Alan Wertheimer (2015) (updated)

Alan Wertheimer, professor emeritus at the University of Vermont, has died. Professor Wertheimer worked mainly in ethics and political philosophy, both theoretical and applied, with well-known work on coercion, exploitation, and various topics in biomedical ethics. He spent most of his career at the University of Vermont, in the Department of Political Science, but also had held visiting appointments at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the University of San Diego School of Law.


Larry Solum has a few words about Wertheimer at his Legal Theory Blog (via Leiter).


UPDATE: Matt Zwolinski (San Diego) shares his thoughts about Wertheimer here.
UPDATE 2 (4/21/15): Glenn Cohen (Harvard) remembers Alan Wertheimer here.

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Sarah Raskoff
Sarah Raskoff
9 years ago

I had the good fortune of meeting Alan Wertheimer when he came out to Arizona in Spring 2013 to give a paper in Tom Cristiano’s seminar on exploitation. Our paths crossed again last summer when he was a guest faculty and I was a boot camper at the bioethics boot camp put on by University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy. I didn’t spend much time with him, but it was enough to know that he was an exceptional guy—funny, humble, and unpretentious, generous with his time, incredibly willing to work with graduate students or post-docs, and a careful philosopher willing to get his hands dirty by thinking hard about messy issues in bioethics. He will be missed.

Doug MacKay
Doug MacKay
9 years ago

This is very sad news. Alan was my mentor for two years while I was a post-doc at the NIH Department of Bioethics from 2011 to 2013. He was a top-notch philosopher and a generous mentor and colleague, willing to read the work of seemingly anyone who asked. He even continued to read my stuff after I left the NIH, and we often spoke over the phone – Alan always wanted to give you his best and he felt that he was best in person or over the phone. Any success I’ve had professionally has been in part due to his mentorship, and I suspect that many others would say the same.

Above all, Alan was just a wonderful man. His sense of humour, generosity, and humility stand out for me as being his defining qualities, as they do for Sarah. I am very grateful to have known him.

For those of you who know Alan’s work but didn’t get the chance to meet him, here’s a recent interview in which he talks about his life and work: