Susan R. Wolf

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Susan Rose Wolf (born 1952) is a moral philosopher and philosopher of action who is the Edna J. Koury Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Education and career[edit]

Wolf earned a BA from Yale University in philosophy and mathematics and a PhD in philosophy from Princeton University with a dissertation directed by Thomas Nagel.

Before taking up her current position at North Carolina, Wolf taught at Harvard University, the University of Maryland, and the Johns Hopkins University.

Wolf was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999[1] and of the American Philosophical Society in 2006.[2] She received a Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award in the Humanities in 2002.[3]

Her husband, Douglas MacLean, is also a philosopher teaching at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Philosophical work[edit]

Her book Freedom Within Reason argues for a view of free will as the ability to do what one reasonably thinks is the right thing. This allows a deterministic universe to nevertheless contain responsibility and the feeling of autonomy for us. Wolf has also written on the topic of moral luck, suggesting a reconciliation between the rationalist and irrationalist positions. She has also published influential work on the demandingness of morality. In this area her paper "Moral Saints" has been particularly influential, attacking the idea that a morally perfect person is actually an attractive ethical ideal. Along with Philippa Foot and Bernard Williams, she has challenged the overriding of morality in practical reasoning.

See also[edit]

Works (selection)[edit]

  • The Variety of Values: Essays On Morality, Meaning, And Love, Oxford University Press, 2014; ISBN 0195332814
  • Understanding Love: Philosophy, Film, And Fiction (editor with Christopher Grau), Oxford University Press, 2013; ISBN 0195384504
  • Meaning in Life and Why It Matters, Princeton University Press, 2012; ISBN 9780691154503
  • Wolf and Stanley on Environmental Law (with Neil Stanley), Cavendish Publishing, 2010; ISBN 0415418461
  • Freedom Within Reason, Oxford University Press, 1994; ISBN 0195085655


External links[edit]