“Strawson’s Ethical Naturalism: a Defense,” Pamela Hieronymi (UCLA)

Apr 4, 2024, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
Open to Princeton University ID Holders and Other Academic Affiliates


Event Description


I first present what Peter Strawson calls his “Social Naturalism,” as applied to ethics. I then briefly present the way in which his Naturalism allows Strawson to resist skepticism about moral responsibility and free will, as argued in “Freedom and Resentment." His way of resisting this kind of skepticism opens his Naturalism to another challenge: it can seem objectionably relativistic. I have provided a response to this challenge, on Strawson’s behalf, in the final chapter of Freedom, Resentment, and the Metaphysics of Morals (2020). In this paper I will expand upon that response, in particular on the way in which the introduction of admittedly contested ideals might provide sufficient critical purchase to avoid objectionable relativism while remaining broadly naturalistic.  


Pamela Hieronymi is a Professor of Philosophy at UCLA. She has published on moral responsibility and on our control over our own states of mind.  She is currently bringing these two strands together into a book, Minds that Matter, in order to unwind the traditional problem of free will. In addition to her academic publications, Hieronymi has been a guest on a number of podcasts, her thoughts technology and teaching were published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, and she has served as a consultant for NBC’s sitcom, The Good Place

Department of Philosophy