I just learned that Denis Dutton has died at only 66. Others knew him as a professor of philosophy or media commentator; to me he was the guy who ran the website Arts & Letters Daily, which I read every day (and occasionally corresponded with him about) back around the turn of the millennium and sporadically in the years since—it was always thought-provoking, but there was just too much else to read. If I knew that he was a native Californian, I’d forgotten it; he got his PhD in philosophy from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1975, so I might have passed him on the street when I was visiting my parents in that lovely city all those years ago. Since 1984 he’s been teaching at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. His voracious and wide-ranging interest in ideas and his enthusiasm for sharing them will be greatly missed.


  1. This is a moving tribute. I will go off-topic this once to alert folks that if you google Al Franken/Huffington Post there are two good stories about the FCC making alarming rulings that would affect websites like this one regarding net neutrality. Corporate websites should be banned from “priority pricing” that lets them buy the fast lanes on the Internet, leaving us in the slow. We need a Paul Revere community of independent bloggers so we can alert each other to crucial upcoming FCC rulings and make our voices heard.

  2. Frankly, the amount of bandwidth required to support a text-only website like Language Hat is insignificant by anyone’s standards. Net neutrality is important on many grounds, but the self-interest of small bloggers isn’t one of them.

  3. It’s a sad loss. I came across A&L Daily early in my internet-surfing days and immediately began visiting it on a regular basis. The quality of its diverse selections was consistently high, and it introduced me to many writers, websites and ideas I might otherwise not have encountered.

Speak Your Mind