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..


Dan Callahan, PhD 



Daniel Callahan, a national voice for responsible health and science, who pioneered the field of bioethics, died Tuesday, July 16, two days before his 89th birthday. In 1969, Callahan cofounded The Hastings Center with Willard Gaylin. Callahan served as the Center’s director from 1969 to 1983, president from 1984 to 1996, and president emeritus, actively publishing numerous essays, until his death. Over nearly five decades, Callahan advanced new foundational ideas, offered practical wisdom, influenced international health and science policy, stimulated the creation of the interdisciplinary field of bioethics, and supported its growth across the United States and the world. Perhaps most importantly in this era of polarization and hyper-individualism, he called on us to work together to discuss vying notions of the good and build solutions to promote human flourishing. Callahan was motivated by a fundamental wariness of human power. He was deeply struck by the human proclivity for self-deception, especially concerning the potential for irresponsible use of such power in the life sciences and in the realm of biomedical technology. His work demonstrates a deep sense of how fundamental moral sensibility is to our humanness and how vulnerable and naked we would be—and are—in a society of merely self-interested stakeholders engaged in merely instrumental cooperation. As we grieve the loss of Daniel Callahan, may we be uplifted by the inspiration of this great man. How lucky are we who have worked with and learned from the life Dan so well lived.

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Anita Silvers, PhDAnita Silvers, PhD


Professor Anita Silvers was an institution in professional philosophy. She was Professor and former Chair of the Philosophy Department at San Francisco State University and a nationally recognized advocate for disability rights. Disabled by polio as a child, Silvers was a leading advocate for equality for persons with disabilities. On the faculty at SF State since 1967, Silvers worked to make access and disability services available on California college campuses. In 1980, she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve on the National Council for the Humanities, the governing board of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She served for 26 years as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Philosophical Association (Pacific Division). Silvers received the inaugural California Faculty Association Human Rights Award in 1989 and served as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in New Zealand in 2005. In 2009 she was awarded the Quinn Prize for service to the profession by the APA, in 2013 the Lebowitz Prize for Philosophical Achievement and Contribution by Phi Beta Kappa and the APA, and in 2017 she received the Wang Family Excellence Award for extraordinary achievements in the California State University system. Silvers's groundbreaking scholarship helped to establish disability rights as an important subfield of philosophy; she is regarded as an authority on medical ethics, bioethics, disability theory, social philosophy, aesthetics, and feminism. As a teacher and mentor she changed the lives of countless students, scholars, and activists. She will be deeply missed by her students, colleagues, and the many people she inspired.


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