Princeton Weekly Bulletin September 13, 1998


Margaret Dauler Wilson

Margaret Dauler Wilson, 59, Stuart Professor of Philosophy, died on August 27.

A philosopher whose interests focused on the history of early modern philosophy, Wilson also worked on philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind and theory of perception. Recent teaching and research interests also included issues involved in attributing mental states and moral status to animals, as well as environmental ethics.

Author of Descartes (1978), as well as many articles on l7th and 18th-century metaphysics and epistemology, Wilson was editor of The Essential Descartes (1969) and coeditor with D. Brock and R. Kuhns of Philosophy: An Introduction (1972). At the time of her death she had just completed a collection of her essays, "Ideas and Mechanism," to be published by Princeton University Press.

Born in Pittsburgh, Wilson received her AB from Vassar College in 1960 and her PhD in philosophy from Harvard University in 1965. After a year at Oxford University on a Marshall Fellowship, she taught at Columbia University for two years and at the Rockefeller Institute (now University) for three.

She joined the Princeton faculty as associate professor in 1970 and was promoted to professor in 1975. She became Stuart Professor earlier this year. She served as director of graduate studies and was on a number of University committees.

Wilson held Guggenheim and ACLS fellowships and was a Centennial Medalist of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1989. Elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992, she received the Behrman Award for distinguished achievement in the humanities in 1994.

Active in professional organizations, Wilson served as vice-president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association for 1993-94 and president for 1994-95. She was a past president of the Leibniz Society of North America and a member of many other associations, including the Hobbes Society, Hume Society, North American Spinoza Society and British Society for the History of Philosophy.

Wilson also devoted time and energy to environmental, population and animal welfare issues. She was a member of the Franklin Township Planning Board and the Franklin Township Environmental Commission. She combined her love of conservation and wildlife preservation with world travel. A trip to the Galapagos Islands had long been planned for the week in which she died.

Wilson is survived by her husband, Emmett. A memorial service is to be held in the University Chapel this fall.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the N.J. Audubon Society, 9 Hardscrabble Road, Box 126, Bernardsville, N.J. 07924; World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037; or Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 810 Seventh Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10019.