Carl Wellman, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy in Arts & Sciences, 94 | Source
Philosopher Carl Wellman, Hortense University and Tobias Lewin Emeritus Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, died of natural causes on Saturday July 17, 2021 at St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis. He was 94 years old.
Born in 1926 in Lynn, Mass., Wellman grew up in Manchester, NH. As a child, he fought a long battle with Steven-Johnson syndrome and after high school, on the recommendation of his doctors, studied at the University of Arizona, in the hopes that the desert climate might improve his health. He obtained his baccalaureate in 1949, with a double specialization in philosophy and political science.
Wellman then went on to pursue his doctorate in philosophy at Harvard University. He received the Harvard Sheldon Travel Fellowship, allowing him to spend a year at the University of Cambridge. There he studied unpublished manuscripts by Ludwig Wittgenstein, inspiring a series of early articles.
Wellman received his doctorate from Harvard in 1954. The previous year he joined the faculty of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he became department chair. His first book, “The language of ethics” (1961), questions the logic of “ethical sentences”, those which express judgments of value or obligation. This was followed by “Challenge and Response: Justification in Ethics” (1971), which characterized the ways in which ethical statements can be challenged; and the first edition of his popular “Morals and Ethics” textbook (1975).
In 1968, Wellman joined the University of Washington, where he taught, among other courses, seminars on general theory of value. Influenced by the civil rights movement, Wellman also began to develop a theory of rights grappling with racial discrimination, affirmative action, and other contemporary issues. These inquiries informed his subsequent book, “Welfare Rights” (1982), and his subsequent work on rights, notably “A Theory of Rights: Persons Under Laws, Institutions, and Morals” (1985), “Real Rights” (1995). ) and “The Proliferation of Rights” (1999).
Wellman was appointed Professor Lewin of WashU in 1988 and appointed Professor Emeritus in 1999. After his retirement, he remained a prolific author, publishing on medical law, human rights, terrorism and counterterrorism, and constitutional rights. In all, Wellman has published 12 books and numerous articles in Mind, Ethics, Philosophical Review, Journal of Philosophy, and American Philosophical Quarterly, among others. In 2000, more than a dozen contemporary philosophers contributed to the “Rights and Reason: Essays in Honor of Carl Wellman” collection.
Wellman is survived by his wife, Farnell Parsons; by three of their children, Philip, Lesley and Christopher; and by five grandchildren. In accordance with his wishes, there will be no memorial service.