In a memorandum sent out to the University Community by Provost and Executive Vice President Kenneth G. Furton, we’ve learned of the passing of our colleague and friend, Kenneth I. Henley, Professor of Philosophy.
Dr. Henley joined the Department of Philosophy and Religion (as it was named at the time and until 1995) at Florida International University in 1978. Before that he was an Instructor at the University of Virginia, an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky, and a Lecturer at the University of Hull in their respective departments of Philosophy. Importantly, Ken was the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Assessment Coordinator for Philosophy majors between 2004 and 2011. He was also an active member of the College of Law Faculty Advisory Board in the effort to develop the FIU College of Law, due to his research specialization on Philosophy of Law, next to Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy. Dr. Henley earned his B.A. in English, his M.A., as well as his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1967, 1969, and 1972, respectively, with one year spent as Graduate Fellow at The Rockefeller University (1969-70).
Dr. Henley was an accomplished scholar whose work is especially timely in our current political climate. This past August he presented “Populism, Nationalism, and Representative Democracy” at a conference on Democracy, Populism and Truth. Other recently published work include an analysis of the philosophical issues of human rights and sovereignty relating to the International Criminal Court, an analytical reconstruction of the House of Lords case concerning Augusto Pinochet, a contribution to the debate about same-sex marriage, an essay on oaths and the pledge of allegiance, articles on motivated reasoning and representative democracy, four articles on the moral & political philosophy of David Hume, and an article on irregular immigration. Earlier in his career he had written on the rule of law, constitutional integrity, children’s rights, and the value of individuals among other topics. He was the author with Michael Bayles of Rights Conduct: Theories and Applications. Dr. Henley taught courses on the Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of the US Constitution, Ethics, and Social and Political Philosophy that were very popular with both philosophy majors and other students.
Ken was deeply committed to the mission of higher education and exemplified the highest standards of scholarship in his own work. He was a deeply engaged departmental and university citizen and made numerous contributions to the Philosophy program. Dr. Henley’s Department Chair, Paul Warren, remembers that “Ken was a person of honesty, openness, and integrity. He made numerous contributions to the Philosophy program, including changes to our undergraduate major that helped us to revitalize our program some years ago. Colleagues valued Ken for his advice, professionalism, knowledge, friendship, and kindness. He was a true resource for the department, the students, and University. He will be greatly missed.”
Please join the Department of Philosophy in remembering him at a memorial on Friday, November 9, 2018, at 2:00pm in GL220. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, colleagues and students during this difficult time.