Our dear friend and colleague, Professor Jonathan Adler, passed away on March 26, 2012. The faculty and staff of the Department of Philosophy wish to extend their heartfelt condolences to Jonathan’s family.
Jonathan is remembered with affection and respect by all of us in the department that has had the honor of being his professional home for so many years. All of us remember with pleasure and gratitude his kindness, generosity and intellectual energy.
There was a beautiful informal memorial service in Jonathan's honor on March 28. A more formal service will take place at a date to be determined. We will include a notification on this page when that date has been set.
Donations in Jonathan's honor may be given to Amnesty International in the USA, Save the Children, or the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Montclair (New Jersey).
Jonathan Adler graduated from Brooklyn College in 1970; he received a Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1974 and a D.Phil. from Oxford in 1978. Over the three decades since then he established himself as a prominent and innovative thinker in contemporary epistemology. His book, Belief's Own Ethics (MIT, 2002), is a defense of a strong version of evidentialism, the view that one's beliefs should be proportionate to the evidence. He authored nearly 70 articles covering a wide range of epistemological topics, including skepticism, induction, testimony, the argument from ignorance and fanatical reasoning; he also wrote on philosophy of language, ethics and the philosophy of education. He co-edited an important anthology on reasoning published by Cambridge University Press (2008), and an introductory anthology in philosophy from Hackett Press (2007). During his long and distinguished career, he won important teaching and research awards, including a Wolfe Institute Fellowship at Brooklyn College and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1991–1992 and 2008–2009). In 2009, he was elected as an alumni member to Brooklyn College’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
Jonathan also had an exceptional record of service to the profession, which included participation in the American Philosophical Association's Program on improving and evaluating teaching in philosophy, and consulting work for a number of projects and institutes for critical thinking. He served for four years as the president of the Association for the Philosophy of Education, and for nearly 20 years on the Executive Committee of the Society for Philosophy and Public Affairs. He also worked to make philosophy available to a wider public by serving on the U.S. board of editors of the popular magazine Philosophy Now, and by many years of service to the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children.