COHN FERRATER MORAPRISCILLA T. (nee Neuman)
age 85, died at home with her animals on June 27 from complications from Parkinson's. A leading animal rights philosopher and vegan, her life was about overcoming a series of obstacles from her privileged upbringing, becoming a female philosopher, to becoming a leading animal rights advocate.
Growing up as the quintessential poor little rich girl, Priscilla was born December 14, 1933 to Simon and Helen Neuman, granddaughter of Harry and Rose Publicker, who had amassed a fortune in liquor and chemicals. She had a lonely childhood while growing up on a 70 acre estate that included a horse sired by Man 'o War, winning blue ribbons at the Devon Horse Show, riding with next door neighbors, young Robert Montgomery Scott and his mother Hope Scott of Philadelphia Story fame. She always gave credit to her nanny, Mary Alice Gallagher for her personal moral code, her love of books and her love of animals; attributes which would provide the foundations of her later life. She attended Haverford Friends School until the eighth grade, and graduated from the Baldwin School.
In the spring of 1951, during her senior year at Baldwin, she married Willard Cohn which caused extraordinary publicity, including the headline in the Philadelphia newspapers, "Publicker Heiress Runs Off and Weds Tailor's Son". To their credit, Baldwin allowed her to graduate. Rather than attending Sarah Lawrence, when her only child, Clifford Cohn was born, she became a full-time mom. When her son started kindergarten in 1956 she started Bryn Mawr College. She received her B.A., MA. and finally in 1969 her PhD in philosophy. She wrote her PhD thesis on the work of the then virtually unknown philosopher Heidegger, under the direction of her professor, the famous Catalan philosopher Jose Ferrater Mora. Praised as the most important Catalan philosopher since the thirteenth century, Josep Ferrater Mora, known in the Spanish-speaking world as José Ferrater Mora, was celebrated as the most profound and original Spanish thinker in the second half of the twentieth century. Writing more than 35 books, his prodigious scholarship and his original philosophy was widely acclaimed. More importantly to Priscilla he became the love of her life and they married in 1980. Priscilla was inspired to become an animal rights activist by a visit to see the baby seals on the ice flows in Canada and shortly thereafter reading Animal Liberation, the founding philosophical treatise on the animal rights movement.
Working and publishing as Dr, Cohn, she taught Philosophy for more than 35 years, and wrote on animals, environmental issues, and ethical problems, as well as on contemporary philosophers and the history of philosophy, publishing in both English and Spanish. She became a full Professor in Philosophy at Penn State University in 1982, and Professor Emerita at in 2001. She pioneered courses in animal ethics and lectured on five continents. Upon her husband's death in 1991, she became active in the The Ferrater Mora Chair of Contemporary Thought at Girona University https://www.catedraferratermora.cat/catedra/historia/en/
which organizes contemporary thinking courses led by eminent thinkers with internationally renowned prestige, including a number of Nobel Prize winners.(Continued)