It is with sorrow that I learn of the death of Allen
Phillips Griffith, or Griff as we all knew him as, in the department of
philosophy 1979-’82, at the University of Warwick; though some LA members
attended as philosophy students later than those dates. Griff was the Professor
of Philosophy there from about 1965, when the University officially opened,
till the early 1990s.

Griff was an admirer of Ludwig Wittgenstein, whom he
thought had improved philosophy greatly, allowing many things to be said way
more aptly and concisely than before this seminal philosopher had made his
contributions, as well as allowing later philosophers to express many new

Griff used to deliver an annual lecture in the
spring of every year to the students homosexual society to share a bit of
Wittgensteinian wisdom with them viz. that they never could quite fall in love,
as there was no option of marriage, a societal institution that, alone, allowed romantic love to have a
full meaning. I did recently wonder whether this lecture might have been,
finally, rendered defunct by the resent legislation, but I never did ask Griff
if he thought that was now the case.

After his, to
me at least, surprise conversion to Roman Catholicism in the mid-‘80s, he
exclaimed, echoing a celebrated question of Wittgenstein, when I went to see
him to ask why he had converted from atheism, that it was no different
metaphysically. I always thought, and I still tend to do so, that the world
would look very different if it did happen to have a caring creator. It would
then not look as it does now.

Griff was not very much impressed by recent
Continental Philosophy and the day after hearing Jacques Derrida give an
evening talk in London, in the early 1980s, he expressed his disapproval to an
early morning philosophy class that he took back at the University of Warwick
the next day.

Griff attended a few of the student’s University of
Warwick Debating Society’s lunchtime and
also the evening debates, and also he gave a talk at one LA meeting in London
in the late 1980s at the LSE, before he retired. However, he felt that it was
too far to travel from Nottingham, where he moved to on retiring from the
University in the early 1990s, to once again address the LA in London.

Griff found a home in the Tory, or the UK Conservative,
Party early on, but he often said that he was a Tory anarchist, maybe being
influenced by some of Edmund Burke’s early writings in imitation of Robert

For a long time, Griff championed the writings of
Joseph Butler in ethics.

It is sad to think that Griff is no longer with us.