Professor Carl Cohen died at his home in Ann Arbor on August 26, 2023 at the age of 92. Carl was one of the founding members of the Residential College and also served as one of its early directors.
As his obituary notes, "[Carl's] tenure at Michigan was one of the longest in the history of the university. Carl joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1955, after completing his Ph.D at UCLA. He was one of the planners and founding members of the UM Residential College in 1967, a unit within the larger university designed to maintain the spirit of cooperative study. He was the founder, and for ten years Director, of the Program in Human Values in Medicine at the UM Medical School. He served as Chairman of the UM Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA), and on the Executive Committee of the College of LS&A."
Throughout his long career, Carl wrote many books and articles on classical topics in philosophy as well as on controversial subjects, including affirmative action, civil disobedience, and animal experimentation.
He held strong views on these topics and challenged his listeners or readers to clarify their own beliefs and arguments, whether one agreed with his position or held an opposing view.
In this way, Carl occupied the space that many philosophers do of exploring the moral arguments of divergent views.
Carl’s impact on the field of contemporary philosophy, as a teacher, and as a parent and uncle will be felt for decades to come. Alongside his notable intellectual and worldly accomplishments, Carl's exuberant, energetically warm, generous, sometimes provocative, and highly engaged spirit is legendary among all he encountered.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/action/), the University of Michigan Musical Society (https://ums.org/), or the Residential College (https://lsa.umich.edu/rc/alumni-friends/giving-opportunities.html).