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Douglas Clark Long

In Remembrance
May 25, 1932 – June 27, 2023


Douglas Clark Long passed away on June 27, 2023. He was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he taught for thirty-eight years. His family was also devoted to the teaching profession. He was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Dwight Clark Long, who was a professor of history at the University, and Marjorie Isabel Grant, who taught high school for many years. His older brother, Robert Grant Long, served as a cartographic and photographic officer in the Navy in the Pacific during WWII and taught geography as a professor at the University of Tennessee.

Douglas graduated from Ann Arbor High School and with honors at the University of Michigan with an A.B. in Philosophy (1954). He attended graduate school at Harvard University where he earned M.A. (1955) and Ph. D. (1963) degrees in philosophy.  While there he was awarded a Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship to study at the University of Oxford where he affiliated with Corpus Christi College to learn from Professor John L. Austin. During that year, he also traveled to Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, and to the World’s Fair in Brussels. The next year he returned to Harvard where he met his wife-to-be, Annie, in a small hamburger joint in Harvard Square as she was reading an article about philosopher Bertrand Russell. He took a position teaching philosophy at the University of University of California, Los Angeles in the fall of 1960. He and Annie married in August 1961 and moved to Los Angeles where he taught at UCLA and his son Matthew was born. In 1967, they moved to Chapel Hill where he joined the philosophy department at UNC and his son Jonathan was born.

His teaching specialties were epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and the philosophy of mind. He published articles on those topics in the best journals in his field, and six of his essays were requested by other authors for inclusion as chapters in their anthologies. During his career, he held visiting positions at the University of Washington in Seattle and at Brown University in Providence. In 1978 he introduced a course in bioethics which grew into a lecture course attended by hundreds of students over many years and eventually a separate curriculum allied with the medical school.  He later served as chair of the department for five years before beginning a phased retirement.

Douglas spent many enjoyable years in Chapel Hill with its easy access to the local library, fine arts, and gardens. He and his wife were long-time supporters of the Nasher and North Carolina art museums, the UNC and Ralston botanical gardens, and the Carolina Ballet. Like his father and grandfather, he was fond of travel within Europe and the US, especially the National Parks and the far west to visit his son Jonathan.  Through the Ralston Garden, he and his wife traveled to Cuba, and to the Chelsea Flower Show and many other gardens in England.

Douglas is survived by his wife of nearly 62 years, Annie Groven Long; son Matthew Groven Long and grandson Douglas William Long, both of Maryland; and son Jonathan Wilson Long, daughter-in-law Mary Adelzadeh Long, and grandsons Jackson Keyonnie Long and Samuel Yazzie Long, all of Davis, California. Douglas will be remembered as a deeply thoughtful, conscientious, and kind human being, husband, father, grandfather and teacher. In lieu of services, Jonathan is planning a virtual remembrance, probably for the afternoon of July 30, to celebrate his life and share stories. Jonathan can be contacted through Facebook and will read comments left on the site. In lieu of flowers, Douglas would have appreciated well-wishers to consider donating to charities consistent with his love of environmental conservation, justice, and the arts.

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