .Hart.

In 1980, Dr. Arrington was appointed Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State. In this capacity, he served as Dean of the Graduate School in the College of Arts and Sciences. He also served as Acting Dean of Arts and Sciences for a year and a half in 1990-92, after which he returned to the faculty as Chair of the Department of Philosophy. Upon his retirement in 2000, he was named Professor and Chair Emeritus of Philosophy at Georgia State.

Dr. Arrington was a member of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology and the American Philosophical Association.

Arrington was an aficianado of classical music. His favorite composer was Beethoven, but while living in England, he encountered the early 20th century British symphonic music of Parry and Stanford and developed an ardent taste for the later works of Bax, Moeran, and Lloyd. In literature, he became a fan of Scandinavian noir thrillers as well as the novels of Thomas Bernhard.

He is the author of Realism, Rationalism, and Relativism (Cornell University Press, 1989) and Western Ethics (Blackwell Publishers, 1994) which was published in English and translated into Korean. Several of his other writings were translated into Spanish. He also was the author of more than fifty scholarly articles, one of which, "Advertising and Behavior Control," was anthologized six times. Dr. Arrington was editor or co-editor of five collections of essays, one of which was the Blackwell Companion to the Philosophers. He wrote numerous book reviews for the Sewanee Review, one of the oldest literary journals in the country, as well as for professional philosophical journals. He was widely recognized as a Wittgenstein scholar and as an authority in ethics. He and his wife traveled widely as he delivered professional papers in Bielefel and Berlin, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Palermo, Sicily; Mexico City and Guadalahara, Mexico; and Seville and Santiago, Spain. Dr. Arrington left behind two complete manuscripts, Assault on the Mind and Wittgensteinian Preoccupations which will be published in English and Spanish.

In 2012, he was invited to occupy the Ludwig Wittgenstein Professorship at the University of Vera Cruz, Mexico, where he read several papers and conducted seminars on the philosophy of Wittgenstein, an Austrian philosopher who has been described as one of the two geniuses of 20th Century philosophy.

He is survived by his wife, Margarita, two daughters, Karen Evans of Southern California, and Lisa Arrington, of Atlanta. He was the proud grandfather of Chelsea Palmer, Ashley Edwards, and Lee Evans.

Arrington was forever grateful to his parents, especially his mother, who reared him after the early death of his father, and to the small town of Havana, Florida, where he grew up in a warm and nurturing environment.

Graveside Funeral Service

Thursday June 25, 2015, 11:00 at Woodland Cemetery
Click for Map and Directions

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