Fabian Dorsch, an Associate Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Fribourg, died unexpectedly on February 21 at the impossibly young age of 42.
As anyone who knew him could attest, Fabian kept enormously busy as a philosopher, and it was amazing how well he juggled his numerous writing projects alongside his editorial duties, conference organizing, and grant proposals. After having received his PhD from University College London in 2005, Fabian spent time in Berkeley, Glasgow, and Paris (among other places) before taking up his position in Fribourg. Working on issues at the intersection of philosophy of mind, epistemology, and aesthetics, he had in recent years published numerous articles on imagination, hallucination, and perception. Having founded the European Society for Aesthetics in 2008, Fabian continued to serve as its secretary, and he had also served since 2012 as the editor of Estetika: the Central European Journal of Aesthetics.
At the time of his death, Fabian was completing a monograph on imagination due to be published in the Routledge New Problems in Philosophy series. Those of us working on imagination and related issues have long been highly anticipating the publication of this monograph, and one can only hope that he left a draft close enough to completion so that the monograph will still come out next year as scheduled. He was also shepherding two co-edited volumes to completion – one on Phenomenal Presence and one on Perceptual Memory and Perceptual Imagination. As someone with pieces slated to appear in both volumes, I am no doubt biased, but I think it’s fair to say that both of these volumes too are highly anticipated and, also, that they are expected to make a significant contribution to the literature in these areas.
It was always a pleasure to talk about philosophy with Fabian – indeed, it was always a pleasure to talk about anything with Fabian – and I myself can recall numerous times in which I learned from him about topics ranging from music to history, from politics to parenthood. I know that my own thinking about imagination was positively influenced by the conversations that I had with him, and by my engagement with his work, and it’s hard to believe that I’ll never again have the benefit of his comments.
Fabian leaves behind a wife, Evgenia and son, Maxim, to whom we all send our heartfelt condolences. He will be very much missed.