University of Arizona professor emeritus Joel Feinberg refused to add technology to his writing practice. When his colleagues switched from typewriters to word processors to computers, he continued to pen college-level textbooks using only a fountain pen and a pad of yellow notebook paper.
Despite these Luddite tendencies, Feinberg’s books about morality and how it relates to law became standard reading in many college courses. A leading political and social philosopher, his well-respected series, “The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law,” tackled many ethical issues, including capital punishment, the treatment of the mentally ill, civil disobedience, obscenity and pornography.
Feinberg enlisted in the Army in 1944, and served in an officer training program. When he left the service, he earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan. He spent 20 years teaching classes at Brown, Princeton and Rockefeller universities before joining the University of Arizona faculty in 1977. Feinberg retired in 1994 as a Regents Professor of law and philosophy. An award to financially support undergraduate philosophy majors has been established in his honor.
Feinberg died on March 29 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 77.