Peter Manchester, a Stony Brook University philosopher who studied the nature and experience of time, died June 28 at Stony Brook University Hospital. He was 72.
The cause was cardiac arrest, the university's provost, Dennis N. Assanis, wrote in an email to the school community.
Manchester argued that the modern everyday understanding of time as a sequence of instants, separable into past, present and future, is inadequate.PhotosRecent notable deaths See alsoSee more LI, U.S. obits
A fuller understanding, informed in Manchester's books "The Syntax of Time" (2005) and 2015's "Temporality and Trinity," is one where "time is a place where what happens in eternity is manifest," said Clyde Lee Miller, a Stony Brook philosopher and associate dean, in an interview last week.
"If you wanted to put that in terms of religion, you would say God is not separate from the universe, that the universe is a place where God is disclosed or revealed," Miller said.
Manchester was steeped in theology and educated at Catholic schools but was not a religious philosopher, said a friend, Edward S. Casey, also a Stony Brook philosopher.
"He happened to be a believer but was not trying to support the Catholic faith" in his work.
Peter Byrne Manchester was born Dec. 3, 1942, in Long Beach, California, the eldest child of Dr. Raymond Manchester, a medical doctor, and Harriet Manchester, a homemaker.
He was drawn to math and physics at an early age, attending the Jesuit institutions Bellarmine College Preparatory and Santa Clara University, where he majored in math. He later attended Harvard Divinity School but left to earn his doctorate at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.
Manchester came to Stony Brook in 1980, serving on more than 30 dissertation committees and leading graduate seminars on Plato and Platonism, the Pre-Socratics, and Aristotle.
A mechanically gifted music lover who made a small fortune in high school building and selling hi-fi systems, Manchester also played a significant but largely unheralded role in the San Francisco rock music scene in the 1960s by recording live performances traded by fans to this day.
"He had, strangely enough, some sort of a reel-to-reel tape recorder," former Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, who roomed with Manchester at Santa Clara, recalled in an interview last week. "He made a different kind of set of gears that recorded at 15 inches per second, which the professional machines did. It was like having a studio in our room."
Manchester, who last lived in Port Jefferson Station, is survived by ex-wife Paula Manchester of East Setauket, with whom he remained close, as well as a sister, Nicoliann Manchester of New Orleans; and brothers, William of Santa Cruz, California, Jefferey of Pleasanton, California, and David of Denver.
His remains were cremated and his ashes will be scattered in Paula Manchester's garden.