Peter Kemp (1937-2018)

Peter Kemp, born January 24, 1937, passed away August 4, 2018. Originally educated in theology at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, but very early on he became interested in philosophy, in particular French philosophy, which he studied while attending various universities in Germany and France as a research scholar. Later he befriended Paul Ricoeur and his first major book Théorie de L’Engagement (1973) was influenced by his interaction with Ricoeur. A major feature of Kemp’s character was his commitments to humanistic principles and his active engagement in the public debate about many important cultural and societal issues. He believed that each and every human being was irreplaceable and this made him very critical towards modern technology. He saw the naïve use of technology as a threat to our understanding of human beings and to the way we treat them. For many years Peter Kemp was the director of the Center for Ethics and Law at the University of Copenhagen. In the years before retirement he spent his time as a professor of pedagogical philosophy at the University of Aarhus. Peter Kemp wrote approximately 40 books, some of which introduced French philosophy to a broader Danish audience. Another part of his oeuvre was written in French. Between 2003 and 2008 Kemp was elected as the President of the “Federation Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie” (FISP). In 2016 he was appointed lifelong member of the “Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques” (ASMP). A theme in Kemp’s philosophy was that we are all global citizens and with his death we missed a true humanist.
(Jan Faye)