Faculty at a glance

Faculty bios

Full-time Faculty:

faculty pictureMarcus Adams Assistant Professor, received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.

He specializes in the history of early modern philosophy, especially Thomas Hobbes but also figures such as René Descartes and Margaret Cavendish, and in the history and philosophy of science. Past work has examined topics such as the following: the laws of nature in Leviathan and their connection to geometrical definitions; Margaret Cavendish’s criticisms of Hobbes’s explanation of visual perception; the debate between Hobbes and Robert Boyle concerning experimentation and scientific knowledge; and Hobbes’s objections to Descartes’s Meditations. A complete list of publications is available on his website.

faculty pictureBradley Armour-Garb Professor, received his PhD from CUNY and is a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford.

His primary interests are in the philosophy of language, the philosophy of logic, and metaphysics, though recently he has also been working in epistemology, where he has developed a version of contextualism without pragmatic encroachment. Much of his work has regarded truth and paradox. For a complete list of his papers and books, see his website.

faculty pictureRachel Cohon Professor, received her PhD from U.C.L.A.

Her fields of interest are ethics, the philosophy of action, and the history of ethics. She is the author of Hume's Morality: Feeling and Fabrication (Oxford University Press, 2008), a book reinterpreting Hume's meta-ethics and virtue ethics. She has also written a number of articles on Hume's moral and political philosophy and theory of the passions, and on systematic topics related to normative reasons for action. She edited a volume of articles on Hume's ethics, Hume: Moral and Political Philosophy (2001), and wrote the entry on Hume's moral and political philosophy in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. She is also interested in applied ethics and wrote the article on ethical issues pertaining to disability for the Encyclopedia of Bioethics (2003). She teaches graduate courses in moral theory, including such topics as consequentialism vs. deontology vs. virtue ethics, moral realism, the normativity of ethics, and eighteenth century moral philosophy.

faculty pictureJason D'Cruz Associate Professor, received his PhD from Brown University.

Before coming to UAlbany, he taught at Harvard College, the Zhejiang Institute of Science and Technology in Hangzhou, China, and worked as a researcher at the Joint Center for Bioethics at the University of Toronto. He writes on the topics of trust, promises, character, self-deception, and rationalization. He has also done work in bioethics (in particular, trust and consent) and the philosophy of art (in particular, fiction-directed emotion, imaginative resistance, and the autographic/allographic distinction). His recent work appears in academic journals such as Ethics, the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, and The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. See his website for forthcoming papers.

Professor D'Cruz is on sabbatical for the 2016-17 academic year.

faculty pictureKristen Hessler Associate Professor, received her PhD from the University of Arizona.

Her research focuses on political philosophy (especially issues in global justice, human rights, and international law) and bioethics (with a focus on environmental and agricultural issues). She has published articles on human rights law, international justice, and ethical issues concerning biotechnology in agriculture. She teaches courses in ethics, applied ethics, political philosophy, and feminist philosophy. She is the director of the interdisciplinary minor in bioethics.

  • e-mail: khessler at albany.edu

faculty pictureP.D. Magnus Professor and Department Chair, received his PhD from UC San Diego.

His primary research is in the philosophy of science, motivated by a fallibilist but non-sceptical conception of scientific knowledge. He has published on underdetermination, scientific realism, and natural kinds; also on related issues in the history of philosophy, social epistemology, and art ontology. He is the author of Scientific Enquiry and Natural Kinds: From Planets to Mallards (2012) as well as dozens of articles. A complete list of his publications is available on his website.

faculty pictureJon Mandle Professor, received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.

His primary interests are in contemporary political philosophy and ethics as well as their history. He is the co-editor with David Reidy of The Cambridge Rawls Lexicon (2015) and A Companion to Rawls (Blackwell, 2014) and the author of three books: Rawls's A Theory of Justice: An Introduction (2009), Global Justice (2006), and What's Left of Liberalism? An Interpretation and Defense of Justice as Fairness (2000). He has published articles on the work of John Rawls, global justice, public reason, Rousseau, Kant, meta-ethics, and other topics. He teaches courses on contemporary ethical and political philosophy, the history of ethics and political philosophy, and global justice, among other topics. He served as department chair from 2004-2013.

  • e-mail: jmandle at albany.edu

faculty pictureRon McClamrock Associate Professor, received his PhD from M.I.T.

He works in the philosophy of psychology, including the foundations of artificial intelligence and cognitive science, as well as more broadly in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science. He is the author of Existential Cognition: Computational Minds in the World (1995) which argues for the centrality of interactivity with the world for a scientific theory of mind. He also teaches and writes on higher-level causation and explanatory pluralism in the sciences, bounded rationality, and the relationship between phenomenology and the sciences of mind.

faculty pictureMonika Piotrowska Assistant Professor, received her PhD from the University of Utah.

Her research is in the philosophy of biology and bioethics, focusing on the conceptual and ethical issues arising from recent advances in genetics and biotechnology. Of special interest are questions regarding biological similarity, e.g., what inferences does biological similarity justify and what are the ethical implications of these inferences? She has looked at biological similarity in the context of comparative genomics, DNA barcoding, genetic engineering, and human-nonhuman chimeras.

faculty pictureNathan Powers Associate Professor, received his PhD from Princeton University.

His research focuses on ancient philosophy, and he has published articles on Socrates, Plato, and various aspects of Hellenistic and later Greek philosophy.

faculty pictureAriel Zylberman Assistant Professor, received his PhD from University of Toronto.

He works in moral and political philosophy. His interests extend to all parts of the subject, including meta-ethics, normative ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of law, and philosophy of action. Zylberman also works on the history of the discipline, in particular on Kant's practical philosophy. He has written about the foundations of human rights, the nature of rights, authority, lying, consequentialism and deontology, global justice, human dignity, respect, the moral ought, relational normativity, Kant's philosophy of right, and Kant's meta-ethics. His current project is at the intersection of metaphysics and moral philosophy and seeks to investigate the possibility of a relational metaphysics of morals, that is, an account of the nature of moral personhood and moral norms according to which the human being is only fully constituted by interpersonal relations. The historical counterpart of this project is a fundamental re-reading along relational lines of Kant's account of morality.

Affiliated Faculty:

faculty pictureMatthew Mosdell Instructor, received his PhD from the University of Utah.

He works at the intersection of practical and theoretical rationality. On the practical side, he has tried to challenge the traditional assumption that thinking about what to do requires thinking of ourselves as unified agents. On the theoretical, he has worked on problems of vagueness. There, he has argued that different practical problems force upon us different views about concepts, which, in turn, oblige us to accept a variety of alternative systems of logic as legitimate.

Research Professor:

faculty pictureRobert Howell Professor, received his PhD from the University of Michigan.

His research and teaching focus on the history of modern philosophy (especially Kant), analytical metaphysics, and aesthetics. He is particularly interested in questions about our representation of and reference to objects, as these questions emerge in the Critique of Pure Reason and related works and in the philosophy of art. He has published essays on Kant's theoretical philosophy and is the author of Kant's Transcendental Deduction (1992). He also has published on representation in the arts and on fictional objects. He teaches graduate courses in Kant, nineteenth century philosophy, aesthetics, and metaphysics. He has held ACLS and NEH grants and in 1982-83 was a visiting member at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies (and a visitor, fall 1983 and summer 2006). During 2007-08 he held a Fulbright fellowship at Moscow State University, where he taught and did research on Kant and on aesthetics.

Professor Howell retired in 2015, but is continuing as a Research Professor.

  • e-mail: bobh at albany.edu
bust of Socrates

Adjunct Instructors:

  • Henry Curtis: hcurtis at albany.edu
  • Sydney Faught: sfaught at albany.edu
  • Scott Wolcott: swolcott at albany.edu

Emeritus Faculty:

Josiah Gould Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus

  • e-mail: GouldAristotle at aol.com

John Kekes Professor Emeritus

  • e-mail: jonkekes at nycap.rr.com

Berel Lang Professor Emeritus

  • e-mail: blang01 at wesleyan.edu

faculty pictureRobert Meyers Professor Emeritus, received his PhD from the State University of New York, Buffalo.

He is interested in the theory of knowledge, and the history of modern empiricism, especially American pragmatism and Hume. He is currently working on Peirce's view of knowledge and realism. His publications include: The Likelihood of Knowledge (1988) and extensive work on topics including the philosophy of CS Peirce.

Harold Morick Associate Professor Emeritus

  • e-mail: vanderluyd at aol.com

William Reese Professor Emeritus

  • e-mail: reesewl at cs.com

faculty pictureBonnie Steinbock Professor Emerita, received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

She specializes in biomedical ethics, particularly reproduction and genetics. She is a Fellow of the Hastings Center and has served on a number of working groups in the United States and Europe. Recent articles have been on advance directives, dementia, and physician-assisted death, the appeal to nature, and wrongful life and procreative decisions. She is the author of Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses (2011), and the editor or co-editor of several books, including Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine, now in its 8th edition (2012).

  • e-mail: steinbock at albany.edu

Anthony Ungar Associate Professor Emeritus

  • e-mail: amu78 at albany.edu

Naomi Zack Professor Emerita

  • e-mail: nzack at darkwing.uoregon.edu