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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Joseph Morton Ransdell

Joseph Morton Ransdell
June 5, 1931 - December 27, 2010.

I've discussed things with Joe for years on peirce-l and occasionally off-list.
I owe him; but for him and peirce-l I might have remained intellectually isolated and semi-articulate. I spoke with him for the first and only time, on November 19th by phone. His intelligence was as energetic as ever, but he was ill. I'm glad I called him and managed to mention that I look up to him.

Joe opposed the concept of intellectual authority; but he was marked by something similar but genuine: possession of ideas and understandings to which those who are interested in the same matters owe attention and response.

The obituary was posted today at Somebody added it to the Peirce article at Wikipedia and that's how I found out (so I emailed peirce-l). Robert Lane soon followed with this:

From: "Robert Lane"
To: [The Charles S. Peirce Society]
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 1:16 PM
Subject: Peirce Society: Joe Ransdell

Fellow members of the Charles S. Peirce Society,

I have just learned the sad news of the recent death of Joe Ransdell. Joe was a Peirce scholar who taught at Texas Tech University from 1974 until his retirement in 2000. Among his contributions to the study of Peirce and to the community of Peirce scholars were his creation of the "Arisbe: the Peirce Gateway" website ( and his founding of the Peirce-L Discussion Forum, for which he also served as moderator. Joe was a Fellow of the Peirce Society, having served as our president in 1999.

An online obituary is here:

A memorial service will be held this Saturday, January 8, in Lubbock,
Texas. Details are here:


Robert Lane, Ph.D.
Secretary-Treasurer, Charles S. Peirce Society
Associate Professor and Director of Philosophy
Department of English and Philosophy
University of West Georgia
Carrollton, GA 30118

[phone number & email removed]

I've just received this note on Joe from a past peirce-lister:
Blessed repose and eternal memory...