Joey Van Weelden

Postes occupés

2016-2017 Boursier-ère d'études supérieures,
2014-2015 à 2016-2017 Étudiant-e,


I am a PhD student in philosophy, entering my third year at McGill University, and working under the supervision of Professors Sarah Stroud and Andrew Reisner. Previously, I received a B.A from the University of Alberta (Honours Philosophy. 2008) and an M.A from the University of Toronto (Philosophy 2010).

My primary research area is prudential value. I am, first of all, interested in first-order ethical disputes about what makes a life good for the person living it. In this area I favour a hybrid account, which integrates aspects of both objectivist and subjectivist approaches to well-being.

The focus of my more recent work has been the metaethics of prudential value. In particular, I have been interested in the prospects for a fitting-attitude analysis of the concept goodness-for. I argue that an analysis along these lines will be, if not incorrect, then importantly limited. Any plausible fitting-attitude analysis will simply presuppose, rather than clarify, our understanding of the distinction between prudential and other values.

More broadly, I am concerned about how best to situate prudential value in relation to the rest of the normative landscape. Increasingly, I suspect that many puzzles about goodness-for stem from the fact that its connection with goodness simpliciter remains unclear. I hope in my future work to vindicate the conviction that these are two irreducible kinds of goodness, each with an important role to play in ethical deliberation.

Another current project has to do with the status of moral deference. I have recently argued that cognitively normal adults stand under a self-regarding duty not to defer to anyone’s testimony concerning purely moral matters. Contrary to other writers, I do not locate the problem with moral deference in the resultant epistemic or moral state of the deferential agent. Rather, I suggest that the means through which they attain that state is itself problematic, whatever its outcome.