Philosophy Professor Emeritus Walter Benesch

September 13, 2017

Naomi Horne

Philosopher and educator Walter Benesch passed away earlier this past month.

Benesch began teaching philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts in 1963. He retired from full-time teaching and research before the turn of the century but continued to teach, at times refusing a salary, for more than decade. He is remembered as one of Fairbanks’ most influential professors for many hundreds of students. He opened the door of serious philosophical inquiry and thought in a uniquely challenging and entertaining way.

After receiving his undergraduate education at Denver University in 1955, Benesch went on to receive a master's degree from the University of Montana in 1956 and a Ph.D. from Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck in Austria in 1963, and he engaged in postdoctoral research with the Indologische Institute in Munich.

Benesch continued the traditions of the philosophers before him publishing numerous papers, books and serving as a guest speaker on the topics of Eastern philosophy and comparative religions and logics. His writing spanned from five act plays to three-legged chickens. He will be greatly missed.

Current philosophy and humanities professor  Eduardo Wilner called Benesch “one of the most inspiring and uniquely gifted teachers and philosophers I have ever met. He was capable of blowing your mind off with discussions of alternative logics, the raising of turkeys, and/or comparisons between Greek and Chinese philosophies. Astonishingly, he made all this mental restructuring funny, and actually pleasant. The hole that his departure leaves in our university, and in our hearts, will be simply unfillable. ”

At the request of the family, no memorial service is being planned in Fairbanks at this time.