Monday, January 16, 2006

Dissertation Committee Formed

I have reached a milestone in my progress towards a PhD. I have formed my disseration committee!

The chair of my committee is Peter French. He's the director of ASU's Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics and has a great reputation in ethics and related fields. He's long been the editor of Midwest Studies in Philosophy, and he also edits the Journal of Social Philosophy. My two other committee members are Michael White and Julia Annas. Prof. White is a professor of philosophy and professor of law at ASU. His knowledge of the history of philosophy (among other fields) is encyclopedic. Prof. Annas is a Regents Professor of philosophy at Univeristy of Arizona. She is very well known for her work in ancient ethics and virtue ethics.

My topic is going to be on Phronesis or Moral Wisdom. I want to explore its role in moral theory and in our moral lives. One of the questions I want to look at is to what extent neo-Aristotelian accounts like Rosalind Hursthouse's in "On Virtue Ethics" are superior to versions of Virtue Ethics (and possibly other normative theories), like Michael Slote's in "Morals from Motives", that seem to downplay phronesis. I also want to look at the development of phronesis from Aristotle up through Aquinas and into the modern period.

So now I am working on developing a reading list for my comprehensive exam--which I hope to take in May.


em²ile² said...

Wow, sounds like quite the project. I am definitely not looking forward to writing/presenting a Philosophy thesis, and that's just for a BA. Incidentally, what are your (detailed) thoughts on Mill's Utilitarianism?

Shawn Klein said...

Thanks, Michelle, for your congrats.

Emmilee, a philosophy thesis can be quite a challenge; but, it can also be a rewarding experience. Find a topic that interests you and a supporting faculty member and you'll be alright. As for my detailed thoughts on Mill's Utilitarianism, that's far too broad a question. Mill's Utilitarianism is certainly one of the most important books in the history of ethics, and should be read by all moral philosophers.