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John Somerville; Peace Activist, Philosopher

John Somerville, 88, internationally known philosopher and peace activist who earned the Bertrand Russell Peace Award and the Gandhi Peace Prize. Born in New York City, Somerville earned three degrees from Columbia University and taught three decades at the City University of New York before moving to Southern California in 1967. Five of his 10 books on peace and philosophy were translated into Swedish, Danish, German, Russian and Japanese. Somerville coined and publicized the word omnicide as a warning against nuclear bombing. In his 70s, Somerville switched to writing plays, including “The Crisis,” which dealt with ethical issues involved in President John F. Kennedy’s handling of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. He won the Gandhi award given by the Connecticut-based group Promoting Enduring Peace in 1986 and the Russell award earlier. Somerville founded several peace organizations, including International Philosophers for Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide. On Jan. 8 in San Diego.


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