Remembering Professor Tom Campbell (1938-2019)

Professor Tom Campbell
Professor Tom Campbell will be remembered for his influential work on the Scottish Enlightenment and various aspects of moral and legal philosophy.

It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Professor Tom Campbell, who passed away on 27 July 2019 at the age of 81 in Canberra.

Professor Campbell joined The Australian National University (ANU) Faculty of Law, as it was then known, in 1990. He served as Dean from 1994 to 1997, before being appointed a Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University (CSU), Canberra.

Professor Campbell graduated MA from the University of Glasgow in 1962, with first-class honours in Mental Philosophy. He went to Balliol College, Oxford as a Snell Exhibitioner and Ferguson Scholar, graduating BA in Theology in 1964, and returned to Glasgow to lecture in Social and Political Philosophy in the Department of Politics.

He received his PhD in 1969 from the University of Glasgow for his thesis "Adam Smith and the Sociology of Morals". His research interests lay primarily in the Scottish Enlightenment and issues in moral and legal philosophy. In 1973, he was appointed Professor of Philosophy at the University of Stirling.

At ANU, Professor Campbell specialised in the areas of Philosophy of Law, Justice, Rights, Business and Professional Ethics and Adam Smith. He made an enormous contribution to scholarship in philosophy and legal theory, especially what he called “prescriptive legal positivism”.

“I would liked to be seen as contributing to the resurgence of interest in the normative aspects of legal positivism, particularly the moral and political benefits of a model of law that focuses on developing and impartially following and applying a body of rules that can routinely be understood and adjudicated without recourse to adopting a particular position on controversial moral and factual matters,” he stated in a CSU paper in 2007.

Writing for the University of Glasgow School of Law blog, Professor Tom Mullen acknowledged Professor Campbell will also be remembered for his influential work on the Scottish Enlightenment and various aspects of moral and legal philosophy including justice, human rights, business and professional ethics.

His books included Adam Smith's science of morals (1981), The Left and rights: a conceptual analysis of the idea of socialist rights (1983), Justice (1988), Prescriptive legal positivism: law, rights and democracy (2004), Rights: a critical introduction (2006) and several co-edited essay collections including Human rights: from rhetoric to reality (1986), The legal protection of human rights: sceptical essays (2001 and 2011) and The new corporate accountability: corporate social responsibility and the law (2007).

Professor Campbell was a generous friend, a brilliant conversationalist and beloved Dean who touched the lives of countless students and colleagues at ANU. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

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