Moreland Perkins, University of Maryland philosophy professor

November 20, 2012

Moreland Perkins, 85, a professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Maryland, died Nov. 7 of aspiration pneumonia at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson.

The death was confirmed by his son, Owen Perkins.

Dr. Perkins, a Baltimore resident, taught philosophy at the graduate and undergraduate levels at U-Md. from 1968 to 1986. After his retirement in 1989, a philosophy fellowship at the university was named in his honor.

In 1987, Dr. Perkins was elected mayor of Riverdale, a Prince George’s County community now called Riverdale Park. He resigned from the job after less than a year, citing friction with Town Council members. He told The Washington Post the experience had been “seven months of hell” marked by “interminable hostility, obstruction, ugliness, abuse, verbal and physical harassment and attack” by some council members.

Moreland Perkins was a Richmond native. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1948, a master’s degree in 1949 and a doctorate in 1953, all in philosophy and and all from Harvard University. He served in the Navy from 1945 to 1946.

Earlier in his career, he taught philosophy at Brown University, Michigan Technological University and the State University of New York at Cortland.

In 1982, Dr. Perkins received the Journal of Philosophy’s Johnsonian Prize, awarded for exemplary manuscripts. His books included “Sensing the World” (1983) and “Reshaping the Sexes in Sense and Sensibility” (1998).

Dr. Perkins retired to Florida in 1989 but returned to the Washington area in 2011.

His marriages to Jean Brooks, Patricia Barrett and Desiree Weidaw ended in divorce.

Survivors include his companion of 18 years, Josephine Singer of Boston; two children from his second marriage, Katherine Perkins of Durham, Maine, and Owen Perkins of Denver; his stepmother, Julie Perkins of Richmond; and two grandsons.

— Megan McDonough

Most Read Local