Research What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading?

Each week, we will be opening a thread so that folks can share what they’ve been reading (with regard to their research or teaching prep). The hope is not only to discuss what members are reading and why, but also to shed light on some work that others might not be aware of; nothing fancy here, just a forum to discuss what we’re reading and how we’re thinking about it. So, whether you’re reading Susan Wolf’s “Moral Saints” to prep for teaching it again in your ethics class, or reading Michael McKenna’s Conversation and Responsibility to help develop your thoughts on a dissertation regarding a new theory of blame, we’d like to hear from you. I just read a very nice essay from Alfred Archer titled “Saints, Heroes, and Moral Necessity,” which you may or may not have heard of. I’m reading this to stay abreast on what people are writing about compassion these days, as I am working on a volume titled The Moral Psychology of Compassion. Feel free to mention articles, chapters, and books, and don’t be afraid to chime in and ask questions of those who have posted, or to ask for further recommendations.

So, what are you reading this third week of January?


  1. I’m now reading a draft of a forthcoming piece by David Shoemaker titled “You outta know: defending angry blame”. EXCELLENT piece so far. It’s for a volume forthcoming volume out later this year by Rowman and Littlefield on the Moral Psychology of Anger.

    Any other recommendations on pieces focused on either the benefits or downfalls of anger?

  2. Over the weekend I began rereading Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, this time with a view to understanding moral perception. My dissertation research is geared toward perception of complex objects, encompassing the spectrum of objects from the ‘son of Cleon’ to the ‘right action.’ I hope to develop an explanation of the cognitive/psychological processes involved in “seeing the right action.” Suggestions for further reading welcome!

  3. I’m trying to situate a paper about willpower into the literature on mental causation and dispositions. This week’s reading:
    Psillos, Stathis “Regularity Theories” (Oxford Handbook of Causation), Chap. 7.
    Paul, LA. “Counterfactual Theories,” (ibid), Chap. 8.
    Bird, Alexander. “Dispositional Expressions”
    Martin, CB. “Dispositions and Conditionals”
    Lewis, David. “Pinkish Dispositions”

  4. Lepora and Goodin’s “On Complicity & Compromise”. The weighty subject matter and the sensitivity of the authors strike you from the very first page.

  5. I’m reading Thomas S. Maloney’s new translation of Lambert of (Lagny? Ligny? Auxerre?)’s Summa Logicae, as I need to review it. 🙂 Today I was reading Maloney’s take on the question of Lambert’s city of origin. Still not sure which view I agree with!

  6. Edward Slingerland’s “Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity.” This is a very accessible introduction to the ancient Chinese concepts of ‘wu-wei’ (spontaneous action) and ‘de’ (charismatic virtue). I’m very excited to see how students respond to this book in my Intro to Eastern Thought class this spring!

  7. We’re reading Naomi Murakawa & Katherine Beckett’s “The Penology of Racial Innocence” in my Philosophy of Law class this week. It’s my first time teaching this class so some of the readings (including this one) are new to me, too. The paper does a nice job of highlighting the tensions between the legal standards for demonstrating discrimination and the shape of broader structural discrimination in the US criminal justice system. I’m looking forward to the discussion this afternoon.

  8. One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik, by Asne Seierstad (trans. from Norwegian by Sarah Death). Breivik murdered children camping on a small island close to Oslo – you remember. The book struggles with explanation, the elusive grail for what gets called “evil” because it seems inexplicable in usual terms. It is gripping, and helpful for the book I am just finishing (on the evil of banality), particularly because it does not flee immediately to ready-made ‘explanations’ I no longer find adequate at all, such as “fear of the other.” Should be interesting to others who want to glimpse, as I do, what perpetrators were thinking (as distinct from, say, being possessed by). Some hints, but rich in contexts, so suggestive.


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