L. W. Sumner

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L. W. Sumner
Born Leonard Wayne Sumner
(1941-05-18) May 18, 1941 (age 75)
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater Princeton University
Awards Molson Prize
Institutions University of Toronto
Main interests
Law and philosophy

Leonard Wayne Sumner (born 18 May 1941),[1] is a Canadian philosopher notable for his work on normative and applied ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law.

Sumner is University Professor Emeritus of Law and Philosophy at the University of Toronto.[2] Since 2002, he has been a University Professor, the highest academic honour that the university accords its faculty.[3] Educated at the University of Toronto Schools, Sumner received his bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto in 1962 and his doctoral degree from Princeton University in 1965, with a thesis supervised by Stuart Hampshire and Joel Feinberg.[4] In 1990 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.[5] In 2009 he was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts.[6]

Sumner is the author of four books, including Welfare, Happiness and Ethics.[7]

Selected bibliography[edit]


  • Sumner, L.W. (1981). Abortion and moral theory. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691072623. 
  • Sumner, L.W. (1987). The moral foundations of rights. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198247517. 
  • Sumner, L.W. (1996). Welfare, happiness and ethics. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198244400. 
  • Sumner, L.W. (2004). The hateful and the obscene: studies in the limits of free expression. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9780802042392. 

Chapters in books[edit]

  • Sumner, L.W. (1978), "Classical utilitarianism and the population optimum", in Sikora, R.I.; Barry, Brian, Obligations to future generations, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, pp. 91–111, ISBN 9781874267317. 
  • Sumner, L.W. (2000), "Something in between", in Crisp, Roger; Hooker, Brad, Well-being and morality: essays in honour of James Griffin, Oxford New York: Clarendon Press Oxford University Press, pp. 1–19, ISBN 9780198235842. 
  • Sumner, L.W. (2005), "Hate crimes, literature, and speech", in Frey, R.G.; Heath Wellman, Christopher, A companion to applied ethics, Blackwell Companions to Philosophy, Oxford, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 89–101, doi:10.1002/9780470996621.ch11, ISBN 9781405133456. 

Journal articles[edit]


  1. ^ "Sumner, L. W.". Library of Congress. Retrieved 5 March 2015. [Sumner, Leonard Wayne;] [b. May 18, 1941] 
  2. ^ University of Toronto, Philosophy Department
  3. ^ Complete index of University Professors, University of Toronto's website. See also List of University of Toronto people.
  4. ^ 'Normative Ethics and Metaethics', Princeton University, 1965, 269 pages; available from ProQuest.
  5. ^ List of Fellows, Royal Society of Canada's website.
  6. ^ Philosopher Wayne Sumner wins Molson Prize
  7. ^ New York: Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-19-824440-1.

Further reading[edit]

  • William R. Carter. "Is There Life after Sumner-Death?" The Southern Journal of Philosophy 21 (1983), pp. 159–176.
  • James Woods. "Utilitarian Abortion: Sumner on Abortion", Dialogue 24 (Fall 1985), pp. 671–682.
  • David Sobel. "Sumner on Welfare", Dialogue 37 (Summer 1998), pp. 571–577.
  • Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen. "L.W. Sumner’s Account of Welfare” in (Eds.) Juan José Acero, Francesc Camós Abril, Neftalí Villanueva Fernández Actas del III Congreso de la Sociedad Española de Filosofía Analítica, Granada (2001), 281-285.
  • Krister Bykvist. "Sumner on Desires and Well-being", Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (2002), pp. 475–490.
  • John G. Slater. Minerva's Aviary: Philosophy at Toronto, 1843-2003, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005, ISBN 0-8020-3870-0, pp. 458–466.
  • Christopher Hugh Toner. "Aristotelian Well-Being: A Response to L. W. Sumner's Critique", Utilitas 18 (September 2006), pp. 218–231.

External links[edit]