on sabbatical Fall 2017
East College Room 210
My research tends to focus on either (a) questions about the foundations of ethics, or (b) questions about the nature of moral cognition. Lately, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how moral "outliers" (i.e., people who think and behave in ways radically different from most) recognize and respond to the moral features of the world. In my recent book, The Meaning of Evil (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), I examine the psychologies of people commonly regarded as evil, and on this basis, argue that what makes a person evil is the particular way in which he sees, or regards, others in the moral community. I'm currently working on a number of papers that further pursue issues raised in the book. And in the not-too-distant future, I'd like to do some work on (a) the nature of mental illness and its significance in and to the moral community, and (b) the psychologies of so-called "moral saints." So if you've got any interesting thoughts about these issues, I'd like to hear them. Preferably over coffee.
PHIL 102 Moral Problems
An introduction to ethics treating normative ethical theories and their philosophical underpinnings, with consideration of contemporary moral problems.
PHIL 261 Philosophy of Psychiatry
What is mental illness? In what sense, exactly, can a mind be “ill”? And what sorts of conditions ought to count as mental illnesses? Beginning with these basic questions, this course will cover some of the most controversial and interesting issues in the philosophy of psychiatry. Among the particular conditions studied will be addiction, personality disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, and the autism spectrum.
PHIL 302 Ethical Theory
Metaethics is a branch of moral philosophy the central questions of which concern the metaphysics, epistemology, and semantics of ethics. While philosophers have been asking these sorts of questions for many centuries, the discipline of metaethics is often thought to have begun with G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica, published in 1903. So we'll begin with Moore, and then work our way through many of the major works, figures, and issues in metaethics since the beginning of the 20th century.