Jordan Howard Sobel

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Jordan Howard Sobel
Born(1929-09-22)September 22, 1929
DiedMarch 26, 2010(2010-03-26) (aged 80)
ResidenceToronto, Ontario
NationalityAmerican, Canadian (dual-citizen)
Other namesJ.H. Sobel, Howard Sobel
EducationHyde Park High School
Alma materUniversity of Illinois
University of Iowa
University of Michigan
Notable work
Logic and Theism
Spouse(s)Willa Sobel (nee Freeman)
SchoolAnalytic philosophy
InstitutionsUniversity of Toronto
Main interests

Jordan Howard Sobel (22 September 1929 – 26 March 2010) was a Canadian-American philosopher specializing in ethics, logic, and decision theory. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, Canada.[1] In addition to his areas of specialization, Sobel made notable contributions in the fields of philosophy of religion, and value theory.[2][3]


Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Sobel was a graduate of Hyde Park High School in Chicago before going on to study at the University of Illinois, where he earned a B.S. in Commerce and Law in 1951. He went on to earn an M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Iowa, followed by a doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Michigan in 1961. His dissertation, titled "What if everyone did that?" was supervised by Richard Cartwright and William Frankena.[4]


Sobel's teaching career starting at Monteith College, Wayne State University (1960–1961), before holding positions at Princeton University (1961–1963), UCLA (1963–1969), University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1968–1969). The same year he joined the University of Toronto, where he taught for 28 years until his retirement in 1997.[5]

Sobel has enjoyed a close relationship with the University of Uppsala, Sweden, holding two visiting professorships in 1986, 1991, 1997–1998, and then onwards until 2004. In 2003, the University of Uppsala bestowed an honorary doctorate on Sobel. He also held visiting professorships at Dalhousie University in 1988, and the University of Umeå in 1995.[4]


Sobel is the author of more than 75 refereed publications in philosophy, as well as four books. His early publications focused on ethics, most notably utilitarianism, and determinism. Later in his career, his interests turned to decision theory and philosophy of religion.[5][6]


  • Taking Chances: Essays on Rational Choice, Cambridge University Press (1994) [7]
  • Puzzles for the Will, University of Toronto Press (1998) [8]
  • Logic and Theism: Arguments for and against Beliefs in God, Cambridge University Press (2004) [9]
  • Walls and Vaults: A Natural Science of Morals, Wiley (2011) [10]


  1. ^ "University of Toronto Scarborough Philosophy News." In Memoriam (Fall 2010): 5; 6. Print.
  2. ^ "Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog: In Memoriam: J. Howard Sobel (1929–2010)". 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  3. ^ Rabinowicz, Wlodek. "In Memoriam – Jordan Howard Sobel (1929–2010)." Theoria 76 (2010): 192–96. Lund University. Web.
  4. ^ a b "Jordan Sobel Obituary – Toronto, ON | Toronto Star". Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  5. ^ a b "Jordan Howard Sobel : CV" (PDF). Archived from the original on May 15, 2006. Retrieved 2016-06-02.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  6. ^ Sobel, Jordan Howard. Taking Chances: Essays on Rational Choice. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994. Print.
  7. ^ Sobel, Jordan Howard (12 December 1994). "Taking Chances". Cambridge University Press – via PhilPapers.
  8. ^ Sobel, Jordan Howard (12 December 1998). "Puzzles for the Will". University of Toronto Press – via PhilPapers.
  9. ^ Sobel, Jordan Howard (12 December 2017). "Logic and Theism: Arguments for and Against Beliefs in God". Cambridge University Press – via PhilPapers.
  10. ^ Sobel, Jordan Howard (12 December 2017). "Walls and Vaults: A Natural Science of Morals (Virtue Ethics According to David Hume)". Wiley – via PhilPapers.

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