Australasian philosophers will be sad to learn of the passing of Peter Menzies (Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Macquarie University), who died on Friday 6 February, after a long illness. He is survived by his partner, Catriona Mackenzie (Professor of Philosophy, Macquarie University), and their extended family.
Peter studied Philosophy at ANU, graduating with the University Medal in 1975. He went on to an MPhil at St Andrews, writing on Michael Dummett's views on Realism, and to a PhD at Stanford, where he worked with Nancy Cartwright on Newcomb Problems and Causal Decision Theory.
Returning to Australia in 1983, Peter held a Tutorship and then an ARC Research Fellowship at the Department of Traditional & Modern Philosophy, University of Sydney, from 1984 to 1988. He then moved to ANU as a Research Fellow in the Philosophy Program, RSSS, where he remained until taking up a Lectureship at Macquarie University in 1995. He was promoted to a Personal Chair in 2005, becoming an Emeritus Professor on his retirement in 2013. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities in 2007, and was President of the Australasian Association of Philosophy in 2008–2009.
Peter will be remembered by friends, students and colleagues as one of the most lucid and generous voices in Australasian philosophy, and by philosophers worldwide as one of the most astute metaphysicians of his generation. He was particularly well known for many influential papers on causation. At the beginning of a famous paper in Mind in 1994, for example, David Lewis singles out "especially the problem presented in Menzies (1989)" as the source of, as he puts it, "the unfinished business with causation." Most would agree that some of the business remains unfinished, twenty years later; but that the field is greatly indebted to Peter for much of the progress that has been made in the past three decades. A fine philosopher, colleague, teacher, and friend, he will be sadly missed.
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