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01/09/2012

In Memoriam–Bernard Gert

We sadly note the passing of philosopher and bioethicists, Bernard “Bernie” Gert. Bernie was also a member of American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and received its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. He will be missed by all.

His obituary is below.

Summer Johnson McGee, PhD

Bernard Gert, Stone Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, Emeritus, died on the evening of Saturday the 24th of December at the UNC Hospital. He was 77.
Bernard – Bernie to his friends and family – was arguably the greatest moral philosopher of the 20th century. He taught at Dartmouth College for fifty years, from 1959 to 2009, making him the longest serving faculty member in the school’s history. He was also a giant in the fields of Hobbes scholarship and bioethics. A founding member of the Ethics Committee at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, Bernie continued as a consultant to the Ethics Committee at the UNC Hospital until his death. His first book, The Moral Rules, was published in 1970. Retitled Morality in 1988, it has undergone major revisions during the last 35 years, but has remained continuously in print. In 2006 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Cincinnati, his alma mater. That same year he also received a Lifetime Achievement award from the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. At the time of his death he was at work on a book on Human Nature, and his book on Hobbes has just come out in 2010. Bernie lived and breathed philosophy and could not be outlasted in philosophical discussion.
Bernie is survived by Esther, his wife of 53 years and sweetheart of 70 years, by his daughter, Heather, his son, Joshua, his son-in-law, John Roberts, his daughter-in-law Victoria Costa, and his granddaughter Susanna. He also leaves behind his sister, Ilene Wolosin, and brothers-in-law Sam Wolosin and Jerry Rosenstein, as well as many nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. He often remarked, with pride, that all of his children, including his son- and daughter-in-law, were professional philosophers. He was a loving husband and a wonderful, wonderful father and grandfather. He lived by the common moral code that his work helped to clarify, and he taught it by example.
There will be a memorial service late in the summer of 2012, in Hanover, NH, where Bernie and Esther spent most of their lives. The date is not yet fixed. Those who wish to honor his memory may plant a tree in Israel or make a donation to the ACLU. To plant a tree, please send your donation to: Jewish National Fund, 2 Reservoir Circle, Suite 204, Baltimore, MD 21208. Please indicate in the memo line of your check that your gift is in memory of Bernard Gert. This will allow gardens dedicated to his memory to grow over the years.

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