Bernardo (Bernie) Joaquin Cantens, CPA, MA (Accounting), MA (Philosophy), and Ph.D. (Philosophy) was born in Miami, Florida. He is a first-generation Cuban American. His parents were exiled to the United States in the 1960s as political refugees from Cuba. Bernie completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting in 1987, and he also earned his Master of Arts degree in Accounting in 1993 from Florida International University. He went on to become licensed as a Certified Public Accountant and worked in the accounting field for several years.
In 1992, he decided to return to school, and he earned a second Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, graduating Cum Laude and earning an Academic Achievement Award in Philosophy. He received a full-tuition scholarship and an Assistantship at the University of Miami (Florida) for the graduate doctoral program in Philosophy, which he completed in 1999. He is currently the Executive Vice President and Provost of Sul Ross State University.
His scholarly research and teaching focuses on metaphysics, logic, virtue ethics, American pragmatism, and applied ethics in the health sciences (Bioethics, Medical Ethics, Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering, Ethics for the Public's Health, Ethics of Abortion, Virtue Ethics and Nursing, and Law, Regulation and Ethics in Medicine.)
Cantens' research and scholarship have been recognized through a variety of national awards, prizes, grants, and fellowships. In 2004, he received the first American Philosophical Association Award in Latin American Thought for his essay on Fransisco Vitoria's International Law. He also received the American Philosophical William James Prize in 2005 for his essay on C. S. Peirce's philosophy of religion. His research on American pragmatist C. S. Peirce also earned him a year-long fellowship from the National Endowment of Humanities in 2005-2006. In 2006, he was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University where he continued his work on Peirce and evolutionary theory. He was also the recipient of a National Endowment of the Humanities scholarship for a Summer Institute at New York University (Buffalo) on Cuban Identity.
His teaching has also been recognized with a two-year (2014-2016) Enduring Questions Grant by the National Endowment of the Humanities. The $32,000 grant was to develop a new course entitled What is Peace? Cantens also participated in an $800,000 online teaching grant with The Council of Independent Colleges funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Cantens is a well-published scholar with over 30 scholarly peer-reviewed articles and over 60 lectures delivered at scholarly national and international conferences. He was the editor of the APA Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues in Philosophy from 2008-2013. In addition to the peer-reviewed journal articles, Cantens has several book chapters published in anthologies with the following publishers: Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Blackwell Publishing, Acumen Publishing Limited, Cambridge Scholars Press, and Brill Publishing.
His essay "Philosophy, Law and Mysticism in Renaissance Spain" was recently published in 2018 in A Companion to Spanish Renaissance by Brill Publishers. His book A Critical Introduction to the Ethics of Abortion: Understanding the Moral Arguments was published in February 2019 by Bloomsbury Publisher.
He is currently working on a manuscript: Ethics of Abortion: The Potentiality Argument. He is also working on several essays on the topic of abortion and on pragmatism.
Cantens was the director of a new Grant funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation on Applied Humanities. The purpose of the project is to create a sustainable model for the integration of the humanities with professional programs.