Shelly Kagan
homepage:http://www.yale.edu/philos/people/kagan_shelly.html
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Description

Areas of Interests

Ethics, social and political philosophy.

As my publications reveal, my main research interests lie in moral philosophy, in particular normative ethics. Indeed, my second book is a systematic survey of the field of normative ethics, considered analytically (rather than historically, as is more typical of textbooks in ethics). More particularly still, much of my work centers on the debate between consequentialist and deontological moral theories. My first book dealt with two common objections to consequentialism, that it is too demanding, and that it fails to recognize that certain types of acts are morally forbidden—even when performing those acts would bring about the best possible results. I argue that neither objection can be sustained. The book thus constitutes a kind of back door defense of consequentialism. Since then, much of my work has been devoted to trying to arrive at an adequate theory of the good (to incorporate into that consequentialist framework), with publications on (among other things) the nature of well–being, the concept of intrinsic value, and problems involving ranking worlds with infinite amounts of utility. For the last several years I have been working on the nature of moral desert. I think that desert is a far more complex topic than has been previously appreciated, but that we can make progress in better understanding the alternative possible views that are available here by representing these views in graphs. Hence the title of my main work in progress, The Geometry of Desert.

Education PhD 1982, Princeton

Current or Recent Courses Taught

  • Introduction: Ethics
  • Death
  • Normative Ethics
  • Moral Epistemology

Selected Publications

Books

  • The Limits of Morality (Oxford, 1989)
  • Normative Ethics (Westview, 1998)

Articles

  • "The Additive Fallacy", Ethics 99, #1 (October, 1988): 5-31.
  • "The Structure of Normative Ethics", Philosophical Perspectives 6(1992): 223-242.
  • "Me and My Life", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 94 (1994): 309-324.
  • "Infinite Value and Finitely Additive Value Theory" (with Peter Vallentyne), The Journal of Philosophy 94, #1 (January, 1997): 5-26.
  • "Equality and Desert", in What Do We Deserve, edited by Owen McLeod and Louis Pojman Oxford: 1998): 298-314.
  • "Rethinking Intrinsic Value", The Journal of Ethics 2, #4 (1998): 277-297.
  • "Evaluative Focal Points", in Morality, Rules, and Consequences, edited by Brad Hooker, Elinor Mason, and Dale Miller (Edinburgh: 2000): 134-155.
  • "Thinking About Cases", Social Philosophy and Policy 18, #2 (2001): 44-63
  • "Kantianism for >Consequentialists," forthcoming, Kant's Groundwork,ed. Allen Wood (Yale University Press).

Works in Progress

Book

  • The Geometry of Desert

Articles

  • Indeterminate Desert
  • “Comparative Desert”


Lectures:

lecture
flag Lecture 26 - Suicide, Part III: The morality of suicide and course conclusion
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
828 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 25 - Suicide, Part II: Deciding under uncertainty
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
698 views
lecture
flag Lecture 24 - Suicide, Part I: The rationality of suicide
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
2197 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 23 - How to live given the certainty of death
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
630 views
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flag Lecture 22 - Fear of death
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
605 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 21 - Other bad aspects of death, Part II
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
150 views
lecture
flag Lecture 20 - The value of life, Part II; Other bad aspects of death, Part I
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
205 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 19 - Immortality Part II; The value of life, Part I
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
244 views
event
flag YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
  lecture
flag Lecture 18 - The badness of death, Part III; Immortality, Part I
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
374 views
lecture
flag Lecture 17 - The badness of death, Part II: The deprivation account
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
321 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 16 - Dying alone; The badness of death, Part I
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
349 views
lecture
flag Lecture 15 - The nature of death (cont.); Believing you will die
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
299 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 14 - What matters (cont.); The nature of death, Part I
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
297 views
lecture
flag Lecture 13 - Personal identity, Part IV; What matters?
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
319 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 12 - Personal identity, Part III: Objections to the personality theory
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
348 views
lecture
flag Lecture 11 - Personal identity, Part II: The body theory and the personality theory
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
411 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 10 - Personal identity, Part I: Identity across space and time and the soul theory
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
521 views
lecture
flag Lecture 9 - Plato, Part IV: Arguments for the immortality of the soul (cont.)
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
278 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 8 - Plato, Part III: Arguments for the immortality of the soul (cont.)
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
379 views
lecture
flag Lecture 7 - Plato, Part II: Arguments for the immortality of the soul
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
424 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 6 - Arguments for the existence of the soul, Part IV; Plato, Part I
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
535 views
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flag Lecture 5 - Arguments for the existence of the soul, Part III: Free will and near-death experiences
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
876 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 4 - Introduction to Plato's Phaedo; Arguments for the existence of the soul, Part II
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
914 views
lecture
flag Lecture 3 - Arguments for the existence of the soul, Part I
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
2014 views
  lecture
flag Lecture 2 - The nature of persons: dualism vs. physicalism
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
2275 views
lecture
flag Lecture 1 - Course introduction
as author at  YALE PHIL 176 - Death with Professor Shelly Kagan,
4989 views