Skip header content and main navigation Binghamton University, State University of New York - News
Binghamton University Newsroom
Binghamton University Newsroom


Philosophy professor John Arthur loses battle with lung cancer

John Arthur, 60, professor of philosophy and director of the Philosophy, Politics and Law Program, died Monday, Jan. 22, after a long battle with lung cancer.

Arthur joined the Binghamton faculty in 1988 after teaching at Brandeis University, Harvard University, Tennessee State University, the College of Charleston and Lake Forest College.

He graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history and continued his education at Vanderbilt University, where he received his doctorate in philosophy and a master’s degree in political sociology.

A recipient of the University and Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching in 1992, Arthur was a fellow in law and philosophy at Harvard Law School from 1986-88, at Balliol College, Oxford University and the Oxford Centre for Ethics and Philosophy of Law in 2002-03 and a research fellow at the University of St. Andrews’ Centre for Philosophy and Public Affairs in spring 1995.

“Beloved by his students,” according to Steven Scalet, associate professor of philosophy, Arthur was the “creator and director of one of the most popular programs on campus.”

A fellow in Hughes Hall, Hinman College, Arthur enjoyed his informal discussions and interactions with students. He was also recognized for his service to students with a certificate of appreciation from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities in 2002, and as outstanding faculty adviser for the National Phi Alpha Delta Pre-law Society in 1997.

Arthur was an expert in legal and constitutional theory, social ethics and political philosophy, authoring the books Words That Bind: Judicial Review and the Grounds of Modern Constitutional Theory, The Unfinished Constitution: Philosophy and Constitutional Practice and a study guide for his discipline, Studying Philosophy: A Guide for the Perplexed. Another book, Racism and Repair: Race, Equality and the Burdens of History, is forthcoming.

In addition, Arthur edited or co-edited several books, including the popular Morality and Moral Controversies: Readings in Moral, Social and Political Philosophy and Readings in the Philosophy of Law.

He also published numerous articles and book reviews and presented at dozens of conferences nationally and internationally. A member of the American Philosophical Association, Arthur was also co-editor of the association’s newsletter in Philosophy of Law.

Arthur is survived by his wife, Amy Shapiro. He will be buried in Denver.

Calling hours will be held from 4-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, at Parson’s Funeral home, 71 Main St., Binghamton. A memorial funeral service is planned at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Unitarian Church on Riverside Drive. All are welcome to participate in these services as well as a shiva in the days following the service.

A scholarship is being established in his name. Donations may be made to the John Arthur Memorial Fund, Account 1047850, Binghamton University Foundation.
Connect with Binghamton:
Twitter icon links to Binghamton University's Twitter page YouTube icon links to Binghamton University's YouTube page Facebook icon links to Binghamton University's Facebook page Instagram

Last Updated: 10/14/08