Thomas Robert Flynn, 1936 – 2024

Our dear colleague, Thomas Robert Flynn, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy, passed away on February 29, 2024.

Born in 1936 in Spokane, Washington, Professor Flynn went to Carroll College in Helena, Montana, followed by seminary at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1961, a vocation he continued throughout his life with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, Montana. Alongside his religious calling, he was called to teach. He earned a PhD in philosophy in 1970 from Columbia University and then went on to teach at Catholic University, Carroll College, and St. Mary’s in Baltimore. In 1978 he joined Emory’s philosophy faculty.

Professor Flynn was renowned for his work in French continental philosophy, especially the works of Jean-Paul Sartre and Michel Foucault. His publications include:

· Sartre and Marxist Existentialism: The Test Case of Collective Responsibility (Chicago, 1986)

· Sartre, Foucault, and Historical Reason

· (Vol. 1): Toward an Existentialist Theory of History (Chicago, 1997)

· (Vol. 2): A Post-structuralist Mapping of History (Chicago, 2005)

· Sartre: A Philosophical Biography (Cambridge, 2014)

Tom Flynn was a beloved professor, winning the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award in 1990 and the affection of generations of students.

In 2021, after learning he had Alzheimer’s disease, with much grace and equanimity he arranged to retire. One of the kindest human beings to have graced the planet, he will be dearly missed.

A complete notice can be found here.

Photo: Michael Alexander

Author: Michael Hodgin