Texas TechTexas Tech University
Department of Philosophy

Howard J. Curzer





Honors Humanities (Greece, China, Mideast), Spring 2018, Tentative Syllabus

Graduate Existentialism, PHIL 5308, Fall 2017, Syllabus

Introduction to Ethics, PHIL 2320, Fall 2017, Syllabus

Existentialism, PHIL 3304, Spring 2017, Syllabus

Introduction to Ethics, PHIL 2320, Spring 2017, Syllabus

Graduate Greek Philosophy, PHIL 5301, Fall 2016, Syllabus

Classical Greek Philosoph, PHIL 3301, Fall 2016, Syllabus

Graduate Virtue Ethics, PHIL 5320, Spring 2016,

Other Activities

I received both B.A. and M.A. degrees in mathematics from Wesleyan University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. I have taught at Texas Tech University since 1985. My research falls into eight marginally related areas. (1) The core of my research is about Aristotle’s ethical theory. I have written a book plus several papers in which I lay out my interpretation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. I also have some expertise in the rest of Aristotle’s philosophy and in classical Greek philosophy generally. (2) Virtue Ethics is a contemporary movement with Aristotelian roots. I am working on a book about the virtues. So far, I’ve written chapters about moral dilemmas, happiness, forgiveness, integrity, civility, and the family. (3) The Confucian tradition is arguably a sort of Virtue Ethics. I have written several papers about a follower of Confucius named Mencius. (4) I have created a survey to assess the level of a person’s moral development from an Aristotelian perspective, given this survey to numerous classes at multiple universities as a pre- and post-test, and published some of the results. (5) Together with 3 scientists (Peter Muhlberger, Mark Wallace, Gad Perry), I received an NSF grant to work out the ethics of wildlife research, and find ways to teach it to grad students. We have coauthored several papers sketching our results. (6) I have written some papers in Biomedical Ethics (e.g. stem cells, withdrawal of life support). (7) The Ethics of Care is a feminist moral theory. I have written papers about its relationship to Aristotle’s ethics and to Biomedical Ethics. (8) Finally, I have written a few papers in which I interpret passages of the Old Testament.


office: English/Philosophy Building #265K 
office phone: 806-834-3506
office hours: TR 2:00-3:30


 Aristotle and the Virtues (Oxford University Press, 2012).
Edited Works

Special issue of the Journal of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (a journal of the National Academy of Sciences), 54 (2013) (with M. Wallace).

Recent Articles

"Akrasia and Courage in the Protagoras," Review of Metaphysics, forthcoming.

“Aristotle’s Demons,” in Evil in Aristotle, ed. P. Kontos (Cambridge University Press), forthcoming.

“Healing Character Flaws,” in Putting Virtue into Practice: Theoretical and Practical Insights, ed. T. Harrison and D. Walker (Routledge), forthcoming.

“Against Idealization in Virtue Ethics,” in Varietiesof Virtue Ethics, ed. J. Arthur, D. Carr, K. Kristjansson (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2017), 53-71. 

“Aristotle and Moral Virtue,” in Oxford Handbook of Virtue, ed. N. Snow (Oxford University Press), forthcoming.

The Three Rs of Animal Research: What They Mean for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and Why,” Science and Engineering Ethics, 22 (2016), 549-565. (1st author with Gad Perry, Mark Wallace, and Dan Perry).

"Aristotle's Practical Syllogisms," The Philosophical Forum, 46 (2015), 129-153.

"Like Doctor Who, Aristotle Needs a Companion,” critical notice of The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics ed. by R. Polansky, in Polis, 32 (2015), 412-421.

“Patients Who Make Bad Therapeutic Choices,” Journal of the American College of Dentists81 (2014), 41-45.
 Do Ethics Classes Teach Ethics?Theory and Research in Education (1st author with Sabrina Sattler, Devin DuPree, and Rachelle Smith-Genthôs), 12 (2014), 366-382.
“Aristotelian Well-Being for the Modern World: Taking the Capabilities Approach to the Next Level of Specificity,” in The Philosophy and Psychology of Virtue: An Empirical Approach to Character and Happiness, ed. N. Snow and F. Trivigno (Routledge).
Tweaking the Four Component Model of Moral Development,” Journal of Moral Education, 43 (2014), 104-123.

 “The Ethics of Wildlife Research: A Nine R Theory,” Journal of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (1st author with M. Wallace, G. Perry, P. Muhlberger, and D. Perry), 54 (2013), 51-56.
“When Bad Thoughts Happen To Good People: A Thought Experiment,” American Philosophical Quarterly, 50 (2013), 81-89.
Environmental Research Ethics: Extensions of the Three R’s,Environmental Ethics, (1st author with M. Wallace, G. Perry, P. Muhlberger, and D. Perry), 35 (2013).
“Why is Ecological Ethics Necessary?” CORE Issues in Professional and Research Ethics, (2012) (with M. Wallace, G. Perry, P. Muhlberger, and D. Perry).
“Contemporary Rituals and the Confucian Tradition: A Critical Discussion,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 39 (2012), 288–307.
“Managing Conflict of Interest in Research: Some Suggestions for Investigators,” Accountability in Research, 19 (2012), 143-155 (with G. Santillanes).
 “Benevolent Government Now,” Comparative Philosophy, 3 (2012), 75-86
"An Aristotelian Account of Civility," in Civility in Politics and Education, ed. by Deborah Mower and Wade Robison (Routledge, 2012)

Some Favorite Quotes
“He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things – terrible, yes, but great.” – Mr. Ollivander in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
“From now on I want to be known as ‘the Big Aristotle.’ As Aristotle said: ‘Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.’” -- Shaquille O’Neal
“I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all.” – Amy in Little Women by L. M. Alcott
Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right. – Salvor Hardin in Foundation by I. Asimov
Contemplation itself is sometimes injurious to heath. – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1153a20
“Ever hear of Socrates? Plato? Aristotle? Morons!” – Vizzini in The Princess Bride
In practice people who study philosophy too long…become very odd birds, not to say thoroughly vicious; while even those who are the best of them are reduced by … [philosophy] to complete uselessness as members of society. – Plato, Republic (487c-d)
Philosophy never makes things easier, but only more difficult. – Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, 12 (H9)
When conservatism was a movement of ideas, it attracted oddballs; now that it's a movement with power, it attracts sleazeballs. -- David Brooks, NYT 12/8/05
Creative paranoia means developing at least as thorough a We-system as a They system. – T. Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
“‘I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, Sir,’ said Alice, ‘because I'm not myself today you see.’ ‘I don't see,’ said the caterpillar.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Every profound spirit needs a mask. – Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
“It’s not who you are underneath; it’s what you do that defines you.” – Rachel in Batman Begins
“Science is important, but so is ethics.” – President Bush, debate on 10/8/04