Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Blake, Ralph M.

Ralph Mason Blake (1889-1950), professor of philosophy, was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, on July 19, 1889. He graduated from Williams College in 1911 and earned A.M. and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard in 1912 and 1915. He was instructor in philosophy at Princeton from 1915 to 1917, acting professor at Wells College for one year, and was named assistant professor at the University of Washington in 1919. He was visiting professor at the University of Chicago in 1927, at Harvard in 1928, and at Columbia in 1941. He came to Brown as professor in 1930 and taught until his death in Providence on April 15, 1950. Professor C. J. Ducasse described Blake in a memorial minute:

“His knowledge of the history of philosophy, and especially of medieval philosophy, was extraordinarily extensive, minute, accurate, and independent. But he was interested also and highly competent in the several main fields of systematic philosophy.... Many remarked on his unusual capacity to project himself for the time being into the points of view of the philosophers whose doctrines he expounded. Even when he personally disagreed with them, no advocate could have been more scrupulously faithful to their thought than he was, or have presented it more sympathetically and plausibly.”