Obituary: Lynne Baker, Retired Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

Lynne Baker
Lynne Baker

Lynne Rudder Baker, 73, of Amherst, a retired Distinguished Professor of philosophy, died Dec. 24.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, on Feb. 14, 1944, she received a B.A. in mathematics and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University.

She taught at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia for four years and at Middlebury College in Vermont for 13 years before coming to UMass Amherst in 1989. She was named Distinguished Professor in 2005, and retired in 2013.

Most of Baker's research and teaching centered on the philosophy of mind and metaphysics, beginning with her first book, “Saving Belief: A Critique of Physicalism” in 1987. Other woks “Explaining Attitudes: A Practical Approach to the Mind,” “The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism,” “Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View” and “Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective.”

She published regularly in the leading American and European philosophical journals. Her work has been translated into many languages including Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, Russian and Farsi.

For more about her work, visit

She is survived by her husband Tom Baker; sister Catherine Rudder; sisters-in-law Helen Gibson and Kay Baker Gaston; and brother-in-law Joe V. W. Gaston.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 14 Boltwood Ave., Amherst.

Floral tributes are welcome as are memorial donations to the Amherst Survival Center, 138 Sunderland Road, Amherst 01059,