Hugo A. Bedau

In memoriam >

Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus
Political and Legal Philosophy, Ethics

In memoriam >

Biography & Publications

Hugo Adam Bedau joined the Tufts faculty in 1966 and retired in 1999. Prior to his appointment at Tufts, he taught at Dartmouth College, Princeton University, and Reed College. He has contributed dozens of scholarly articles to journals and books, and he has written popular a number of newspapers for several newspapers; he has also edited several volumes dealing with issues in social, political, moral, and legal philosophy. He is best known for his long-standing interest in issues having to do with punishment in general and the death penalty in particular, on which he is a national expert (he has frequently testified against the death penalty before the U.S. Congress and many state legislatures). Professor Bedau is editor of the standard work on capital punishment, The Death Penalty in America (1st edition, 1964; 4th edition, 1997), as well as co-editor of Capital Punishment in the United States (1976) and Debating the Death Penalty (2004). He is the author of The Courts, the Constitution, and Capital Punishment (1977), Death is Different (1987), and Killing as Punishment (2004), and co-author of In Spite of Innocence (1992). Over the past two decades he has co-authored and co-edited several volumes on critical thinking; he is also the author of Thinking and Writing About Philosophy (2nd edition, 2002).

Professor Bedau was elected the Romanell Phi Beta Kappa Professor of Philosophy in 1994; his Romanell lectures, delivered at Tufts in the spring of 1995, were published by Oxford University Press in 1997, under the title Making Mortal Choices. In 1997, Bedau received the August Vollmer Award of the American Society of Criminology. A long-time (and founding) member of the National Coalition Against the Death Penalty, he served many years on its board and two terms as its chairman; he has been an active member of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) since the 1950s, and in 2003 he received the Roger Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Massachusetts (on whose board he has also served).
Resolution on the Retirement of Hugo Adam Bedau >


Ph.D., Harvard, 1961

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