In memoriam: Dr Alan Saunders, FAPSA Patron

In memoriam: Dr Alan Saunders, FAPSA Patron

Dr Alan Saunders

FAPSA is shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Dr Alan Saunders, Patron of FAPSA and well-known philosopher and broadcaster, who died of pneumonia in hospital on 15th June 2012. Alan served as Patron of FAPSA since early 2011. He delivered the keynote address at the VAPS Conference ‘Dare to Think’ in June 2011. (Please click here to download a copy of his address, “Sapere Aude”.) He was also a Judge at the Inaugural Australasian Philosothon in Sydney in 2011. Alan was a continuing champion of Philosophy in Schools, dedicating several episodes of his ABC Radio National program ‘The Philosopher’s Zone’ to the subject, including Philosophy in Schools and Ethics in the Classroom: An alternative to scripture and non-scripture classes?

The following article appeared on the ABC website on 16 June 2012:

While working on his ABC Radio National program The Philosopher’s Zone on Thursday afternoon, Alan fell ill and was taken to hospital where his condition deteriorated overnight. He died on Friday morning surrounded by colleagues and friends.

After joining Radio National in 1987, Dr Saunders founded The Food Program and worked as a presenter on By Design and Screen – a program about film and television. “In his 25 years with Radio National, Alan made a substantial contribution to the intellectual discourse in Australia and certainly to the enjoyment of his audiences,” ABC director of radio Kate Dundas said.”He had both a distinctive voice and a distinguished mind – a great combination for a presenter of engaging and thought-provoking radio.”

Born and educated in London, Dr Saunders studied philosophy at the University of Leicester, where he was also the president of the students’ union.He moved to Australia in 1981 to pursue research at the Australian National University’s History of Ideas Unit, where he was subsequently awarded a PhD.

In 1992, Dr Saunders was awarded the Pascall Prize for critical writing and broadcasting. In 2007 he was awarded the Australasian Association of Philosophy’s Special Media Prize. Dr Saunders was also the author of A is for Apple and Alanna.

Acting station manager Amanda Armstrong says Dr Saunders had an extraordinary mind. “He was equally at home talking about Plato, the role of vampires in popular culture or the history of the restaurant,” she said. “He wrote like an angel, and had a deep knowledge of music, among many other areas, including philosophy, gastronomy, architecture, design and film.”

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