(September 22, 2009)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073.

Centenary Alum, Distinguished Philosopher Dies

William Alston
Dr. William Alston

SHREVEPORT, La.- Shreveport native and 1942 Centenary graduate, William P. Alston passed away at his home on September 13, 2009.

Born November 29, 1921, Alston graduated high school at the age of 15. At Centenary he was a member of the choir and majored in music performance (piano), before serving in the military during the Second World War. During the War, Alston fell in love with philosophy and taught himself as much about it as he could, enough that he was admitted to graduate study in Philosophy at the University of Chicago without ever having taken a philosophy course.

Receiving his Ph.D. in 1951, Alston went on to teach at the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Syracuse University where he has been Professor Emeritus since 1992 and continued to teach until 2000. He was also President of the American Philosophical Association, the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and the Society for Christian Philosophers.

Alston had a distinguished philosophical career working in the areas of epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophy of religion. He was a founding editor of the journal Faith and Philosophy and an early organizer of the Society of Christian Philosophers. He was also a central figure in the late 20th century revival of the philosophy of religion.

His publications include several anthologies; Philosophy of Language; more than 100 and fifty journal articles, many anthologized; 18 articles in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy; and numerous reviews. Two collections of his essays have been published by Cornell University Press: Epistemic Justification: Essays in Epistemology and Divine Nature and Human Language: Essays in Philosophical Theology. His most recent books are Perceiving God: A Study in the Epistemology of Religious Experience, The Reliability of Sense Perception, A Realist Conception of Truth, and Illocutionary Acts and Sentence Meaning.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.