David Daiches Raphael
BORN LIVERPOOL, JANUARY 25, 1916. DIED LONDON, DECEMBER 22, 2015, AGED 99
THE DISTINGUISHED academic David Daiches Raphael specialised in moral and political philosophy and wrote widely on the subject. He was one of three sons of Jacob and Sarah Raphael, who arrived from eastern Europe in the early years of the 20th century. From Liverpool Collegiate School he won a scholarship to University College, Oxford where he studied classics and philosophy. He graduated in 1938 with a First Class degree and then completed a DPhil at Oriel College as a Robinson Senior Scholar.
During the Second World War he served briefly in the army before becoming a temporary civil servant in the Ministry of Labour. After that he pursued an academic career, first as professor of philosophy at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand until 1949 and then at Glasgow University until 1970, being appointed to the Edward Caird Chair of Political and Social Philosophy in 1960. After the Glasgow years he was professor of philosophy at Reading University until 1973, when he moved to Imperial College, London where, as professor of philosophy, he ran the humanities
David Daiches Raphael: custodian of moral and political philosophy department from 1973 to 1983. His career also included several visiting appointments. He was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford (196768) and Visiting Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (1984).
Besides taking his share of university administration, academic advisory work and membership of professional associations, he served on a number of government committees including the Wheatley committee on the Teaching Profession in Scotland (1961-63), the Scottish and English Agricultural Wages Boards (1962-78) and the Police Advisory Board for Scotland (1965-70).
Raphael’s early publications were on 18th century moral philosophy and philosophers. Later he wrote on political philosophy, on justice, and on the philosophy of Adam Smith. Problems of Political Philosophy (1970) has become a standard textbook for students of political theory. He also wrote introductory books on moral philosophy and the thoughts of Thomas Hobbes.
After retirement in 1983 he continued to be active academically: he was one of several editors of the Glasgow Edition of the works of Adam Smith and also the author of a Past Masters volume on Smith. His last book, The Impartial Spectator (2007) dealt with Smith’s moral philosophy. In 2001 he published Concepts of Justice which begins with chapters on justice in the Bible and in ancient Greek thought before discussing views of justice in modern philosophy from Hobbes to the 20th century.
He was an active member of Westminster Synagogue for over 40 years, as chairman from 1987-89, and for many years chaired its prayerbook committee. He was considered inspirational for his uncompromising honesty, skilfully weighing options and reaching timely decisions. He continued to attend meetings even when travel had become a major challenge. His views on matters of liturgy were always closely argued, thoughtfully presented and creative. He wrote two beautiful prayers for Westminster Synagogue’s High Holy Day services, one of them opening the erev Rosh Hashanah service. He read this prayer at the service in his clear, resonant voice, even in the last months of his life.
Raphael was previously a member of Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow and then Maidenhead Synagogue. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University from 1969-81 and later an honorary governor.
Raphael was a widely-read scholar, conscientious,ethical and accurate. He displayed intrepid loyalty, immense courage, independence of thought, the highest standards of conduct in office and a genuine interest in the welfare of others, including both academic and administrative staff who worked for him.
He cared about friendships and the wider community as well as his immediate family. In 1942 Raphael married Sylvia Daiches, daughter of Rabbi Salis Daiches of Edinburgh and his wife Flora, and incorporated her surname into his own name. Sylvia died in 1996; Raphael is survived by his daughters, Sally Van Noorden and Anne Sheppard, and his grandchildren, Helen, Richard, Alan and Sarah.