Roger Squires obituary | Philosophy

By on December 14, 2021 0


My husband, Roger Squires, who died at the age of 81, was an academic philosopher who studied and taught at the University of St Andrews for over 35 years.

Roger, the son of newsagents Minnie (née Deeming) and Frank Squires, was born and raised in the small mining village of Polesworth, Warwickshire and Nuneaton, where he attended high school. In 1958, an exhibition took him to the University of Oxford, where he made a first in philosophy, politics and economics, and where we met. We got married in 1962, just after Roger’s return from a year studying at Brown University in Rhode Island. He then obtained a BPhil at Oxford under the supervision of the philosopher Gilbert Ryle.

In 1964 Roger became a lecturer in the Department of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of St Andrews. He was quickly promoted to lecturer. His main interest lies in the philosophy of mind, influenced by Ryle and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and he publishes a succession of articles in the main British philosophical journals. He spent several years editing the Philosophical Quarterly journal.

Roger adhered to the tenets of Ordinary Language Philosophy, which views traditional philosophical problems as being rooted in linguistic misunderstandings caused by technical vocabulary that distorts or ignores what words mean in ordinary usage. Roger assiduously analyzed the writings of Wittgenstein, especially concerning such matters as memory and dreaming – the latter subject was of particular interest. However, he preferred teaching to research and enjoyed supervising many students for their doctorates, always generous with his time. He retired from St Andrews in 2000.

In retirement, Roger continued his particular interest in the confusing nature of the dream experience, culminating in a book completed shortly before his death, Nightmariners and Wideawakes: The Philosophy of Dreaming, soon to be published by Anthem Press.

Outside of his job, Roger was an enthusiastic hiker. Together we climbed all the Munros, Corbetts, Grahams and Donalds and all but the five St Kilda stacks of the 1,557 “Marilyns” (hills in the UK with a drop of 150m separating them from the next). We climbed the Munro A’Mhaighdean in 2019.

Although Roger broke his arm and hip in April 2020 and caught Covid-19 in hospital, he has recovered enough to reassemble all of his local Marilyns except one that summer. He also enjoyed birding on St Andrews Bay from our house and listening to live music from Fife bands.

He is survived by our daughter, Jean, four grandchildren and me.