Research

Current Faculty Research

Maria Victoria Costa’s book, Rawls, Citizenship, and Education, has recently been published by Routledge. The book examines John Rawls’ account of citizenship and discusses the kind of educational policies that can be legitimately pursued in order to support the rights and liberties of citizens and to encourage the cultivation of civic virtues. Her current research is focused on the neo-republican notion of freedom as non-domination, and whether this notion can be used to provide distinctive recommendations for policy and institutional design.

Timothy Costelloe has recently published two books with Cambridge University Press.  The first is The Sublime: From Antiquity to the Present (2012), a collection of fifteen original essays by writers working from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, each focusing on some aspect of or philosophical approach to the affective state traditionally referred to as “the sublime.” The second, The British Aesthetic Tradition: From Shaftesbury to Wittgenstein (2013), is a history of aesthetic theory in Britain from its origins in the later seventeenth and early eighteenth century to more recent developments in contemporary analytic thought.  He is currently revising a manuscript titled The Canvas of the Mind: The Role of Imagination in Hume’s System of Philosophy

Laura Ekstrom has published articles recently on free will, autonomy, and the will, and her major project at the moment is a book manuscript entitled Luck, Loss, and Agent Control. In this book she proposes an analysis of the concept of luck that illuminates the role it plays in discusssions of free will and moral responsibility. She also draws attention to underexplored cases of profound bad luck, cases that seem to threaten more than just freedom, but our very sense of ourselves as agents. Reflection on these cases reveals important insights about our emotional lives and the way we treat each other; it tuns out that our beliefs about luck are intimately connected to our capacities for trust, compassion, and humility.

Joshua Gert has recently completed a book, published in 2012 with Oxford University Press, entitled Normative Bedrock: Response-dependence, Rationality and Reasons. In this book, Gert offers a distinctive account of what it is for a concept to be response-dependent, as many color concepts and value concepts are often taken to be. On his view, to be response-dependent has more to do with the emergence of a referring term in the language than it has to do with the content of the concept such a term expresses, or with the nature of the property it refers to. He then goes on to give response-dependent accounts of rationality and harm, but argues that these accounts are consistent with the idea that facts about harms provide objective practical reasons.

Alan Goldman recently published a book on philosophy and novels with Oxford University Press in 2013 entitled Philosophy and the Novel, which explores ethical themes in such classics as Pride and Prejudice, Huckleberry Finn, Nostromo, and the contemporary novel, The Cider House Rules. He also has an article forthcoming in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, and will be commenting on a paper at the national meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics.

Matthew Haug received a prestigious fellowship from the National Science Foundation for the 2010-2011 academic year, during which time he has been hard at work on a book entitled Methodology and Metaphysics in the Sciences of the Mind. The book will use recent interdisciplinary research on the reciprocal relation between psychology and biochemistry to defend a particular naturalistic view of the mind, which Haug calls inclusive physicalism. The book, in part, will explore what it could mean for mental properties to be irreducible and whether such irreducibility is compatible with physicalism. In the meantime, Haug has recently published several articles on the philosophy of science and the philosophy of mind, and he has edited a collection of essays on philosophical methodology with Routledge, entitled Philosophical Methodology: The Armchair or the Laboratory? (2013).

Elizabeth Radcliffe is hard at work on a book, which is under contract at Oxford University Press, entitled Hume, Passion, and Action. This book presents a detailed study and defense of Hume’s arguments concerning the roles of reason and certain passions, namely, desires, in motivation and treats Hume as an interlocutor in several contemporary debates. The literature has many discussions of Hume’s motivational theory; however, some recent interpretations of Hume are misleading, although for interesting reasons. This book is an attempt both to address some of the interpretative issues in Hume and to develop Humeanism about reasons for action in a plausible direction, with a twist itself inspired by Hume. This book falls into three parts. Part 1 is on Hume’s model of motivation. Part 2 is on metaethical issues from Hume that have bearing on the motivational discussion, both in Hume’s theory and in contemporary venues. Part 3 critically examines and further develops a version of contemporary Humeanism about practical reasons.

Robert Sanchez is currently writing on the ethical or therapeutic aspect of the philosophy of Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, and Socrates. His interest in Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, and Socrates, moreover, is part of a more general project of articulating the ethical, social, and political value and implications of philosophy. In particular, he is working on the meaning and importance of Latin American philosophy in Anglo-American academic philosophy. He recently presented at the 3rd annual International Congress on Wittgenstein en español in Mexico, and is working on an anthology of Mexican philosophy to be translated into English.

Neal Tognazzini recently co-edited a collection of new essays for Oxford University Press, entiteld  Blame: Its Nature and Norms, published in early 2013. He is also working on a several essays about the nature and ethics of blame, including co-authoring the "blame" entry for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Future projects include an article on free will and time travel, a series of articles about the connection between the free will debate and the contemporary revival of Aristotelian metaphysics, and a book-length exploration of hierarchical views of agency and responsibility.

Christopher Freiman has recently published papers on desert and moral motivation, but his current research is on distributive justice and political philosophy more generally. A paper-in-progress on the effects of economic inequality on people’s absolute well-being was recently featured in a colloquium at the University of Arizona, where it was critiqued and discussed by senior scholars in the field.

Student Research
You can see a list of successfully defended honors theses in philosophy at the Charles Center website.