A celebration of the life of Anne Jaap Jacobson – a longtime professor at the University of Houston – will be held on Nov. 28 in the M.D. Anderson Library's Rockwell Pavilion from 10-11:30 a.m.
Jacobson passed away in early October with Allan – her husband of 55 years – and her son Peter by her side. Allan is the Robert A. Welch Chair of Science and Director Emeritus for the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston.
According to information provided by those close to Anne, she was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1942, to Joseph and Frances Jaap. Her father was a career naval officer, and she lived in several places by the time she was four or five. She graduated from Stone Ridge High School in Bethesda, Maryland, and earned her B.A. with honors from the University of California, Berkeley.
Encouraged by professors at Berkeley, she went to Somerville College in Oxford for graduate work. She completed a B.Phil. and a D.Phil. with distinction at. She was the Mary Ewart Research Fellow at Somerville College, and the Fulford Research Fellow at St. Anne’s College.
In 1976, Anne, her husband and her son moved to Princeton. She continued her academic career while in Princeton with appointments at Princeton, Rutgers and Lehigh universities.
Anne and her husband moved to Houston in 1991. She was an associate professor in Philosophy at UH from 1991 to 2003, and then a professor in the Philosophy Department and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department from 2003 to 2014. She became professor emerita in 2014.
At UH, she was active both internally and externally. She was president-elect and president of the UH Faculty Senate from 2002 to 2004, and director of the UH Center for Neuro-Engineering and Cognitive Science. Externally, she served on several American Philosophical Association programs and policy committees.
Anne’s research focused on the philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience, including the history and philosophy of cognitive science, the philosophy of David Hume, and feminist philosophy. In 2014, she published “Keeping the World in Mind: Mental Representations and the Sciences of the Mind,” in which she explored two different models of the mind and its relation to the world and argues that we need a new theory of mental representations, which reflects the way the notion of representation is actually used in cognitive neuroscience.
In 2012, she published “Neurofeminism,” co-edited with Heidi Maibom and Robyn Bluhm, which deals with issues at the intersection of feminist theory and cognitive science. Anne described herself as an experimental philosopher and armchair activist, and she was a regular contributor to the blog “Feminist Philosophers.”
In addition to friends in Houston, Anne had a wide network of friends on the Internet. She was regularly in contact with philosophers in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, many of whom she first met in Oxford.
Anne was a great lover of Oxford, and after her retirement, she spent significant amounts of time there in an apartment overlooking the Oxford canal and within walking distance of Somerville College, where she was a visiting academic.
Apart from her serious academic side, Anne enjoyed reading novels of different genres, especially detective stories, and she was a great cat lover. After coming to Houston, she took in several rescue cats named after herbs in recent years. She had Rosemary, Coriander, Basil and Tarragon.
Anne will be remembered for her intellect, humor, graciousness, and her love of family, philosophy and her cats.