The Shalom Hartman Institute mourns the passing of Ted Cohen, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago and a frequent participant at the Institute’s annual International Philosophy Conference. Prof. Cohen died March 14, 2014, at age 74.
Josef Stern, William H. Colvin Professor, Department of Philosophy Director, Center for Jewish Studies, at the University of Chicago, described Mr. Cohen as one of his generation’s leading philosophers of art and historians of aesthetics and as someone with a wide range of interests, from Kant and Hume, to television, baseball and humor.
In most recent work, over the last 15 years, Prof. Cohen came to draw increasingly on the Hebrew Bible and Talmud as sources of philosophical reflection, in part due to his participation in the Hartman Institute Philosophy Conferences, said Stern, also a participant in the Philosophy Conference. Prof. Cohen attended six Conferences, from 2007-2012.
“A legendary wit—at Chicago the celebrated Latke-Hamentash Debate, which he moderated for over 30 years, and which came to be identified with him—among his most influential contributions were his studies of jokes, metaphors, and even baseball as works of art and objects of aesthetic evaluation,” Stern said.
Prof. Cohen was also an acclaimed teacher, winner of the Chicago Quantrell Award for Teaching, former president of the American Philosophical Association and of the American Society for Aesthetics, and a 1991 winner of the Pushcart Prize for writing.