A new book manuscript by Jeremy Koons, associate professor of philosophy at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (GU-Q), was featured recently in a CIRS Faculty Research Workshop. The manuscript The Ethics of Wilfrid Sellars was studied and discussed by specialist scholars from Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia during a full day event on November 5, 2017.
The manuscript explains that, suitably developed, Sellars’s ethical theory has the potential to develop the tools to answer pressing moral questions. These include questions on moral statements, moral reasoning, moral judgments and motivation, and how we fit morality into a scientific view of the world. Additionally, Koons shows that elements of Sellars’s theory can be enriched by contemporary philosophical work—work by later Sellarsian philosophers, by philosophers working on group intentions and cooperative rationality, and more. In resolving these tensions, and updating Sellars’s theory with more recent work in the field, what emerges from Koons’s manuscript is a strikingly original and comprehensive theory that has much to contribute to contemporary debates.
The CIRS Faculty Research Workshop is a closed-door, one-day seminar that brings together select renowned scholars for a focused discussion of a GU-Q faculty member’s book manuscript during its final stages of development. All participants receive the entire manuscript in advance of the meeting and each scholar leads a focused group discussion on assigned chapters.
This research workshop featured a talented group of internationally-recognized philosophers who specialize in Sellarsian and pragmatist philosophy. Participants engaged in a series of structured sessions on how this nearly neglected body of ethical theory has the potential to contribute to current philosophical debates on how best to answer crucial moral questions.
Participant Amir Saemi, faculty member at the School of Analytic Philosophy at the Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences, said: “It is very exciting to know there will be a book long discussion of Sellars’s ethical works. No doubt that such a book would be a huge contribution to the current moral philosophy. I congratulate Dr. Koons for undertaking such a valuable project.”
Attendees included Bana Bashour, American University of Beirut; Arudra Burra, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi; Dionysis Christias, University of Patras; Anjana Jacob, GU-Q; Bhaskarjit Neog, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Amir Saemi, Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences; Lucas Thorpe, Boğaziçi University; Jack Woods, University of Leeds; and, Bill Wringe, Bilkent University.
Jeremy Koons received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. His research focus is ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. Koons is author of Pragmatic Reasons: A Defense of Morality and Epistemology (Palgrave, 2009), and co-author, with Michael P. Wolf, of The Normative and the Natural (Palgrave, 2016).