Formerly a Professor of Philosophy at Brandeis University, Sissela Bok is currently a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. She has written extensively on topics in the fields of bioethics, practical ethics, biography, and public affairs. A former member of the Pulitzer Prize Board, she is on the editorial boards of a number of journals, including the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Criminal Justice Ethics, and Common Knowledge.
A writer and philosopher, Dr. Bok was born in Sweden and educated in Switzerland and France before coming to the United States. She received her B.A. and M.A. in psychology from George Washington University in 1957 and 1958 respectively. In 1970, she received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University in 1970 and holds honorary doctorates from Mount Holyoke College, George Washington University, Clark University, the University of Massachusetts, and Georgetown University. She has received the Abram L. Sachar Silver Medallion from the Brandeis University National Women’s Committee; the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in 1991; the Radcliffe Society Graduate medal, the Barnard College Medal of Distinction, the Hastings Center Henry Knowles Beecher Award, and the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Award. Most recently she has received the St. Botolph Foundation Award for Distinction in Literature (2002).
With John Behnke, Dr. Bok has co-edited the Dilemmas of Euthanasia (1975) and with Daniel Callahan, Ethics Teaching in Higher Education (1980). She is co-author, with Gerald Dworkin and R.G. Frey, of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide (1998). Other books include: Lying: Moral Choice in Private and Public Life(1978, reissued in 1999), for which she received the George Orwell Award and the Melcher Book Award; Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation(1982, 1989); A Strategy for Peace: Human Values and the Threat of War (1989);Alva Myrdal: A Daughter’s Memoir (1991), for which she received the Melcher Book Award; Common Values (1996, reissued in 2002) and Mayhem: Violence as Public Entertainment (1998). Her newest book is Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science (2010)