Jack W. Meiland
October 8, 1934 — November 8, 1998
Jack W. Meiland, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, died following a long illness on November 8, 1998, at home with his family.
Born October 8, 1934, in Columbus, Ohio, Professor Meiland received his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1957. After doing graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley and at Harvard University, he completed his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he received the Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1962. In that same year he came to the University of Michigan as an Instructor, where he remained for thirty-five years until his retirement in 1997.
Professor Meiland's highest professional priority was undergraduate education. He served as Director of the LS&A Honors Program from 1979 to 1983, as LS&A's Associate Dean for Long-Range Planning and Curriculum from 1983 to 1990, and as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education from 1990 to 1992. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to undergraduate education, Professor Meiland was appointed Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in 1988. A superb classroom teacher, he was known for his caring approach to students. Professor Meiland taught without pretense, conveying to students that learning was a partnership. Hundreds of Michigan undergraduates first experienced the exhilaration of discovering their own critical powers in his "Methods of Thinking," a University course he taught primarily for first-year students.
Jack Meiland had a special talent for making philosophy come alive for students whose chief interests lie elsewhere. In addition to developing Philosophy courses primarily for non-concentrators, including Great Books in Philosophy and Science, Culture, and Values, he also taught in the Residential College and in the Integrated Premedical-Medical Program (Inteflex).
Professor Meiland's interests ranged widely in philosophy and beyond, including metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of logic, philosophy of the social sciences and of history, phenomenology, hermeneutics, contemporary Continental philosophy, and American philosophy and pragmatism. He published three influential books-Scepticism and Historical Knowledge, The Nature of Intention, and Talking About Particulars-as well as many significant articles. He also co-edited, with Michael Krausz, a widely used anthology on cognitive and moral relativism. An analytical philosopher by training and temperament, Professor Meiland was unusual in his eagerness to come to terms with contemporary Continental philosophical writers and ideas. He frequently taught courses in this area.
Students and faculty from across the University had an abiding affection for Jack Meiland and an admiration and respect for his personal modesty, commitment to learning, and friendly approach. He was a devoted spouse to his wife of 41 years, Rosalie, and a caring parent to their three children: David, Peter, and Rachel.
Louis E. Loeb