Memorial: Jim Cargile

 Hugh and I met in 1964, my final year of graduate study, and became fast friends. Over the years, he occasionally visited us in Virginia and we occasionally met with him in England. Hugh was a highly constructive philosopher and would elaborate on the views of philosophers he admired, such as Frank Ramsey. He was endlessly patient with my habitually critical attitude. One of his memorable comments was that it was too bad writers I was criticizing did not know me personally, to see that I was really not unfriendly. He himself had numerous philosopher friends and could conduct substantial disagreements with an unfailing sense of conviviality. His talent for acting and love of theater was related to his easy way with people and peace with himself and others. Stage fright is a form of awkwardness, and Hugh’s confidence was opposite to those handicaps. He perfectly combined modesty and self-assertion.

On one of his visits in Virginia, we took him to the Blackfriar’s Playhouse in Staunton for a Christopher Marlowe play. His perceptive praise of that performance filled us with vicarious pride. We spent February, 2020 in London and Hugh came down for a play by a contemporary Nigerian. As always, he was a rich source of information without ever pressing it on anyone. We went up to Cambridge to visit him and with his typical generosity he arranged for me to present a talk. He and my wife were almost half the audience. dinner afterwards included a majority of the audience and was very pleasant. At that time, he was walking with a cane, but seemed vigorous and happy as usual. Our last correspondence was about a paper he was co-authoring. As often happened, we got into disagreement about a point. After a fairly extensive exchange, he wrote “You are right”. The paper was published posthumously, and reading his friendly acknowledgment brought a tear to my eye. He was a valued friend and his death is a painful loss.

James Cargile, Emeritus Professor at the University of Virginia