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John Broome Abstract

Speaker: Prof. John Broome (University of Oxford)

Title: Rationality through Reasoning


I shall examine the nature of reasoning as something do, the criteria of correct reasoning, and how reasoning can bring us to satisfy requirements of rationality. As an application, I shall explain how correct reasoning can bring us to intend to do what we believe we ought to do.

Jonathan Dancy Abstract

Practical Reasoning and Inference

One way of capturing the force of practical reasoning, or deliberation, is to think of it as inference (e.g. the practical syllogism). I reject this inferential model, and offer another, under which the force of reasoning is of a rather different sort. The conclusion of a process of deliberation can, on this new model, be an action, and such deliberation can have a structure, but it is not inferential structure.

Philosophy Byrne Seminars

Philosophy Byrne Seminars

Fall 2010

Quantum Mysteries
Barry Loewer (Philosophy)

In this seminar, we will discuss the quantum revolution in physics that took place in the early twentieth century and its philosophical consequences. We will begin with a non-technical and non-mathematical introduction to the basic ideas of quantum mechanics. We will then look at the battle between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein concerning the aims of physics and their different views concerning what quantum mechanics says about the nature of reality. We will discuss the famous paradoxes of quantum mechanics ("Schrödinger's cat" and the "EPR paradoxes"), Bell's theorem, and whether there are non-local connections in nature. We will also discuss whether there are consequences of quantum theory for free will, consciousness, and time.

Kang, Steven

Steven Kung
Steven Sung-Hak Kang
Adjunt Professor
Contact Information
Office: Conklin 427, Newark campus
Phone: 973-353-5498
Web Page:

B.A., Sogang Univ. ;
M.A. & M.Phil., Columbia Univ. ;
Ph.D., The Univ. of Texas at Austin
Theoretical & Applied Ethics; Formal & Informal Logic; Political Philosophy; Philosophy of Religion; & Social Choice Theory
Primary research interests are located in Ethical and Political Philosophy. In particular, he has been concerned with exploring the legitimate extent to which moral choice may be rendered to be a function of rational choice when multiple value commitments are in conflict with one another; and also with finding the proper balance between equity and efficiency in the issue of social distributive justice. Other interests are in Philosophy of Religion with the questions on coherence of divine attributes and existence, ideas and limits of theodicy, and epistemic nature of faith and spiritual experiences.
Selected Publications
  • “Moral Axiomatics: Relevance of Social Choice Theory to Ethical Theory,” Presented at the 5th European Congress for Analytical Philosophy (ECAP5) Lisbon, Portugal , August 2005.
  • “Free Will and Distributive Justice,” Philosophia, 31: 1-2 (October 2003), pp. 107-126. Catalogued by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (
  • “The Molinist Solution to the Dilemma of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom: A Critical Appraisal,” (2007), Mimeo.

Walker, Matthew

 Matt Walker

Matthew Walker
ACLS New Faculty Fellow

Contact Information
Office: Seminary 3
B.A. Amherst College, Ph.D. Yale University
Ancient Philosophy, Ethics
Research and Professional Activities

The main focus of my research is Aristotle's ethical theory. Here, I am principally interested in Aristotle's views on the place of contemplation in the happy life, and in understanding these views against the background of Aristotle's biological naturalism (especially his views on living organisms as self-maintaining systems). I argue that while Aristotle thinks that contemplation is the highest end of a happy life, and is in some sense a useless activity, Aristotle also identifies a useful role for contemplation in the self-maintaining activity of human beings. Hence, contemplation plays a role in the good for human beings continuous with the role that perception plays in the good for animals and nutrition plays in the good for plants.

I maintain related interests in Platonic and Aristotelian views on friendship and self-knowledge, and am at work on various papers covering these topics. In 2008, I participated in the NEH Summer Seminar "Traditions into Dialogue: Confucianism and Contemporary Virtue Ethics."
Selected Publications

"Contemplation and Self-Awareness in the Nicomachean Ethics" (forthcoming in Rhizai)

I explore Aristotle’s account in the Nicomachean Ethics of how agents attain self-awareness through contemplation. I argue that Aristotle sets up an account of self-awareness through contemplating friends in Books VIII-IX that completes itself in Book X’s remarks on theoretical contemplation. I go on to provide an account of how contemplating the divine, on Aristotle’s view, elicits self-awareness.

"Aristotle on Activity 'According to the Best and Most Final' Virtue" (forthcoming in Apeiron)

I examine Aristotle's claim (in Nicomachean Ethics I.7 1098a16-18) that eudaimonia consists in "activity of soul according to virtue, but if there are many virtues, then according to the best and most final" virtue. Ongoing debate between inclusivist and exclusivist readers of this passage has focused on the referent of "the best and most final" virtue. I argue that even if one accepts the exclusivist's answer to this reference question, one still needs an account of what it means for activity of soul to accord with the best and most final virtue. I examine the nature of this accordance relation and defend a novel inclusivist reading of the whole passage.


Review of Paula Gottlieb, The Virtue of Aristotle's Ethics. Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (2010): 397-398.

"The Utility of Contemplation in Aristotle's Protrepticus." Ancient Philosophy 30 (2010): 135-153.

Fragments of Aristotle’s lost Protrepticus seem to offer inconsistent arguments for the value of contemplation (one argument appealing to contemplation's uselessness, the other appealing to its utility). In this paper, I argue that these arguments are mutually consistent. Further, I argue that, contrary to first appearances, Aristotle has resources in the Protrepticus for explaining how contemplation, even if it has divine objects, can nevertheless be useful in the way in which he claims, viz., for providing cognitive access to boundary markers (horoi) of the human good.


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