Phillips, Dewi Zephaniah 1934-2006

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Phillips, Dewi Zephaniah 1934-2006


See index for CA sketch: Born November 24, 1934, in Swansea, Wales; died July 25, 2006, in Swansea, Wales. Educator and author. Phillips was a philosophy professor who was a noted scholar of Ludwig Wittgenstein. He was a graduate of the University College of Swansea, where he earned a B.A. in 1956 and an M.A. in 1958, and St. Catherine's, Oxford, where he received a B.Litt. in 1961. A member of the Congregational church, he also studied for the ministry and was once asked to be a minister at Fabian's Bay Congregational Church in Swansea, but he never received his ordination. Instead, Phillips focused on his academic work, fascinated by philosophy and theology. He taught at the University of St. Andrews in the early 1960s, then was on the faculty at the University of Wales. Here he became a professor of philosophy in 1971 and was head of the department at the University College of Swansea from 1971 to 1992. He also served as dean of the arts faculty from 1982 to 1985 and vice principal from 1989 until 1992. That year, he moved to California. He was Danforth Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of California at Claremont, where he organized an annual conference on religion and philosophy. He had returned to Swansea on a research trip when he passed away. As a scholar, Phillips was noted for his interest in logic and expertise on Wittgenstein. Influenced by Wittgenstein's writings on language, he held the controversial position that philosophy and religion were not necessarily inextricably linked, but rather that religion was centered on culture and language. In other words, religion was not fundamentally an intellectual exercise that required a philosophical basis. He expressed his position most notably in his 1988 book, Faith after Foundationalism. Other works by Phillips include The Concept of Prayer (1965), Religion without Explanation (1976), and Wittgenstein and Religion (1993). Phillips's interest in language was not limited to its role in philosophy and religion, but also extended to his interest in his native Welsh. He advocated the more extensive teaching of Welsh, especially in schools in Wales, and was a founder of the Taliesin Arts Center in Swansea. This work led to his being named an honorary member of the National Eisteddfod's Gorsedd Circle.



Los Angeles Times, August 8, 2006, p. B11. Times (London, England), July 25, 2006, p. 62.

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Phillips, Dewi Zephaniah 1934-2006

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