Francisco Miró Quesada (December 21, 1918 - June 11, 2019)
The passing of Francisco Miró Quesada Cantuarias on June 11, 2019 is a great loss. During his exceptionally long life, Paco – as his friends called him - devoted himself to many intellectual and practical activities, and achieved first class results in each of them. To say that he earned a fine international reputation as a philosopher is certainly correct, but it does not capture the variety of philosophical domains in which he made important original contributions. These range from philosophy of law to political philosophy, logic, epistemology, and philosophy of science, just to mention the most significant areas. His most salient professional merits, however, are linked with fields of research in which he played a pioneering role. One example is the domain of paraconsistent logic (i.e. a special kind of non-classical formal logic in which certain partial forms of contradiction are admitted without entailing the collapse into triviality of the entire system). Paco was among the initiators of this logic and even the inventor of the term “paraconsistent”, and had fruitful collaboration with Newton Da Costa and his school that produced significant developments of this logic (especially in Brazil). Another example is the search for a characterization of Latin American philosophy that could positively recognize itself outside the sterile polemics against colonialism and eurocentrism. The seminal ideas of this project were elaborated by a group of Mexican scholars known as the “Grupo Hiperion” between 1948 and 1952, and were applied to the Peruvian context by Francisco Miró Quesada, who promoted the recognition and acknowledgment of the great value of the indigenous cultures of the pre-colonial history.
The success of Paco's work in these domains was based on scrupulously solid background preparation that included a professional competence in certain domains of advanced mathematics and formal logic, as well as a command of certain Peruvian indigenous languages . These skills enabled him to access “first hand” sources in these fields instead of relying on secondary literature. He was also gifted with a natural talent for languages: Paco was fluent in Spanish, French, English, German and Italian. While Spanish was his mother language, and Italian came from his having studied the high school at a private Italian college in Lima, he acquired the other languages through the broad spectrum of his readings and his international contacts and activities (including his service as Peru's ambassador to France). This diplomatic work was only a minor part of his political commitments. He occupied important positions in the political life of his country, including Minister of Education.
For the International Federation of Philosophical Societies it is a particular point of pride to have had Miró Quesada as its President from 1993 to 1998. He contributed to the appreciation of FISP within the philosophical community as an institution not merely concerned with organizational tasks, but as one reaching out to the highly reputed philosophers to achieve its goals. Paco's work for FISP is in keeping with the fact that he was a member of many learned societies, both of international and of national nature. He will be remembered not only as a philosopher or learned intellectual, but as a man who appreciated art, cultivated music and dance, and enjoyed the fullness of life. This is why his human temperament was so deeply attractive to everyone who had the privilege of getting to know him and enjoy his warm friendship.