Center for Values and Social Policy


David Boonin

Philosophy Department Faculty Fellows
David Boonin
Iskra Fileva
Chris Heathwood
Adam Hosein
Michael Huemer
Alison Jaggar
Alastair Norcross
Graham Oddie
Michael Tooley
Ajume Wingo

Other Faculty Fellows
Lorraine Bayard de Volo
David Ciplet
Emmanuel David
Justin Desautels-Stein
Liam Downey
Michaele Ferguson
Nicholas Flores
Nan Goodman
Aya Gruber
Ben Hale
Jill Harrison
Sarah Krakoff
Patricia Limerick
David Mapel
Celeste Montoya
Michele Moses
Robert Nagel
Helen Norton
Beth Osnes
Phaedra C Pezzullo
David Pyrooz
Michael Radelet
Anna Spain
Steve Vanderheiden
Ahmed White
Terri Wilson



who's who

David Boonin, Professor of Philosophy, is the Director of the Center. He received his B.A. summa cum laude from Yale University in 1986 and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1992. He taught at Georgetown University (1992-94) and Tulane University (1994-98) before taking up his current position at CU in 1998. He also held a visiting position for a semester as an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2006. Professor Boonin's interests lie in the areas of applied ethics, ethical theory, and the history of ethics. He is the author of Thomas Hobbes and the Science of Moral Virtue (Cambridge University Press, 1994), A Defense of Abortion (Cambridge University Press, 2003), The Problem of Punishment (Cambridge University Press, 2008) Should Race Matter? (Cambridge University Press, 2011), and The Non-Identity Problem and the Ethics of Future People (Oxford University Press, 2014) as well as a number of articles on such subjects as animal rights, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and our moral obligations to future generations. He is also the co-author and co-editor, with Graham Oddie, of the popular textbook What's Wrong?: Applied Ethicists and Their Critics (Oxford University Press, 2004). Professor Boonin is currently writing a book on posthumous harm. For more information, see Professor Boonin's personal website and CV.


Iskra Fileva (Ph.D., Boston University, 2009) is Assistant Professor of Philosophy. She joined the department in Fall 2014. Prior to coming to the University of Colorado, Boulder, she taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Professor Fileva specializes in ethics, moral psychology, and issues at the intersection of philosophy, psychology, and psychiatry. She also does some work in aesthetics and epistemology. The main focus of Professor Fileva's research is on the connections and tensions between conscious and unconscious motivation, the links between rational and psychological explanations of action, the influence of character and personality traits on reasons for action, and the boundary between irrationality and mental disorder. She is currently working on a book manuscript provisionally entitled: "Ghost Writers of the Soul", in which she explores the role of unconscious motivation and unchosen psychological facts on action and identity. She is also the editor of "Questions of Character," an interdisciplinary volume of essays featuring work by leading philosophers, psychologists, and social scientists, forthcoming from Oxford University Press. View the anthology's contents page. Read the preface. In 2013, Professor Fileva became the winner of the Character Project's Essay Award. Read her prize-winning essay here. Listen to an interview with her here. For more information on Professor Fileva's teaching and research, including a list of publications, see her CV.


Chris Heathwood (PhD, UMass, 2005) is Associate Professor of Philosophy. He joined the CU department in 2005 and works mainly in theoretical ethics, but also has interests in metaphysics and the philosophy of religion. Most of his research has been on the topic of well-being, or of what things are of ultimate benefit and harm to us, and on various topics in metaethics. During the 2012-13 academic year, Heathwood was a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow at Princeton University's University Center for Human Values. He currently serves as the Philosophy Department's Director of Undergraduate Studies. Professor Heathwood recently finished a paper on the nature of irreducibly normative properties, which will appear in Oxford Studies in Metaethics, volume 10. He also recently completed the entry on "Desire-Fullfillment Theory" for The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being (G. Fletcher, ed.). His long-term research project is a book manuscript defending a desire satisfaction theory of well-being. In connection with this, he is currently working on identifying the desires that are relevant to welfare, on solving the problem of remote desires, and on understanding the resonance constraint for theories of well-being. He is also thinking about the nature pleasure and pain -- in particular, arguments against the hedonic tone theory and defenses of attitude-based theories


Adam Hosein (PhD, MIT) is Assistant Professor of Philosophy. He works mainly in moral, political, and legal philosophy, with a special interest in areas of international concern and issues relating to race or gender. He has held fellowships and visiting positions at Chicago Law, Harvard University, the University of Toronto, and the Université catholique de Louvain. He holds a BA in philosophy, politics, and economics from Merton College, Oxford and a PhD from MIT.


Michael Huemer (PhD, Rutgers, 1998) is Professor of Philosophy. He Joined the Department in 1998. Professor Huemer has worked on a variety of issues in metaethics, normative ethics, and political philosophy, including such topics as ethical intuitionism, philosophical and political anarchism, gun control, immigration, and drug laws. He thinks you have a right to own guns, use drugs, and migrate wherever you want. He has proved that equality has no intrinsic value, that there are no absolute moral constraints, that there are objective moral reasons, and that a world full of people with wonderful lives is inferior to a world containing a sufficiently large number of barely worthwhile lives. Read more about his completely sensible views in his best-selling* books Ethical Intuitionism and The Problem of Political Authority. [*Note: "best-seller" here refers to the top million books available on Amazon.]


Alison Jaggar (PhD, Buffalo, 1970) is Professor of Philosophy and of Women and Gender Studies. She joined the faculty at CU Boulder in 1990. She is a College Professor of Distinction and a Research Coordinator at the Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature, University of Oslo, Norway. In 2011, Jaggar won the University of Colorado Gee Memorial Lectureship for advancing women, interdisciplinary scholarly contributions and distinguished teaching. Professor Jaggar works in the areas of contemporary social, moral and political philosophy, often from a feminist perspective. In the past decade, her work has introduced gender as a category of analysis into the philosophical debate on global justice. Currently, Jaggar is a member of a "Fempov," a multi-disciplinary and international research team whose aim is to produce a new poverty standard or metric capable of revealing the gendered dimensions of global poverty. In addition, Jaggar is exploring the potential of a naturalized approach to moral epistemology for addressing moral disputes in contexts of inequality and cultural difference. For more information, see Professor Jaggar's CV.


Alastair Norcross (PhD, Syracuse, 1991) is Associate Professor of Philosophy. His research is primarily in ethical theory. His overarching project is to make the world safe for consequentialist theories, in particular utilitarianism. Although he has many good friends who are Kantians (or other varieties of deontologist) and even some who are virtue ethicists, he still doesn't really understand how their minds work (as Wittgenstein says "If a lion could talk, we could not understand him"), but so long as they keep drinking his martinis, he'll keep trying to understand. He also does some work in areas of applied ethics, such as abortion, euthanasia, and animal rights (though, like Bentham and Peter Singer, he regards all natural rights as nonsense, sometimes on stilts). For more information, see Professor Norcross's personal website and CV.


Graham Oddie (PhD, London, 1979) is Professor of Philosophy. His main research interest with the values area include: the metaphysics and epistemology of value; the relation between the axiological and the deontic; moral uncertainty; fitting attitude theories; additivity and organic unity; cognitive and aesthetic value. In Value Reality and Desire (OUP, 2005/2009) and in a series of papers he defends a robust realism about value. He was the first to propose what is now known as Expected Moral Value Theory -- in "Moral uncertainty and human embryo experimentation" ( Medicine and Moral Reasoning (CUP, 1994)) and in "The objectivist's guide to subjective value" (Ethics 1991, with Peter Menzies). In "Act and value: expectations and the representability of moral theories", (Theoria 48 1991) he and Peter Milne proved that the deontic structure of any moral theory can be captured by an agent-neutral axiology. In "Axiological Atomism" (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2001) and "Recombinant Values" (Philosophical Studies, 2001) he gave a limited defense of the additivity of value. He works on the value of truth, truthlikeness and accuracy and has shown in his most recent paper (""What accuracy could not be") that the epistemic utility and truthlikeness programs cannot be combined into a single coherent theory of cognitive value.


Michael Tooley


Ajume H. Wingo (PhD, Wisconsin, 1997) is Associate Professor of Philosophy. He was born in Nso in the North West Province of Cameroon. He attended Cameroon College of Arts, Science and Technology (CCAST) Bambili where he studied History, Economics and Geography. He also attended the University of Yaounde, Cameroon where he studied law at the Faculty of Law and Economics. He obtained his BA from the University of California Berkeley and an MA (1995) and PhD (1997) from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He was a fellow at the Institute on Race and Social Division, Boston University; a fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard; a Visiting Assistant Professor at Clark University and Emerson College; and an Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is currently an Associate of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard. Professor Wingo has published widely on liberal democratic philosophy and politics, particularly on institutional building in places where there are non-liberal democratic or illegitimate political institutions. He has also published on Civic Education, African Politics, African Art, and Aesthetics. His book Veil Politics in Liberal Democratic States is published by Cambridge University Press in the Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Public Policy series. He is currently working on a book entitled The Citizen, in collaboration with Dr. Michael Kruse. The book is about how Africans can move beyond where their history has put them and begin to make their own future and secure their own political freedom. For more information see Professor Wingo's CV.


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