- Joseph Grange (February 7, 1940–July 20, 2014)
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The following is adapted from the notice published in the Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram, Portland, Maine, July 27, 2014.
Joseph Grange was born and raised in the South Bronx of New York City. He received his Ph.D. from Fordham University in 1970 and began teaching at the University of Southern Maine the same year. His dissertation title was “Tragic Value in the Thought of Alfred North Whitehead.” He held academic appointments at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, the National University of Ireland, the Maine School of Art, and other distinguished institutions of philosophical research and learning before he re-tired in 2009.
He lectured at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and through Claremont’s China Project traveled around China lecturing at various centers of learning. One of the most important appointments in his life was three years that he spent at the University of Hawai’i, where he studied classical Chinese philosophy under the tutelage of C. Y. Cheng and Roger Ames. He also directed the doctoral dissertation of Linyu Gu on Zen, Yi philosophy, and process thought.
His philosophical interests turned toward comparisons of Western philosophy and Chinese culture. He published a significant number of articles and reviews in Philosophy East and West and the Journal of Chinese Philosophy. At Hawai’i he gave doctoral seminars on Heidegger and Dewey that, he was told by the chair, revolutionized the Department’s approach to its curriculum. He served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Chinese Philosophy and he was a reviewer of books and articles for Philosophy East and West. He edited a special issue of the Journal of Chinese Philosophy on “Tao and God.”
In 2008 he was elected president of the Metaphysical Society of America and for ten years was the director of the Society for the Study of Process Philosophies. He authored several books including Nature: An Environmental Cosmology; Metaphysics and Culture; The City: An Urban Cosmology; and Soul: A Spiritual Cosmology. He served as emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Southern Maine, and he delivered the keynote address at the International Conferences of the Association of Yijing Philosophy. He presented the Foundational Lecture at the Inaugural Meeting in June in Shanghai on the “Contributions of Chinese Philosophy to World Philosophy.”
In 2011 he presented a semester of lectures on the history of Western philosophy at Xi’an University in China. He held a professorship at Beijing University of Architecture and Civil Engineering. His lectures derived from a life of reflection on Plato’s theory of “the good” as the ground of being and source of knowledge. [End Page 661]
He is survived by his loving wife Claudine Grange and stepdaughters Anya and Robin.
The following words were read at Joe’s memorial service:
Jesus said, “Unless you become like a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. . . . Look at the birds of the sky: They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet God feeds them. Which of you by thinking can add a day to his life? . . . Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin. And yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was robed like one of these. . . . Your father knows what you need. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.”
Listen to the truth in this old [African American] gospel hymn:
I sing because I’m happy And I sing because I’m free His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches me. [End Page 662]