Thomas Hurka

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Thomas Hurka
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic philosophy
Main interests
Moral philosophy
Notable ideas

Thomas Hurka (born 1952) is a Canadian philosopher who holds the Jackman Distinguished Chair in Philosophical Studies at the University of Toronto and who taught previously, from 1978 to 2002, at the University of Calgary.[1]

Education and career[edit]

After graduating from the University of Toronto Schools, he received a BA at the University of Toronto and a BPhil and DPhil from Oxford University.[1][2]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2001.[3]

Philosophical work[edit]

Hurka has published works on a number of topics, including the topics of goodness,[4] virtue,[5] and ethics.[6] His philosophy focuses on the well-rounded life. He cited that goods, which come in four basic categories - pleasure, knowledge, achievement, and virtue - matter more the less of them you have.[7] In his theory, he stressed that it is more appropriate to seek a balanced variety of them all instead of devoting oneself to one kind.[7] His conception of virtue is different from the view that an agent ought to maximize their own good, which requires being virtuous. Instead, Hurka stressed that "agents ought to maximize the good of all, which requires conventionally right action, and as a side effect can maximize their own good."[8]

Hurka has also studied the ethics of fighting Global Warming.[9] He maintained that if we reject the notion that individuals should only pursue their own self-interest, then we can assign ethical standing to a wider range of beings besides ourselves.[10] This is significant in addressing global warming because it morally pushes towards strategies of avoiding instead of adapting to climate change.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Thomas Hurka". Philosophy. University of Toronto. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  2. ^ "UTS". Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  3. ^ "Awards & Funding – Division of the Vice-President & Provost".
  4. ^ Rønnow-Rasmussen, Toni (2011), Personal Value, Oxford University Press, p. 96, ISBN 978-0-19-960378-7
  5. ^ Battaly, Heather (2011), Virtue and Vice, Moral and Epistemic, John Wiley & Sons, p. 75, ISBN 978-1-4443-5193-4
  6. ^ Govier, Trudy (2009), A Practical Study of Argument, Cengage Learning, p. 354, ISBN 978-0-495-60340-5
  7. ^ a b Kraut, Richard (2018). The Quality of Life: Aristotle Revised. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 158. ISBN 9780198828846.
  8. ^ Hurka, Thomas (2001). Virtue, Vice, and Value. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 56. ISBN 0195137167.
  9. ^ Coward, Harold G. (1993), Ethics & climate change: the greenhouse effect, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, p. 7, ISBN 978-0-88920-233-7
  10. ^ a b Dotto, Lydia (2010). Ethical Choices and Global Greenhouse Warming. Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0889202344.

External links[edit]