Jeffrie Murphy (1940-2020)


Jeffrie G. Murphy, Regents Professor of Law, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Arizona State University (ASU), has died.

Professor Murphy was highly regarded for his work in philosophy of law and related areas. His books include Punishment and the Moral Emotions: Essays on Law, Morality, and Religion (2012), Getting Even: Forgiveness and its Limits (2003), Forgiveness and Mercy (with Jean Hampton, 1988), and the well-known text, The Philosophy of Law: An Introduction to Jurisprudence (with Jules Colemman, 1984), among others. You can learn more about his research here and here.

Professor Murphy joined the ASU’s Department of Philosophy in 1981, initially as chair. He became a professor of law at the university in 1987. He also maintained affiliations with the university’s religious studies faculty and its School of Social Transformation. Prior to his arrival at ASU, he was professor of philosophy for a decade at the University of Arizona, and before that, at the University of Minnesota. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester and was an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University.

ASU has published a memorial notice here.

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instructor
instructor
10 months ago

I never met him, but I always enjoyed reading his work, and I appreciated the fact that he was willing to change his mind about the views he was known for earlier. Consider the description he gave of his earlier retributivist self:

“my enthusiasm for settling scores and restoring balance through retributive justice may in part have been extensions of what Nietzsche called “a soul that squints”—the soul of a shopkeeper or an accountant. If I had been a kinder person, a less angry person, a person of more generous spirit and greatness of soul, would robust retributivism have charmed me to the degree that it at one time did? I suspect not.”

If only more professional philosophers were willing to reverse course like this. Report

Luke Maring
Luke Maring
Reply to  instructor
10 months ago

I’m fully w/ you about admiring the capacity for that kind of introspection. Where is the quote from?Report

Luke Maring
Luke Maring
Reply to  Luke Maring
10 months ago

Turns out I should have just googled it. ‘Punishment and the Moral Emotions,’ if anyone else finds themselves wondering.Report

Eleonore Stump
Eleonore Stump
10 months ago

I can’t believe that he is gone! We had been in conversation on email about his illness just a short time before. I miss him already.
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Dr. Sally Stone
6 months ago

Dr. Murphy was one of my favorite professors at University of Arizona. He took me under his wing and offered me guidance that was both paternal and academic. Because of him, I was able to take a plethora of grad level philosophy classes and English classes.Report