Walzer, Michael

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WALZER, MICHAEL (1935– ), U.S. philosopher and professor. Born in New York to parents Joseph and Sally, Walzer graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University and holds a B.A. in history. He continued his studies as a Fulbright Fellow at Cambridge University, and then earned a Ph.D. in political science and history from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. From 1962 to 1966, he was an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University, before he moved to Harvard and taught as a professor of government. He became a ups Foundation Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1980 at Princeton. In addition to teaching, Walzer acted as both co-editor of Dissent and a contributing editor of The New Republic, as well as a member of the editorial board for Philosophy and Public Affairs, an academic journal. He was also a member of the board of governors at The Hebrew University.

An accomplished writer on topics of multiculturalism, political theory, and moral and social philosophy, Walzer was often hailed as one of the country's foremost political thinkers. His writing and speeches often tackled some most vexing topics of the current era, namely war and the reasoning, or justification, behind the wars and clashes of recent years. Walzer's theories look to historical thought and events to create understanding of today's issues; his current work includes a collaborative project on the history of Jewish political thought, and a study of "difference" in its many forms.

Walzer's body of published work includes more than 20 works written or edited by Walzer, among them Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations published in 1977 and reprinted in 1992; Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality (1983); The Jewish Political Tradition, edited by Walzer and two others (2000, Volume 1 and 2003, Volume 2); and Arguing About War (2004). His dozens of articles on topics such as political action, equality, war, Israel, and multiculturalism were published in a variety of scholarly and political journals.

Walzer was a member of the American Philosophical Society, International Affairs Committee of the American Jewish Congress, and the Institute for Jewish Policy Planning and Research at the Synagogue Council of America. He was also a member of the Conference for the Study of Political Thought and the Society of Ethical and Legal Philosophy. He had a special relationship with the Shalom Hartman Institute, where he has worked with Judaic scholars to shape a new understanding of the Jewish political tradition.

[Lisa DeShantz-Cook (2nd ed.)]