Hugo Adam Bedau

Hugo Adam Bedau
Born (1926-09-23)September 23, 1926
Died August 13, 2012(2012-08-13) (aged 85)
Education Harvard University
Known for Work on capital punishment
Scientific career
Fields Philosophy
Institutions Tufts University

Hugo Adam Bedau (September 23, 1926 – August 13, 2012)[1] was the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Tufts University, and is best known for his work on capital punishment. He has been called a "leading anti-death-penalty scholar" by Stuart Taylor Jr., who has quoted Bedau as saying "I'll let the criminal justice system execute all the McVeighs they can capture, provided they'd sentence to prison all the people who are not like McVeigh."[2]

Bedau earned his PhD from Harvard University in 1961 and subsequently taught at Dartmouth College, Princeton University and Reed College before joining Tufts in 1966. He retired in 1999.[3] Bedau was a founding member of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty,[4] and served many years on its board of directors, including several as chairman. He was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union,[5] for whom he wrote on the death penalty.[6]

Bedau was the author of The Death Penalty in America (1st edition, 1964; 4th edition, 1997), 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). On the occasion of Bedau's retirement, Norman Daniels said of The Death Penalty in America: "It is the premier example in this century of the systematic application of academic philosophical skills to a practical issue, and the flood of work in practical ethics that has followed can rightfully cite Hugo's work as its starting point."[5]

Bedau also published Civil Disobedience: Theory and Practice (Pegasus, 1969) and a later volume on the theory of civil disobedience.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Yardley, William (August 16, 2012). "Hugo Bedau, Philosopher Who Opposed Death Penalty, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  2. ^ Taylor Jr., Stuart (May 31, 2001). "Does the death penalty save innocent lives?". National Journal. Archived from the original on 2008-08-30. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  3. ^ "Hugo A. Bedau". Tufts University. Archived from the original on February 23, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2008.
  4. ^ "IN MEMORIAM: Hugo Adam Bedau". Death Penalty Information Center. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b Norman Daniels (May 17, 1999). "Resolution on the retirement of Hugo Adam Bedau adopted by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Tufts University". Tufts University. Archived from the original on March 21, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2008.
  6. ^ Hugo Adam Bedau (July 1992). "The Case Against The Death Penalty". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved May 28, 2008.
  7. ^ Civil Disobedience in Focus. Routledge. 1991. ISBN 0-415-05055-3.

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