In memory of Gerhard Øverland (1964 – 2014)

Professor Gerhard Øverland (1964 - 2014) Foto: Hæge Håtveit

Our dear colleague Gerhard Øverland passed away Friday 19 September 2014, at 50 years old. He will be deeply missed.

There are many of us who have admired Gerhard’s strength, courage and good spirits after being diagnosed with cancer diagnoses one year ago. At first the medication seemed to work, and his condition improved rapidly. We had every reason to be optimistic about Gerhard’s future. Therefore, his death has come as a shock.  

Gerhard was connected in various ways with the Department of Philosophy / IFIKK and the Research Council’s (later UiO’s) Ethics Programme.

He was a teacher of the Examen Philosopicum course in the Fall-semesters from 1993 to 1997, and also, on a more sporadic basis, in the years that followed.

From 1999, he was connected with the Ethics Programme, first as a doctoral student, and later as a Postdoctoral Fellow from 2003 to 2006.

From 2010, he was employed as director of externally funded research projects. In 2012, after several years in non-permanent positions both nationally and internationally, he took up a permanent position as associate professor, later full professor, at IFIKK. Since Gerhard was a very successful securing externally funded projects, he had so far been devoted only to research, but this week, he was about to start teaching again: the “Applied Ethics” course.

It was precisely applied ethics, and moral philosophy more generally, that were Gerhard’s fields. He was particularly interested in global justice, ethics of war, questions about land claims and core issues in deontological moral theory.  Gerhard was a highly qualified scholar and an important contributor to international discussions about these topics. He published in the top international journals, and his broad international network was very welcome for the academic environment here in Oslo.

The largest of his ongoing research projects, “Innocently Benefiting from Injustice”, involves two Postdoctoral Fellows and four affiliated researchers. The projects’ main topic is the question of possible moral implications of benefiting from injustice against others. Earlier this year, Gerhard organized an international conference on the topic here at the department.

Gerhard’s engagement with basic and important questions, his extraordinary scholarly capacity and his excellent sense of humor will be a source of inspiration to us who knew him and cooperated with him.


Robert Huseby and Grethe Netland

Published Sep. 29, 2014 3:19 PM