Trent University Hosts Symposium to Honour Philosophy Professor Dr. Bernard Hodgson


March 25 & 26 Symposium on Death and Dying Features
Speakers from Trent, Ontario and the United States

Monday, March 22, 2010, Peterborough

In celebration of the life and contributions of Dr. Bernard Hodgson, a Trent Philosophy professor who passed away suddenly last year, Trent University will be hosting a special symposium on Death and Dying on Thursday, March 25 and Friday, March 26, 2010 at the new Bagnani Hall at Catharine Parr Traill College (310 London Street) featuring speakers from universities across Ontario and the United States.

The Symposium on Death and Dying for Bernard Hodgson, In Memoriam, will explore a variety of philosophical themes on the issue of the relationship between life, death, and the limits of human living. Especially noteworthy will be the participation of Professor Hodgson’s son, Matthew Hodgson, a Ph D. student in the History and Philosophy of Science Program at the University of Toronto, who will be reading an abbreviated version of a paper that Prof. Hodgson left behind. Other featured speakers include: Dr. Brent Adkins from Roanoke University, Dr. Kir Kuiken from Albany University, Dr. Todd May from Clemson University, Dr. John McMurtry from the University of Guelph, and Dr. David Morris from Concordia. A complete schedule of speakers and topics is attached.

“The unexpected death of Bernard Hodgson last April left an absence that can not be easily replaced at Trent. He also left a legacy of dedication to his students, superb teaching and superior scholarship,” said Dr. Davide Panagia, Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies at Trent, who, along with Philosophy professor Dr. Constantin Boundas, co-organized the Symposium. “Professor Hodgson’s service to the University in general, and to the Philosophy Department and the Centre for Theory, Culture and Politics in particular was exceptional and through this Symposium we hope to honour him and his legacy.”

Prof. Hodgson studied Philosophy and Economics at the University of Toronto where he earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees and received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario. He joined the Philosophy Department at Trent University in 1974. A popular teacher, his special research interests included the philosophy of the natural and human sciences, ethical theory, and epistemology/metaphysics.

He was the author of several papers on ethical theory, the philosophy of the social sciences, logical positivism, and Economics as Moral Science. He was the editor of The Invisible Hand and the Common Good and was associate editor for the second edition of The Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics.  He was also the editor for philosophical foundations of the Journal of Business Ethics, and served as a member of the Editorial Board of Springer-Verlag for its series, Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy, and of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Academic Ethics.  His most recent research included the writing of a book-length manuscript, Nature, Economy and Justice.

Prof. Hodgson served Trent in a variety of capacities including the Trent University Faculty Association (TUFA) executive from 1982-85 and again in 1994-97. He was the acting chair of Philosophy in 2006-07 and served as chair of the Senate Budget Committee 2002-2003. He was one of the founding members of the interdisciplinary graduate program, Methodologies in Western Culture (now Theory, Culture and Politics). 

In his honour, Prof. Hodgson’s family, colleagues, students and friends have created the Bernard Hodgson Memorial Award at Trent. Contributions to this fund will help future students, majoring in philosophy and proceeding from third to fourth year, to receive bursary support. The award will be based upon financial need and academic achievement. Donations can be made to the Trent University Office of External Relations and Advancement, attention Ms. Betty O’Toole. Visit, call (705) 748-1601 or e-mail

The Memorial Symposium has been sponsored by the Trent Centre for Theory, Culture and Politics, the Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies, the Cultural Studies Department, the Trent Cultural Studies Ph.D. Program, and the Trent Philosophy Department.


For more information, please contact:
Nancy Legate, Cultural Studies, Trent University, (705) 748.1011, ext. 1809 or 6284; or email or