SFU Philosophy Professor Phil Hanson Retires

September 23, 2018

SFU Philosophy announces the retirement of Associate Professor Phil Hanson.

SFU Philosophy announces the retirement of Associate Professor Phil Hanson, who taught his last class at the end of 2018 Spring semester.



The department marked Phil Hanson's retirement at the end of 2018 Summer semester with a reception held at the start of the fall term, inviting internationally renowned fellow philosophers, Calvin Normore and Jeff Pelletier, to celebrate Phil’s contributions to philosophy and to SFU.

Graduating in 1970 with First Class Honours in Philosophy from the University of Calgary, Phil went to Princeton University, where he was awarded a PhD in 1975. He joined SFU Philosophy in the Fall of 1976, following a two year appointment at the University of Toronto. At SFU, Phil has been a highly regarded teacher at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He describes his teaching as “…aligning nicely with my research interests, which are mainly in foundational issues in epistemology and metaphysics.” 

Calvin Normore re-imagines Phil as Captain Canada

During the reception, Phil reflected on his career and upcoming retirement:
“Being a professional philosopher involves a life of learning: of keeping up with developments in one’s field, understanding and evaluating them, of pursuing issues that arise. This isn’t easily done by oneself. Interacting with one’s colleagues and other philosophers plays an important role.”

And by ‘other philosophers’ Phil includes students; having supervised many honours tutorials and graduate MA projects, Phil considers working with them an integral part of his intellectual growth, a two-way street, for which he is grateful.

“Looking back on students I had the pleasure and honor of supervising and learning from over these 40 years, that is what I suspect I will miss the most in retirement.”

Phil teaching his last class earlier this year.

Stressing that this will be his one and only retirement, Phil’s plans include spending more time on the piano, aiming to regain technical expertise to play the music he loves, drawn from a broad range of classical music. When you pass his house, you’ll hear scales, arpeggios and broken four-note chords, to relearn technique and revive muscle memory. That is, if he’s not spending time on other planned activities such as travel, mountain hiking, spending time with family and friends.

We wish him all the best for his retirement, and thank him for his many valuable contributions and service to the department.