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Faculty Profile

Jim Sias

Associate Professor of Philosophy (2013)

Contact Information

East College Room 206


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 first 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. My current research focuses primarily on the significance of mental illness in and to the moral community, with a special emphasis (for now) on schizophrenia and psychosis.

Curriculum Vitae


  • B.S., Point University, 2005
  • M.A., Georgia State University, 2007
  • M.A., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2009
  • Ph.D., 2013

2020-2021 Academic Year

Spring 2021

PHIL 102 Introduction to Ethics
An introduction to the philosophical study of morality, focusing on concepts of right and wrong, virtue and vice, and wellbeing. This course provides students the opportunity to hone their ethical reasoning skills by critically examining how some of history’s most influential philosophers thought about issues in morality. Students will also develop more general skills, such as evaluating philosophical arguments, and expressing and defending their own ideas in writing.

PHIL 257 Moral Psychology
An investigation of philosophical issues at the intersection of ethics and psychology. For example, is there any empirical basis to beliefs about free will and moral responsibility? What are emotions, and what role do they have to play in our moral lives? How can so many intelligent and open-minded people reach such radically different moral conclusions? Are there really such things as traits of virtue and vice? These are among the issues we’ll explore in this course.Prerequisite: One PHIL course, or permission of instructor.

PHIL 500 Independent Study

PHIL 550 Independent Research