William and Mary

Alan Goldman: the nature of practical reason

  • Alan Goldman
    Alan Goldman
    Professor Alan Goldman's new book examines the general nature of practical reasoning.

Alan Goldman received his B.A. from Yale and Ph.D. from Columbia. Before becoming the Kenan Professor at Wlliam & Mary in 2002, he taught at the University of Miami for 25 years, 10 as chair of the department. He has held visiting positions at the University of Auckland, University of Michigan, and University of Colorado, as well as an NEH Fellowship in Residence at Princeton. He is the author of Justice and Reverse Discrimination (Princeton, 1979), The Moral Foundations of Professional Ethics (Rowman & Littlefield, 1980), Empirical Knowledge (California, 1988), Moral Knowledge (Routledge, 1988), Aesthetic Value (Westview, 1995), and Practical Rules: When We Need Them and When We Don't (Cambridge, 2002), as well as many articles in epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and philosophy of law.  His latest book, Reasons from Within: Desires and Values, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2009.  It was written with the support of year long fellowship grants from the ACLU and NEH.

Professor Goldman has been working for the past several years mainly in the area of practical reason.  His most recent book deals with the question of when we should reason by applying rules.  His new book, which will be published by Oxford in November, 2009, examines the nature of practical reasons more generally.  It defends the view that all the reasons we have for acting in various ways derive from our concerns or motivations.  None of those reasons derive from objective values, since there are no objective values.  Professor Goldman is also currently writing invited chapters on Hume's aesthetics and on the value of music.  And he has recently published papers in epistemology, as well.  So he continues to work in various areas of philosophy simultaneously.  This may be be attributed to his view that all philosophical problems are utlimately connected, or to a case of attention deficit.