Russ Shafer-Landau

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Russ Shafer-Landau in Tartu, Estonia in 2009

Russ Shafer-Landau (born 1963) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he is also Director of the Parr Center for Ethics. He taught philosophy from 2002 to 2015 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he also served as Chair of the Department for part of that time, and from 1992 to 2002 at the University of Kansas. Shafer-Landau is a graduate of Brown University and completed his PhD work at the University of Arizona under the supervision of Joel Feinberg.[1] He is the founder and editor of the periodical Oxford Studies in Metaethics.[2]

He is a leading defender of a non-naturalistic moral realism, holding that moral statements are not reducible to natural terms. For example, the 'good' cannot be described in terms of pleasures and pains nor the conclusion of any of the natural sciences (physics, biology). This view is set out in his major work Moral Realism: A Defence, which, as one reviewer expressed it, "defends an unorthodox combination of claims, including anti-Humeanism about reasons for action, mind-independent moral realism, moral non-naturalism, moral rationalism, and reliabilist moral epistemology. Shafer-Landau’s book will be useful to any student of philosophy who wants to gain a synoptic view of contemporary metaethics, and also to professionals with a stake in the many ongoing debates to which the book makes valuable contributions."[3]

Shafer-Landau is also the author of two other introductory books, Whatever Happened To Good And Evil? and The Fundamentals of Ethics.[4] Besides editing the annual Oxford Studies in Metaethics, he also has co-edited Reason and Responsibility: Readings in Some Basic Problems of Philosophy, an anthology covering many aspects of ethics with the late Joel Feinberg and two Blackwell anthologies, Foundations of Ethics (with Terence Cuneo), and Ethical Theory.