Susan Hurley died yesterday. Susan was a creative philosopher and a force of nature. She was a major contributor to the philosophy of mind, the foundations of cognitive science, and social and political philosophy. Her 1998 book Consciousness in Action is full of ideas and insights that can't be found elsewhere.
I first met Susan at the Tucson and Brussels consciousness conferences in 2000, and got to know her better on visits to Oxford and at the Santa Cruz summer institute in 2002 (here's a photo). We agreed on very little, but she was terrific company, and her ideas always repaid close attention. My paper with Tim Bayne, "What is the Unity of Consciousness?", started life in part as a commentary on Susan's work in a symposium at the Brussels ASSC conference in 2000. She was a frequent visitor to the ANU, and last year was offered a professorship here, although to our disappointment she ended up moving to Bristol instead. At the time of her death Susan had a contract for a book on the boundaries of the mind, co-authored with Alva Noe, in the book series I edit at Oxford University Press. I suppose that this book will now never see the light of day.
Susan was passionate about everything that she did, and had an unquenchable appetite for living and thinking. She treated her repeated battles with cancer as inconveniences that should not get in the way of doing philosophy. A month before she died, Susan organized a big conference on perception, action, and consciousness at Bristol, which by all accounts was a big success. She was due to visit ANU in early September and give a talk. Characteristically, she kept up this plan until near the end. It was only last Sunday that she e-mailed me to cancel, saying "I still hope that maybe I can make it there someday, but that may not be probable given my illness". She will be missed.