Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. David Heyd

2017 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Humanities
In Field: Philosophy

Prof. David Heyd

Jury Statement

“The Emet Prize is awarded to Prof. David Heyd for his groundbreaking research in ethics and political philosophy and for his unique contribution in key areas: supererogation, intergenerational justice, tolerance and medical ethics.”



Prof. David Heyd was born in Jerusalem in 1945. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy from the Hebrew University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford, in 1976. Since his return to Israel he has taught in the Philosophy Department at Hebrew University, and was appointed as Chaim Perelman Professor of Philosophy in 1997.

His areas of specialty are moral philosophy, bioethics and political philosophy. His innovative contributions are in two main subjects: supererogation (action beyond the call of duty) and intergenerational justice. In his research and writings he analyzed practices such as forgiveness, generosity and tolerance in supererogatory terms. His interest in the moral standing of future people brought him to consider ethical issues in the use of technologies in medicine. In political philosophy, he concentrated on the theoretical obstacles in the extension of traditional theories of justice to global, historical and future dimensions. He was among the first in Israel to formulate a curriculum in medical ethics at the Hadassah School of Medicine in Jerusalem, and his textbook on bioethics serves both teachers and students.

Over the years, he served at the Hebrew University as Director of the S.H. Bergman Center for Philosophical Studies, editor of Iyyun, the Hebrew Philosophical Quarterly, Director of the Amirim Program and lecturer at the Medical School. He also served as a member of several committees of Ethics and Bio-ethics, including the Helsinki Committee on Experimentation on Humans at Hadassah Hospital, the Aloni Committee on Surrogacy Legislation in Israel, the Steinberg Committee on issues related to the dying patient, the Ethics Committee of the Israel Fertility Association, and the National Bioethics Council of Israel. He was a guest research fellow numerous times at academic institutions abroad, including Harvard, Berkeley, Princeton, and Columbia universities, as well as at the National Health Institutes in Washington.