In memoriam

James Wong
(Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University)
1955 – 2016

Professor James Wong, Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, passed away on December 4, 2016. Professor Wong was a member of the CPA for more than 25 years. He was born in Hong Kong in 1955, and moved to Toronto in 1967. He received his BA in philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1987, his MA in philosophy from York University in 1988 and his PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1994. Wong, his wife and son moved to Waterloo in 1998. He joined the faculty at Laurier that same year, first with the Department of Communication Studies, where he served as chair from 2002 to 2004. He was also chair of the Department of Religion and Culture from 2011 to 2012, and chair in the Department of Philosophy from 2011 to 2014, where he most recently served as associate professor. He was also program coordinator for the Philosophy, Political Science & Economics program from 2009 to 2011.

Wong's research interests included epistemic injustice and the democratization of knowledge. He was also interested in the intersection between values and knowledge, with particular emphasis on autonomy in Foucault.

Wong was a well-published academic, with articles on social identities, epistemology, Foucault and media ethics appearing in The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Philosophia, Canadian Journal of Political Science, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, Canadian Journal of Communication, and International Studies in the Philosophy of Science. He also published co-edited volumes, including those with colleagues Cheryl Hughes and David Checkland.

Prior to joining Laurier, Wong taught philosophy at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. He also worked in organic photochemistry, and held a M.Sc. and B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Toronto, which he earned before studying philosophy.

Alastair Thomson McKinnon
(Professor Emeritus, McGill University)
May 25, 1925 – November 6, 2016

Alastair died peacefully in Toronto in his ninety-second year after a long period of declining health. Husband and beloved companion for sixty- three years of Millie (Sutton) McKinnon (2010). Dear father of Catherine (Larry Pfaff), Christine (William Seager), and Angus (Barb McKinnon); and loving grandfather of Alexander and Rosalind Pfaff, Emma, Tessa and Ned Seager, and Andrew (2013), Stuart and Cameron McKinnon. Alastair is survived by his two brothers, Stuart (Ottawa) and Kenneth (Guelph); and predeceased by his brother, Douglas and his sister, Elinor.

Alastair spoke warmly of the many opportunities life had afforded him. Born on a farm in Erin Township, Ontario, he served in the Canadian Navy in World War II, and graduated from Victoria College, University of Toronto (1947) before earning an M.A. (Toronto), Ph.D (Edinburgh), and B.D. (McGill). He spent his forty- year academic career in the Department of Philosophy at McGill, as Macdonald Professor of Moral Philosophy from 1971 and serving as Chair of Philosophy (1975–1983). He was President of the Canadian Theological Society 1959–60 and the Canadian Philosophical Association in 1979–80.

Alastair's 1950 doctoral thesis on Soren Kierkegaard propelled much of his future scholarship and took him to Copenhagen for several productive sojourns in the 1980s and 1990s. A pioneer in the use of computers for the study of philosophical texts, he published a concordance to Kierkegaard's collected works in 1971, the first electronic text of the philosopher's writings in 1988, multiple papers based on statistical analysis of the texts and, in the 1990s, with a Danish colleague, played a crucial role in conceiving the development of a new critical edition of Kierkegaard's collected works. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1981), a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog (1995), and Doctor of Humane Letters (St. Olaf College, Minnesota, 1998).

Active and enthusiastic, Alastair took his young family camping and on travels across Europe, and later built a sailboat with them. He organized scrub baseball for neighbourhood children and enjoyed hosting visitors to Montreal. He could sew, build furniture, fix most household items, and advocated conservation practices long before most. He drove a two-seater MG sports car in the early 1950s, skated well, walked regularly, played an expert game of croquinole, and followed CBC Radio closely. While attached to his old rural Ontario roots, he was always outward looking and curious, mentoring international students, working collaboratively with a wide range of international colleagues and eager to explore the places his work took him. Raised in the Christian Disciples Church in Hillsburgh, he attended and served at the former Erskine and American United Church, Montreal for fifty years. He and Millie moved from Montreal in 2001, and after two years in Peterborough, settled in Toronto in retirement.

The family is grateful for the care provided over the last seven years by the staff of Christie Gardens and, in particular, for the loving attention of special caregivers, Luz and Jessie.

Cremation has taken place. A family service will be held followed by interment at the Coningsby Cemetery, Wellington County. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Oxfam (online or at 39 McArthur Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1L 8L7).