In Memoriam

This page is dedicated to leaders in the field of bioethics and humanities who have passed away. If you receive word of the death of a luminary in our field, please prepare a brief statement and a photo if possible and send this information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Tristram Engelhardt, Jr. PhD, MD

H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., PhD, MD, one of the intellectual founders of the fields of bioethics and the philosophy of medicine, whose seminal work continues to frame debates about healthcare policy and medical practice, fell asleep in the Lord on June 21, 2018  in Houston, Texas. He died of complications due to cancer. He was 77 years old.

engelhardt

Professor Engelhardt was a Lifetime Member of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, and in 2013, he was awarded the ASBH Lifetime Achievement Award. Many will remember him as an active, boot-wearin

g, vocal participant at the ASBH Annual Meeting.

It was at these meetings that many colleagues became friends, often after Professor Engelhardt challenged their arguments. 
Professor Engelhardt traveled the world, relying on both his United States and Republic of Texas passports, lecturing on the history of philosophy, history and philosophy of medicine, and bioethics.

In 1975, he co-founded the Philosophy and Medicine (1975) book series with Stuart Spicker (with some 129 published volumes currently in print); in 1976, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy with Edmund Pellegrino (now in its 43rd year of continuous publication); and in 1995, Christian Bioethics: Non-Ecumenical Studies in Medical Morality (now in its 24th year of continuous publication).

Together these projects created an international scholarly focus to frame the intellectual fields of the philosophy of medicine and bioethics.

Many scholars know Engelhardt for his libertarianism. In his book Bioethics and Secular Humanism (1991)  together with the first and second editions of The Foundations of Bioethics (1986; 1996) examined why sound rational argument is unable to provide the foundations necessary to justify a content-full secular morality or bioethics, much less to secure a canonical political theory to guide healthcare policy. The foundations of secular bioethics and health care policy, he argued, are starkly libertarian.

Yet his unflinching libertarianism was only part of the story. Engelhardt had long acknowledged that secular morality permits many activities that he knew to be deeply sinful (e.g., abortion on demand, human embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and so forth) as well as imprudent (e.g., turning to a doctor of naturopathy for treatment of heart disease). It is in The Foundations of Christian Bioethics (2000) that Engelhardt presented a deeply serious account of Orthodox Christian bioethics. It is a bioethics set within a spiritual framework at one with the commitments, beliefs, and practices of the ancient, traditional Christian Church and framed in terms of our struggle to know God and to find salvation through Him.

Engelhardt wrote what would be his final book, After God: Morality & Bioethics in a Secular Age (2017), while undergoing cancer treatment. There, Engelhardt articulated the moral and epistemic implications of living in a culture that had come to reject God.  It is an insightful and brilliant work, written in the knowledge that time was limited.

He published more than 300 articles and book chapters, more than 110 book reviews and other publications, together with more than twenty-five edited or co-edited books.  His work has been translated into numerous languages, including Chinese, German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese. The impressive range and depth of his work in philosophy, medicine, bioethics, and theology illustrate his profound appreciation that careful and critical analytical work is central to reigning in the untutored desire to claim the current canons of political correctness as truth.

Beyond his serious scholarly engagements, Engelhardt always worked tirelessly for his students and his friends. His intellect, energy, generosity, and wit will be sorely missed.

 

James E. Rush, PhD

James E. Rush, PhD, passed away May 22, 2018. Rush was an expert in global philosophies, religions, formative spirituality, critical thinking, moral reasoning and biomedical ethics. 

He began his carer as chairman of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Philander Smith College in 1976 and taught every summer at Arkansas Governor's School. Rush was an adjunt faculty member in the Medical Humanities Department at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for over 25 years. He was also a member of the Arkansas Children's Hospital bioethics committee for 20 years.

In February, Rush received the Living Legend Award at Philander Smith College. He was recognized multipled times by Who's Who Among American Teachers and Who's Who in Religion. Rush was also the recipient of The Mary and Ira A. Brumley Award for Religious Education, the Outstanding Achievement by an Individual in Higher Education Award, the Lacerine Walsh Faculty of the Year Award and twice recieved the Exemplary Teachers Award from The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.

Rush was a Methodist Minister for 50 years and a founding member of the Ecumenical Buddhist Society of Little Rock. He was beloved by family, friends, faculty, students and staff. His dedication to his students and compassionate nature were demonstrated in his teaching, service and spiritual practice.

Read more about Dr. James E. Rush here.

 

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