Robert Lee Arrington

October 19, 1938June 20, 2015

ROBERT LEE ARRINGTON was born on October 19, 1938 at the Flint River Hospital in Bainbridge, Georgia. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lee W. Arrington of Havana, Florida. Growing up in Havana, he attended Havana High School, graduating in 1956 as Valedictorian of his class. He attended Georgia Institute of Technology from 1956 through 1957, transferring in 1957 to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, Arrington studied creative writing with the renowned Fugitive poet, Donald Davidson, who described one of Arrington’s early poems as “dipping into the deep springs of pure poetry.” Mr. Arrington graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt in 1960, with a major in philosophy, winning a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to attend the graduate program at Harvard University. Instead, he went to graduate school in philosophy at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he was awarded a National Defense Education Act Fellowship for three years. He obtained his M.A. degree in philosophy in 1962 and his Ph.D. in 1966. Mr. Arrington married Senorita Margarita Elena Barahona of San Salvador, El Salvador in 1961. They had two children, Karen Belinda Arrington in 1962 and Lisa Rae-Marie Arrington in 1964. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversity in 2011 in New Orleans, where they met and fell in love. In 1963 Mr. Arrington became an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Additionally, he served as Assistant Editor of The Southern Quarterly for two years at Mississippi Southern. In 1966 he became Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State College in Atlanta, which became Georgia State University in 1969. Progressing through the ranks to Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State, he became Chair of the Department of Philosophy in 1978. In 1967, he won the Griffith Award for best paper by a junior member at the annual conference of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology. Dr. Arrington also won an American Council of Learned Societies Research grant in 1974, which he used to study and do research at the University of Oxford, England. While at Oxford, he studied with Dr. P.M.S. Hacker, the preeminent international authority on the philosophy of Wittgenstein, and with the renowned legal scholar, H.L.A .Hart. In 1980, Dr. Arrington was appointed Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State. In this capacity, he served as Dean of the Graduate School in the College of Arts and Sciences. He also served as Acting Dean of Arts and Sciences for a year and a half in 1990-92, after which he returned to the faculty as Chair of the Department of Philosophy. Upon his retirement in 2000, he was named Professor and Chair Emeritus of Philosophy at Georgia State. Dr. Arrington was a member of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology and the American Philosophical Association. Arrington was an aficianado of classical music. His favorite composer was Beethoven, but while living in England, he encountered the early 20th century British symphonic music of Parry and Stanford and developed an ardent taste for the later works of Bax, Moeran, and Lloyd. In literature, he became a fan of Scandinavian noir thrillers as well as the novels of Thomas Bernhard. He is the author of Realism, Rationalism, and Relativism (Cornell University Press, 1989) and Western Ethics (Blackwell Publishers, 1994) which was published in English and translated into Korean. Several of his other writings were translated into Spanish. He also was the author of more than fifty scholarly articles, one of which, “Advertising and Behavior Control,” was anthologized six times. Dr. Arrington was editor or co-editor of five collections of essays, one of which was the Blackwell Companion to the Philosophers. He wrote numerous book reviews for the Sewanee Review, one of the oldest literary journals in the country, as well as for professional philosophical journals. He was widely recognized as a Wittgenstein scholar and as an authority in ethics. He and his wife traveled widely as he delivered professional papers in Bielefel and Berlin, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Palermo, Sicily; Mexico City and Guadalahara, Mexico; and Seville and Santiago, Spain. Dr. Arrington left behind two complete manuscripts, Assault on the Mind and Wittgensteinian Preoccupations which will be published in English and Spanish. In 2012, he was invited to occupy the Ludwig Wittgenstein Professorship at the University of Vera Cruz, Mexico, where he read several papers and conducted seminars on the philosophy of Wittgenstein, an Austrian philosopher who has been described as one of the two geniuses of 20th Century philosophy. He is survived by his wife, Margarita, two daughters, Karen Evans of Southern California, and Lisa Arrington, of Atlanta. He was the proud grandfather of Chelsea Palmer, Ashley Edwards, and Lee Evans. Arrington was forever grateful to his parents, especially his mother, who reared him after the early death of his father, and to the small town of Havana, Florida, where he grew up in a warm and nurturing environment. The family will receive friends Tuesday, June 23 from 11am to 1pm at Oglethorpe Hill. The burial will take place in Havana, Florida. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Humane Society or the American Heart Association. H.M. Patterson & Son, Oglethorpe Hill, 4550 Peachtree Road, NE, Brookhaven, Georgia, 30319.


  • Visitation

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Robert Lee Arrington

have a memory or condolence to add?

Christopher Graves

July 31, 2016

Dr. Arrington taught a number of classes that I was fortunate enough to have enrolled in while I was a student at Georgia State. I had been studying political science at Emory, but changed my course of study to philosophy largely because of taking Dr. Arrington's History of Modern Philosophy one summer at Georgia State. I took any number of other classes with him. I would take any class he offered because I would always learn something insightful in each class, which covered many different areas of philosophy.

I still remember his deep resonant voice as I read or teach philosophy to this day. Even though we disagreed on politics and religion and even the nature of philosophy itself, Dr. Arrington was an inspiration to me and remains so.

I went on to earn a Master's Degree in philosophy at Georgia State. Dr. Arrington stuck with me and came to my aid when it looked dark for me. He went to great lengths to help through the harrowing process of writing a thesis. I shall always remember his kindness and personal loyalty to me.

Tere Pulliam

July 16, 2015

Mrs Arrington,
We are so sorry to hear of Dr Arrington's passing. I want you to know how much we love "our" home at Big Canoe and we think of you often. You will be in our prayers, I know how difficult this time is for you and your family. May God Bless you and comfort you.
Tere and Larry Pulliam


July 2, 2015

My deepest sympathy to the family. May God give you the peace and comfort you need to cope with the loss of your loved one. Psalms 94:18,19

July 2, 2015

July 2
To family and friends. I am sorry for your loss. May the true God, grant your the needed strength at difficult time. Ecc. 9:4 you have my deepest sympathy.

Keith Parsons

June 29, 2015

Bob was a brilliant philosopher and a warm, compassionate, and nurturing mentor and colleague. I met him in 1979 when my graduate career had stalled and he guided me back on track. As a teacher, he had no ax to grind at all and only wanted each student to learn to think clearly and rigorously. His teaching style became a model for my own. I will always remember him with fondness and gratitude. I am sure that his family will mourn his loss, but they can take comfort in the fact that they shared their lives with a man of such splendid intellect and character.

Mary Nell Stone

June 29, 2015

I was sad to see Dr. Arrington's obituary in Sunday's paper. I have several fond memories of him as a teacher (I was a Philosophy major) and as my boss (I worked for him when he as Associate Dean). He was always kind and thoughtful. He was one of the good guys. As years passed and I moved around the University, we would cross paths from time to time and he would always stop and speak with me. And I'll never forget that first day in his class on Relativism, when he whipped out his little cat figurine and stated in stentorian tones, "the cat is on the mat"!!
Condolences to his family.

June 29, 2015

So sorry for your loss. I know God will help you to endure. His word encourages us to throw our burdens on God and he will sustain you ( Psalms 55 : 22 ).

Robert Vinten

June 28, 2015

Sincere condolences to Bob Arrington's family. I was a student of his between 1998 and 2000 at Georgia State. I have very fond memories of classes with him. He was extremely impressive as a philosopher - he has shaped my philosophical perspective to a great extent - but he was also an extremely nice guy. Somebody else said that he was a gentleman and I think that word fits him well. He was always generous with his time, polite, warm, and witty. A wonderful man and the best teacher I've had.


June 28, 2015

May the God of all comfort strengthen the family during this time of deep sorrow. Those who pass on, God keeps in his memory because they are precious in his eyes. My sincerest condolences.
Psalms 116:15

June 28, 2015

May the God of all comfort be with you during this difficult time