Russ Shafer-Landau



Department of Philosophy

University of Wisconsin, Madison

600 N. Park Street

Madison, WI 53706


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Back in Madison! After a two-year stint down south at the wonderful UNC-Chapel Hill Philosophy Department, where I also served as Director of the Parr Center for Ethics, my wife and I have returned to Wisconsin. Many have asked for the reason, which is so simple and obvious that it can be given in a single word: February. (The actual reason is a only little more complicated but much more plausible--details here.)

Most of my work has been in metaethics, which is that area of philosophy that focuses on questions about the status (rather than the content) of morality. Such questions include:

  • Is morality created by human beings, or is it in some way objective?
  • How do we gain moral knowledge?
  • Is there always excellent reason to obey moral requirements? Are immoral people necessarily irrational?
  • How can moral values exist in a world governed by scientific laws?

My interest in the field led me to inaugurate the annual Madison Metaethics Workshop--a.k.a. MadMeta--which underwent a two-year North Carolina transformation into the much more relaxed CHillMeta, before re-assuming its original identity. I also edit a book series on these topics, Oxford Studies in Metaethics, whose contents are based largely on papers given at each workshop. (See link below.) Because one can never get enough metaethics, I also administer the annual Marc Sanders Prize in Metaethics for Younger Scholars.