Christian Bay, a retired professor of political science at the University of Toronto, died Sunday of pneumonia at Toronto Western Hospital, a colleague said yesterday. Professor Bay was 69 years old and lived in Toronto
Professor Bay's areas of scholarly interest included peace studies, political philosophy and the psychology of politics. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a member of the governing council of the American Political Science Association from 1971 to 1973 and a member of the council of the International Society of Political Psychology from 1981 to 1983.
In 1969 Professor Bay was defeated in a hotly contested election for the presidency of the American Political Science Association. Professor Bay, an outspoken critic of the United States involvement in Vietnam, advocated making the association more engaged politically.
His best-known book was The Structure of Freedom, a psychological study of the quest for freedom, which was published by the Stanford University Press. It came out in 1958 and was a co-winner of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation's 1959 book award. In it, he suggests:
It is time that the notion of value-free political science be abandoned altogether. Every social problem, the proper subject matter of political inquiry, implies one value commitment or another from the moment it is perceived as such; the clarification of any social problem involves, unless we are deceiving ourselves, a further sharpening of the normative as well as the factual premises from which we wish our inquiry to proceed.
The American Political Science Review said the book was
an important and useful contribution to analytic political theory because for the first time it brings to bear the findings of the various behavioral sciences on the problem of freedom.
Professor Bay was born in Oslo and became a naturalized Canadian while retaining Norwegian citizenship.
After studying law at the University of Oslo, he earned his doctorate in political science in 1959 at the same university, with his book The Structure of Freedom serving as his doctoral dissertation. He went on to teach in the United States at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley before becoming chairman of the political science department at the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 1966. He joined the University of Toronto faculty in 1972 and retired two years ago.
He is survived by his wife, Juanita; a sister, Marie Bay of Oslo; two daughters, Marit Bay of Haliburton, Ontario, and Mia Bay of New Haven, and a son, Helge Bay of Toronto.
“Christian Bay, 69, A Political Scientist Who Studied Peace,” by Eric Pace, The New York Times, May 10, 1990