Klibansky, Raymond 1905-2005

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Klibansky, Raymond 1905-2005


Born October 15, 1905, in Paris, France; immigrated to England, 1933; naturalized British citizen, 1938; died August 5, 2005, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; son of Hermann (wine merchant) and Rose (Scheidt) Kibansky; married Ethel Groffier.Education: Attended University of Hamburg, University of Kiel; University of Heidelberg, Ph.D., 1928; University of Oxford, M.A. by decree, 1936.Religion: Jewish.


University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany, lecturer in philosophy, 1931-33, professor emeritus, 1975-2005; University of London, King's College, London, England, lecturer in philosophy, 1934-36; University of Oxford, Oriel College, Oxford, England, lecturer in philosophy, 1936-46; McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Frothingham professor of logic and metaphysics, 1946-75, Emeritus Frothingham professor of logic and metaphysics, 1975-2005; University of Montreal, visiting professor of history and philosophy, 1947-68; University of Indiana, Mahlon Powell professor of philosophy, 1949-50; UNESCO chair of philosophy of law and politics, University of Quebec, 1999.

Served as visiting professor at universities, including University of Louvain in Belgium, University of Rome, University of Genoa, the Sorbonne, University of Tokyo, Keio University of Tokyo, University of Tehran, Aryamehr University of Tehran, and University of Venice. Military service: Served in the British Army during World War II, as Chief Intelligence Officer, P.W.E., Foreign Office, London, 1941-46.


Institute Internationale de Philosophie (president, 1966-69; honorary president, 1969-2005), Société Internationale pour l'étude de la Philosophie Médiévale (honorary president, 1972-2005), International Center for Anselm Studies, Centro di Studi Medievali e Rinasciementali, International Enrst Cassirer Society (honorary president, 1998), Royal Society of Canada, Royal Historical Society, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Academy of Athens, Academy Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences, Iranian Academy of Philosophy, Academy Mediterranean of Science, Medieval Academy of America, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (honorary foreign member), Association of Sciences of Romania, Warburg Institute,University of London (honorary fellow).


Gauss Medal, Braunschweig, 1990; Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, 1954, 1956; Lessing Prize, Senate of the Free City of Hamburg, 1994; Nonino Prize for "a personality of our time," Italy, 1995; Médaille de la Ville de Paris, 1999; Grand Officier de l'Ordre National du Québec; Companion, Order of Canada, 2000.


Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the Historical Nature of Philosophy, Religion, and Art, Nelson (London, England), 1964.

The Continuity of the Platonic Tradition During theMiddle Ages, Kraus International Publications (Millwood, NY), 1982.

Le Philosophe et la Memoire du Siècle: Tolerance, Liberté, et Philosophie (autobiography), Belle Lettres (Paris, France), 1998.


(With H.J. Paton) Philosophy and History: Essays Presented to Ernst Cassirer, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1936.

Plato, Plato Latinus, Warburg Institute (London, England), 1940.

(With Ernest C. Mossner) New Letters of David Hume, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1954.

(With others) Plato, Philebus and Epinomis, Nelson (New York, NY), 1956.

Philosophy in the Mid-Century: A Survey, New Italy (Florence, Italy), 1958.

(Author of preface) John Locke, A Letter on Toleration,Clarendon (Oxford, England), 1968.

Ernst Cassirer, Individuum und Kosmos in der Philosophie der Renaissance, Darmstadt (Berlin, Germany), 1969.

Benedetto Croce, My Philosophy: and Other Essays on the Moral and Political Problems of Our Time,AMS Press (New York, NY), 1977.

(With Guttorm Flaistad) Philosophy and Science in the Middle Ages, Kluwer Academic Publishers (Boston, MA), 1990.

(Author of foreword) Jeffrey Anthony Mitscherling,Roman Ingarden's Ontology and Aesthetics,University of Ottawa Press (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1996.

The Concept of French Expressionist Philosophy in Canada, University of Laval Press (Quebec City, Quebec, Canada), 1998.


Raymond Klibansky was born in Paris, France, and then moved to his father's native Germany with his family at the start of World War I. Klibansky began his study of philosophy at the University of Heidelberg, where he eventually went on to become a lecturer. Jewish by birth, Klibansky left Germany in 1933 for Great Britain, well in advance ofWorld War II, as the rise of the Nazi Party convinced him that he would be unable to further his career at a German university. In England he became a lecturer at King's College, London, and at Oriel College, Oxford. Klibansky became a British citizen in 1938. When war broke out, he worked for the local Foreign Office as a political intelligence officer. Shortly after the war, he moved to Canada, where he began a long-term association at McGill University as a professor of logic and metaphysics.

Throughout his travels, his studies in philosophy and classical philology continued. Although he came to be regarded as an expert in the interpretation of medieval and Renaissance philosophers, he was well versed in schools of thought from Plato to the modern day. He taught for many years, both at his own university and as a visiting professor around the world, and he wrote or edited a number of books in an effort to further understand various philosophical ideas. In his autobiography,Le Philosophe et la Memoire du Siècle: Tolerance, Liberté et Philosophie, he illustrated how the events of his life were shaped and affected by his philosophical studies. J. Duncan Berry, in a review for the New Criterion, called the book "a stunning testimony to how an individual can tap some of our civilization's deepest intellectual roots and play significant roles in our time's most demanding conflicts, all the while maintaining contact with some of the leading players of nineteenth- and twentieth-century intellectual history."



Klibansky, Raymond, Le Philosophe et la Memoire du Siècle: Tolerance, Liberté et Philosophie, Belle Lettres (Paris, France), 1998.


New Criterion, January, 1999, J. Duncan Berry, review of Le Philosophe et la Memoire du Siècle: Tolerance, Liberté, et Philosophie, p. 78.


Times Online,http://tls.timesonline.co.uk/ (July 1, 2006), Mark Hutchinson, "The Art of Melancholy."



Independent (London, England), November 3, 2005, Jill Kraye, "Professor Raymond Klibansky," p. 58.

Times (London, England), August 30, 2005, "Raymond Klibansky: Obituary."


McGill University Web site,http://www.mcgill.ca/(July 1, 2006), Jeff Roberts, "The Passing of a Moral Titan."

University of Montreal Web site,http://www.cceae.umontreal.ca/(July 1, 2006), "Disparition de Raymond Klibansky (1905-2005)."