Photo credit: Alastair Norcross
  Photo courtesy of Alastair Norcross 

Patrick Clipsham, PhD
Assistant Professor
Winona State University
Department of Philosophy

I am an Assistant Professor at Winona State University, where I teach a number of philosophy courses including (but not limited to) Critical Thinking, Biomedical Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Business Ethics, and Moral Theory. I received an Honours BA (2007) in Philosophy from Wilfrid Laurier University, an MA (2008) in Philosophy from the University of Waterloo, and a PhD (2012) from the University of Western Ontario. I also spent some of 2011 as a visiting student at the University of Michigan.

Most of my research revolves around a family of questions regarding the methodology of ethics, including normative ethics, metaethics, and applied ethics. In my dissertation, 'Does Empirical Moral Psychology Rest on a Mistake?' I looked at the methodological assumptions made by a number of metaethicists, and argued that there is good reason to reject a number of these assumptions. I concluded that a particular class of metaethical theories (theories about the nature of moral judgment) must be understood as having moral content. This implies that we must assess these theories as we would any other moral theory, by weighing their consequences against our moral intuitions and considered moral beliefs. Another topic related to this project that has captured my interest is the distinction between ethical and non-ethical sentences, theories, and beliefs. Accounts of such a distinction are sometimes referred to as taxonomies of ethical sentences, and some of my more recent work on this topic engages with various proposed taxonomies. Publications related to this project can be found in Philosophical Studies, Philosophia, and Metaphilosophy.

I also have an interest in many other areas of moral philosophy, especially biomedical ethics. For example, I have done extensive research on the ethical and practical problems associated with conscientious refusals in the context of health care (my publications on this topic can be found in Public Affairs Quarterly, the International Journal of Applied Philosophy, and the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics). I have also recently started working on some topics related to animal ethics, specifically on the ethical problems surrounding the treatment of animals as commodities. A paper on this topic (co-authored by Katy Fulfer) is forthcoming in Ethics, Policy, & Environment