Alain Pe-Curto

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For the Yale Workshop on Mutual Understanding, follow this link.

I am a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University, working with L. A. Paul and an associate member of Thumos, the Genevan research group on emotions and values lead by Julien Deonna and Fabrice Teroni.

My Ph.D. dissertation, Values Under Construction, focuses on the mereology of values, a topic at the junction of metaphysics and value theory. I wrote my thesis between Geneva (my alma mater), under the supervision of Fabrice Teroni and Julien Deonƒna, and Rutgers, under the supervision of Dean Zimmerman. My two MA disciplines were philosophy, with a master's dissertation, and Ancient Greek, with a shorter MA dissertation, known as petit-mémoire. I took linguistics as a third discipline.


Transformative Experience | I have joined Yale University to work under the supervision of L.A. Paul on the (exciting) topic of transformative experience. I will add more on this soon, as my project progresses.

Value theory and metaphysics | I continue working on the relation between the evaluative features of wholes and the evaluative features of the parts of which they are made–the topic of my dissertation. I became absorbed (permanently, it seems) by the topic, its ethical implications and the wide variety of philosophical tools required to appropriately understand Moore's principle of organic unities.

Research in moral psychology | I have also developed a strong interest in moral psychology. More precisely, I work on personality, character and situationism, with an eye to automatic behavior, implicit cognition and bias.

  • RECENT PUBLICATIONS (as first or sole author)

"The tangled web of agency", Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41 (2018)

This piece is aimed at both a wide and crossdisciplinary academic audience. It is part of my work in moral psychology.

"Saudade: sadness and love in adversity". In Emotions, Sander, D. & Herschdorfer, N. (eds), Benteli (2017)

"La Saudade: tristesse et amour dans l’adversité". In Emotions, Sander D. & Herschdorfer, N. (eds), Benteli (2017)

Saudade means, broadly speaking, nostalgia in Portuguese, my first language. These pieces are aimed at both an academic audience and the general public. Like my research on transformative experience, they blend resources from moral psychology and the philosophy of mind, in particular the philosophy of emotions.


I have acted as a reviewer for conferences and, amongst others, the following journal: Dialectica, The Emotion Review, Klesis, The Review of Philosophy and Psychology, Synthese


Independent courses | as sole instructor

La Construction des valeurs, Université des Seniors, Geneva.

Emotions and Values, course, Université des Seniors, Geneva.

Philosophy of Death, course-seminar, Department of Philosophy of the University of Geneva.

Philosophies of Death and Dying course (BA advanced), Department of Philosophy of Rutgers University at New Brunswick.

Metaphysics of Value, course-seminar, Department of Philosophy of the University of Geneva.

Supervision work

College-level – BA: supervisor of four senior (BA) theses

Graduate-level – MA: co-supervisor and co-evaluator for one thesis (topic: aesthetics, value theory with some metaphysics).


Grants & Awards | I have received combined research funding coming from the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Boninchi Foundation , the Academic Society of Geneva, the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences, the National Center for Competence and Research in Affective Sciences and the Dean of the School of Humanities at the University of Geneva. I am grateful as well for the Philibert Collart Award and the Disdier Prize in Moral Philosophy, which helped support my research.

Non-academic | I have pursued activities outside academia, which have helped support my graduate studies in addition to being inspiring and formative. I joined, amongst others, the team of a performing arts theater (no acting involved), was an assessor for high-school finals in Ancient Greek and helped develop an e-learning platform.

Involvement in University and Campus Life | I founded the Lake Geneva Graduate Conference in philosophy, with the support of Prof. Fabrice Correia, Julien Deonna and Fabrice Teroni and that of the Conférence universitaire de Suisse occidentale. I was and am lead organizer for the 2016, 2017, and 2018 installments of the Lake Geneva Graduate Conference. Information regarding the 2017 edition is available here:

As an undergraduate and with the philosopher and friend Amanda Garcia, I co-founded PhilEAs, the University of Geneva Philosophy Students Association. Amanda and I also created the PhilEAs Talks. PhilEAs talks are regular, invited philosophy presentations, entirely managed by philosophy students. Speakers are invited to present a 20 minute warm-up introduction geared to undergraduates and whoever is not up to speed on the relevant topic, before giving a 'regular' talk to the whole philosophy department. Past speakers are listed here.

With colleagues, I am working on creating a welcome-platform for students who would need advice in their discovery of academia, including those whose relatives and acquaintances have little academic background such as first-generation students. After graduation, the goal of the platform is also to facilitate contacts through an alumni network.