H. Tristram Engelhardt (1941-2018)

H. Tristram Engelhardt, Professor of History and Philosophy of Medicine at Rice University and Distinguished Emeritus Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, died last week, age 77.

Professor Engelhardt was known for his work in biomedical ethics, especially his book, The Foundations of Bioethics. He was one of the founders of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy and one of the creators of the Philosophy and Medicine book series.

He earned his BA (1963) and PhD (1969) at the University of Texas, Austin, and his MD (1972) from Tulane University. He taught at the University of Texas Medical School and Georgetown University before moving to Rice and Baylor in 1982.

In an obituary at Bioethics.net, Ana S. Iltis and Mark J. Cherry note that Professor Engelhardt was “described as the enfant terrible of bioethics” who”challenged Western secular liberal moral and political assumptions which, he argued, could not be secured through reason alone, and frequently cause more harm than benefit.” There are also memorial notices at the Rice University websiteReasonand the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture.


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