Candace Vogler

Candace Vogler
David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy
Wieboldt Hall, Room 401
Office Hours: Autumn Quarter, Wednesdays: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
773.702.9745
University of Pittsburgh PhD (1995); Mills College BA, Honors (1985)
Teaching at UChicago since 1994
Research Interests: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy and Literature, Cinema, Psychoanalysis, Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies

Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, and Principal Investigator on "Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life," a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation.  She has authored two books, John Stuart Mill's Deliberative Landscape: An Essay in Moral Psychology (Routledge, 2001) and Reasonably Vicious (Harvard University Press, 2002), and essays in ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy and literature, cinema, psychoanalysis, gender studies, sexuality studies, and other areas.  Her research interests are in practical philosophy (particularly the strand of work in moral philosophy indebted to Elizabeth Anscombe), practical reason, Kant's ethics, Marx, and neo-Aristotelian naturalism.

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Selected Publications

Books/Collections

John Stuart Mill's Deliberative Landscape: An Essay in Moral Psychology (Routledge Revivals, 2016)

Violence and Redemption, co-edited with Patchen Markell, special issue of Public Culture  (Duke University Press, 2003)

Reasonably Vicious (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002)

Critical Limits of Embodiment, co-edited with Carol Breckenridge, special issue of Public Culture (Duke University Press, 2002)

Articles and Chapters

"You Owe It to Yourself," in Ethics and Culture: Essays in Honor of David Solomon, ed. Raymond Hain (forthcoming, University of Notre Dame Press)

"Turning to Aquinas on Virtue," in Oxford Handbook of Virtue Ethics, ed. Nancy Snow (forthcoming, Oxford University Press)

"Self-Transcendence, in Varieties of Virtue Ethics," ed. David Carr (forthcoming, Palgrave MacMillan Press)

"Nothing Added," American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (2016)

"Good and Bad in Human Action," Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association (2014)

"Natural Virtue and Proper Upbringing," Aristotelian Ethics in Contemporary Perspectives, ed. Julia Peters (Routledge, 2013)

Aristotle, Aquinas, Anscombe and the New Virtue Ethics," in Aquinas's Reception of the
Nicomachean Ethics
, ed. Tobias Hoffmann, Jörn Müller, and Matthias Perkams
(Cambridge University Press, 2013)

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Media

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Recent Courses

PHIL 21000 Introduction to Ethics

(HIPS 21000, FNDL 23107)

In this course, we will read, write, and think about philosophical work meant to provide a systematic and foundational account of ethics. We will focus on close reading of two books, Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, along with a handful of more recent essays. Throughout, our aim will be to engage in serious thought about good and bad in our lives. (A)

2018-2019 Winter
Category
Ethics/Metaethics

PHIL 24098/34098 Character and Commerce: Practical Wisdom in Economic Life

Most of us seek to be reasonably good people leading what we take to be successful and satisfying lives. There is a mountain of evidence suggesting that most of us fail to live up to our own standards. Worse, we often fail to mark our own failures in ways that could help us improve ourselves. The context in which we try to live good lives is shaped by the vicissitudes of the global economy. The global economy is obviously of interest to those of us studying economics or planning on careers in business. Aspiring entrepreneurs or corporate leaders have clear stakes in understanding practical wisdom in the economic sphere. But anyone who relies upon her pay - or someone else's - to cover her living expenses has some interest in economic life. In this course, we will bring work in neo-Aristotelian ethics and neo-classical economics into conversation with empirical work from behavioral economics and behavioral ethics, to read, write, talk, and think about cultivating wisdom in our economic dealings. While our focus will be on business, the kinds of problems we will consider, and the ways of addressing these, occur in ordinary life more generally - at home, in academic settings, and in our efforts to participate in the daily production and reproduction of sound modes of social interaction. (A)

2018-2019 Autumn
Category
Ethics/Metaethics
Social/Political Philosophy

PHIL 51225 Sources of Critical Theory

(ENGL 51225)

This course is designed to give students a broad and rapid introduction to the philosophical and other sources that inform contemporary literary and critical theory. We will cover a lot of ground very quickly. The variety of humanism at issue in our work will be the sort that informs common sense or, as one of our authors might put it, ordinary understanding of the things that strike many of us as obvious about ourselves and other people. The critique will not make anything stop seeming obvious. But it will provide some tools for thinking differently about contemporary commonsense understandings of human life. We will conclude by seeing the way this material shapes work by two prominent recent critics, Slavoj Žižek and Lauren Berlant.

2018-2019 Autumn
Category
Continental Philosophy

PHIL 20098/30098 Medieval Metaphysics: Universals from Boethius to Ockham

Any language contains terms that apply truly, and in the same sense, to indefinitely many things; for instance, species- or genus-terms, such as hippopotamus or animal. How things admit of such "universal" terms has engaged philosophers ever since Plato, who proposed participation in the forms. In the third century, the neoplatonist Porphyry wrote an introduction to Aristotle's Categories, in which he raised, but did not even try to answer, three metaphysical questions: whether genera and species are real or only posited in thoughts; whether, if real, they are bodies or incorporeal; and whether, if real, they are separate entities or belong to sensible things. A century or so later, Augustine, though not addressing Porphyry's questions, offered a neoplatonically-inspired Christian alternative to Plato's forms. Then at the beginning of the medieval period, yet another neoplatonic thinker, Boethius, took up Porphyry's questions. He offered a strict definition of universals, explained the difficulty of the questions, and proposed (without fully subscribing to) what he took to be Aristotle's way of answering them. Boethius's treatment oriented the approach to universals by philosophers up through the 12th century. The tools at their disposal, however, were mostly those provided by ancient logical works; and perhaps for this reason, the discussion reached a kind of impasse. But then there appeared translations of numerous hitherto unknown writings of Aristotle and Arab thinkers. Aristotle's hylomorphism and his doctrine of (what came to be called) abstraction, together with the notion of "common nature" proposed by Avicenna (also a neoplatonist), seemed to show a way out of the impasse. But they also raised new questions of their own - partly because of their sheer difficulty, and partly because of theological pressures, in the late 1200s, against the standard Aristotelian account of individuation by "matter." The topic of universals thus tracks various other prominent themes in medieval metaphysics. We will look at background passages in Aristotle and Porphyry, and study texts of some of the most important authors, including Augustine, Boethius, Abelard, Avicenna, Albert the Great, Aquinas, Scotus, and Ockham.

Candace Vogler, S. Brock
2017-2018 Spring
Category
Medieval Philosophy

PHIL 21504/31504 The Nature of Practical Reason

Practical reason can be distinguished from theoretical or speculative reason in many ways. Traditionally, some philosophers have distinguished the two by urging that speculative or theoretical reason aims at truth, whereas practical aims at good. More recently, some have urged that the two are best known by their fruits. The theoretical exercise of reason yields beliefs, or knowledge, or understanding whereas the practical exercise of reason yields action, or an intention to do something, or a decision about which action to choose or which policy to adopt. In this course, we will focus on practical reason, looking at dominant accounts of practical reason, discussions of the distinction between practical and theoretical reasons, accounts of rationality in general and with respect to practical reason, and related topics.

At least one course in philosophy.

2017-2018 Spring
Category
Philosophy of Action

PHIL 21000 Introduction to Ethics

(HIPS 21000, FNDL 23107)

In this course, we will read, write, and think about philosophical work meant to provide a systematic and foundational account of ethics. We will focus on close reading of two books, Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, along with a handful of more recent essays. Throughout, our aim will be to engage in serious thought about good and bad in our lives. (A)

2017-2018 Winter
Category
Ethics/Metaethics

PHIL 41001 Neo-Aristotelian Philosophical Anthropology

Neo-Aristotelian practical philosophy encompasses one of the three most important strands of work in contemporary ethics (the other two are neo-Kantian and neo-Humean lines of thought). Aristotelian approaches in practical philosophy generally treat humanity - human nature - as providing a foundation or framework for systematic work in practical philosophy. In this sense, philosophical anthropology is crucial to neo-Aristotelian ethics. In this seminar we will read, write, and think about work in philosophical anthropology meant to provide a framework for neo-Aristotelian practical philosophy. (I)

2017-2018 Autumn
Category
Ethics/Metaethics

PHIL 20212/30212 Ethics with Anscombe

Elizabeth Anscombe has deeply influenced moral philosophy ever since the publication of her book Intention and the article "Modern Moral Philosophy". The rise of contemporary Virtue Ethics is only one indication of this influence; and the important themes addressed in those writings are only some among a great many topics raised and absorbingly discussed in Anscombe's work on ethics and matters moral. This class is intended to track and discuss the most central issues she brings to our attention in her uniquely original and searching way. It is to cover both questions in the area of "meta-ethics" and the discussion of basic moral standards, including such topics as: Teleological and psychological foundations; Kinds and sources of practical necessity; The importance of truth; Practical reasoning; Morally relevant action descriptions; Intention and consequence; "linguistically created" institutions; Knowledge and certainty in moral matters; Upbringing versus conscience; Sex and marriage; War and murder; Man's spiritual nature. (A) (I)

2016-2017 Spring
Category
History of Analytic Philosophy

PHIL 25101/35101 Aquinas on Human Nature

There is perhaps no better introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas's philosophy of human nature than his commentary on Aristotle's classic treatment of the fundamental principles of earthly life, the De anima. Of course Aquinas also had other sources, as well as some ideas of his own, but the De anima provides him with the basic philosophical terms and framework. His interpretations continue to engage readers of Aristotle; and without some grasp of them, his theological writings on man are hardly intelligible. This course will be a close reading and discussion of the commentary, with occasional references to other works and other thinkers. (A) (I)

Candace Vogler, S. Brock
2016-2017 Spring
Category
Medieval Philosophy

PHIL 21000 Introduction to Ethics

(HIPS 21000, FNDL 23107)

In this course, we will read, write, and think about central issues in moral philosophy. This survey course is designed to give a rapid introduction to philosophical ethics (largely in the Anglo-North American tradition (although not entirely as a product of Anglo-North American philosophers). We will begin with work by Immanuel Kant and Henry Sidgwick and conclude with important twentieth century work in metaethics and normative ethics (one thing that we will consider is the distinctions between metaethics, normative ethics, and the various fields united under the rubric 'applied ethics'). (A)

This course is intended as an introductory course in moral philosophy. Some prior work in philosophy is helpful, but not required.

2016-2017 Winter
Category
Ethics/Metaethics

PHIL 43001 Bernard Williams' Practical Philosophy

Bernard Williams (1929-2003) was one of the most influential Anglophone philosophers working on questions about ethics, reasons for acting, character, moral psychology, and the shape of a human life. He drew from ancient Greek philosophy, from Descartes, from Nietzsche, and from a solid core of good sense and good taste in mounting his challenges to philosophers who tried to develop systematic moral theory along either of the two lines most common in the last half of the 20th century-utilitarianism or Kantianism. His work is peppered with sharp criticisms of mainstream Anglophone ethics and astute observation of the complexities of life. Focus on his work in practical philosophy-in ethics, in moral psychology, and in political and social philosophy-will give us a glimpse into the nature of the questions and problems he helped to formulate and make acute, many of which continue to haunt analytic practical philosophy. (I)

2016-2017 Winter
Category
History of Analytic Philosophy
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For full list of Candace Vogler's courses back to the 2012-13 academic year, see our searchable course database.