Search Google Appliance

Professor Dan Passell, In Memoriam


We would like to honor Professor Dan Passell who passed away Saturday, July 5th. Professor Passell taught for the Department for many years with interests in Logic, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Analytic Philosophy, the Philosophy of Language, among others. He was a wonderful thinker with a vast array of interests and seemed to be able to talk about anything. He was also a great friend to many and a pleasure to be around. Below are what his friends and colleagues have offered as an honor to our memory of him. If you have anything you'd like to share, please contact our office manager.


"Some years ago, after retiring from the University of California, Irvine, it was my pleasure to give courses in logic and in the philosophy of science in your department. As I recall, it was for a term in each of three years. During that time my closest colleague was Dan Passell. We were friends both professionally and socially.
        I found him to be not only an interesting philosopher, but a man very much concerned with his students. He had an engaging, nonaggressive personality that made him attractive to students. Always willing to talk with them about anything at any time, I remember being evicted on more than one occasion from his office. He was immediately and invariably available to students in distress or who needed urgent academic advice.
         Though educated at the finest universities, he was nevertheless a man of great humility and diffidence. Informed, he was very easy to talk to, about matters of professional interest, and had a wonderful sense of humour. More than anything else he was a kind man."

- Karel Lambert
Emeritus Professor of Logic and The Philosophy of Science
Universities of California, Irvine, and Salzburg, Austria



I wanted to express my condolences to the Philosophy department of PSU, on the recent passing of Dan Passell. Prof. Passell was an instructor of mine in Winter of 2005. I was a Philosophy major, and I took his Aristotle course. Although the subject was often dry and complicated for me, he always found a way to make it interesting and encouraged critical thinking. When meeting him during office hours, I would often ask him how he was doing, and his common refrain was “no change”. It often made me laugh. He was always so supportive and helpful. He was a tough grader, but I enjoyed the office conversations he and I would have on philosophical topics.

He was one of my favorite instructors at Portland State, and he will be deeply missed. He helped to instill a love of Philosophy in me, to tackle the bigger issues that concern human reason. While I didn’t graduate from PSU in my major, I did attain my degree in Philosophy from a different school due to various life circumstances. To this day, I tend to examine life from a perspective of philosophical inquiry - and Prof. Passell’s influence factors into that motivation.

Warmest regards and condolences to the department during this difficult time.

-Rev. Berthel



You know that crow that saved some part of a day that Robert Frost had rued?  Dan often stopped by my office--his own old office--and perked me up, sometimes from a day that I had rued.  We could jibber-jabber together for hours on whatever topics came up.  The conversations seemed to have a life of their own, and the two of us were just along for the ride.  It was a good ride, and I'll miss it.

-Dave Weber
Senior Instructor of Philosophy
Portland State University

Professor Passel's obituary can be found here.