Skip to Content

Philosophy Department

Contact Information

Email
Website
016 Furman Hall

Education

PhD, Philosophy, New School for Social Research, 2014

Matthew Congdon

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Current Research

My core areas of research are ethics (primarily moral psychology and metaethics), social philosophy, feminist philosophy, and the intersections of ethics and epistemology. I am particularly interested in the nature of moral change and moral progress: both how individuals can modify their existing ethical outlooks by learning from experience and how moral development occurs on a broader, historical scale as a result of collective social struggle.
 
I am writing a book, Moral Articulation: On the Formation of New Moral Universals, which focuses on the historical development of new moral concepts. My leading example is the development of new moral terms in the 20th century, like ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘hate speech’, which give expression to previously marginalized forms of ethical experience. My question is how best to understand what we are doing when we bring ethically significant acts and events under new descriptions. Are we simply naming moral realities that already exist, fully formed and intact, prior to their expression in language? Or do ethical phenomena bear a more sensitive relation to the descriptions under which they fall, such that the development of new modes of ethical expression help constitute the very objects they bring to light? I argue that we can accept a version of the latter, transformative view without sacrificing notions of moral truth, objectivity, and knowledge. The result is a new theory of moral value I call historicized moral realism, which holds that morality can be both (a) objectively rational and (b) historically alterable.

Other research-in-progress includes work on neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism, Hegelian recognition theory, and the normative status of bodily pain.

I recently co-organized (with Alice Crary, Oxford University) a workshop on the theme of “Social Visibility” to held at Vanderbilt on April 12th and 13th, 2019. Information can be found here.

Specializations

Ethics, Social Philosophy, and Aesthetics


Representative publications

"Creative Resentments: The Role of Emotions in Moral Change,The Philosophical Quarterly (2018).

“‘Knower’ as an Ethical Concept: From Epistemic Agency to Mutual Recognition,Feminist Philosophy Quarterly (2018). 

“What’s Wrong With Epistemic Injustice?” Routledge Handbook to Epistemic Injustice, ed. Ian James Kidd, José Medina, and Gaile Pohlhaus, Jr (Routledge, 2017). Draft here.

Wronged Beyond Words: On the Publicity and Repression of Moral Injury,” Philosophy & Social Criticism (2016).

Epistemic Injustice in the Space of Reasons,” Episteme 12:1 (March 2015).


Back Home   

Upcoming Events

 
©
©