We note, with sadness, the passing of our author Ralph Pred on May 15 at the age of 72. Pred was the author of the 2005 book Onflow: Dynamics of Consciousness and Experience, an account of the nature of consciousness that brought the work of Alfred North Whitehead and William James into an original synthesis.
He led an unconventional life for a philosopher, as you can read in this warmly revealing obituary sent to us by his son, Noah Pred:
Ralph Pred • July 9, 1939 - May 15, 2012
Philosopher, scholar, activist, author, and community organizer Ralph Pred passed away, unexpectedly and without suffering, Tuesday, May 15, in the presence of his wife, Mallory. His was a life of books, deep listening, thoughtful conversation, and mindful walking among the flowers, trees and birds.
Born in the Bronx in 1939, influenced by his father's linguistic skills, his mother's musicianship, and the death of a great aunt in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Ralph set upon a path of social justice and life-long learning. After attending Bronx Science High School, his passion for illuminating the mysteries of experience led to studies at Antioch, NYU, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ralph took a break from university studies to work in numerous community organization initiatives, notably as director of poverty programs in Boston and Cape Cod, and spent several summers as counsellor, then director of a children’s summer camp in Massachusetts.
Returning to school in 1975, Ralph earned a masters degree at San Francisco State, and later, a PhD in Philosophy from UC Berkeley. His thesis contained the seeds of his later independent scholarship, where his enduring alignment with the work of Alfred North Whitehead and William James would bloom.
In 1990, Ralph relocated from Berkeley to Salt Spring Island in British Columbia with Mallory and their son, Noah. During this period he worked variously as a consultant and technical writer for PARC and EPRI. Over the years, Ralph made many contributions to the local community; his reverence for Pacific Northwest ecology and its natural beauty lead to his active engagement in preservation of the island's habitat, inhabitants and culture.
The culmination of decades of scholarship, study and rigorous observation, Ralph's book Onflow: Dynamics of Consciousness and Experience - his treatise on an unbroken, process-oriented account of a monism of pure experience - was published by MIT Press in 2005. Left unfinished, his second book was well underway.
Ralph leaves behind his loving wife of 38 years, his son, and an extended family in Berkeley and New York, including his stepson Martin Jones and wife Suzanne, his sister Suzanne Pred Bass and brother-in-law Lane Bass, his sisters-in-law Linda and Hjordis, nieces Michele, Emily, Becky, and Willa, nephews Joseph and Tobias, grand-nieces Linnea and Emma, and his grand-nephew Sebastian. Ralph’s brother Allan, with whom he was very close in thought and feeling, passed before him in 2007. Kind, careful and gentle, yet not afraid to stand for what he knew to be right, Ralph was a private man who is dearly missed by his family and all who knew and loved him.