A.T. Fyfe

Philosophy PhD, 

University of Maryland

I am a recent Ph.D. graduate in Philosophy at the University of Maryland, specializing in ethics, Kant, and philosophy of action. My committee consisted of Samuel Kerstein, Dan Moller, Patricia Greenspan, Harjit Bhogal, and David Wasserman. I successfully defended my dissertation November 9th, 2022.

My research focuses on the idea that in order to value one’s own agency, one must also value the agency of all other free agents. In my dissertation project — Constructing Our Moral World - Agency, Teleology, and Korsgaard — I defend an Aristotelian-Anscombian theory of agency against the Davidsonian-causalist tradition in order to provide the necessary underpinning for a Kantian ethical outlook.

After completing my philosophy MA, I left graduate school and spent many years as adjunct faculty before returning to the University of Maryland in order to complete my Ph.D. As a result, I have extensive teaching experience - far, far more than the usual recent Ph.D. graduate. At the upper-level, I’ve taught a course covering the history of analytic philosophy from Frege to Kripke, an advanced logic survey course covering non-standard logics (e.g. three-value, deontic, modal, doxastic), a course devoted to delving deep into the metaphysics of free will, as well as my upper-level undergraduate course on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. At the lower level, I’ve been the lead instructor for over forty introductory courses including introduction to philosophy, ethics, contemporary moral problems, logic, and critical thinking. In addition to my own courses, I’ve served as a teaching assistant for 16 courses on a variety of topics including philosophy of religion and cognitive science. A complete listing of my teaching history is included on the last two-pages of my teaching portfolio.

Lastly, I’ve worked at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth - both developing from scratch and then teaching for many years their middle-school summer philosophy course for students ages 10-12. In my teaching portfolio I’ve included a sample of evaluations from those students as well as my syllabus for the course. These intensive philosophy courses involved between 8-12 students and went from 8am in the morning until 4pm in the afternoon for a period of 3-weeks per session (with two sessions each summer).

With regards to research, I have works being prepared to go out the door ranging from a paper concerning interpretations of William James’ “The Will to Believe” lecture, the role of Newcomb’s puzzle and free will in debates over evidential and causal decision theory, as well as a paper defending Allan Gibbard’s plan-based expressivist metaethics. This is in addition to several papers I will be pulling for publication from my dissertation concerning Kantian ethics and Aristotelian-Anscombian approaches to agency. 

Originally, I came to graduate school with the aim of working in the areas of epistemology and philosophy of science. As you can see on my CV, my early graduate coursework focuses on topics like the philosophy of quantum mechanics and contextualist or pragmatist approaches within epistemology. However, after reading Christine Korsgaard’s The Sources of Normativity, I became a convinced Kantian and my coursework reflects my shift into ethics. This range of academic studies within philosophy has - I believe - greatly benefitted both my teaching as well as my philosophical research. In the fall of 2019 I also had the opportunity of attending Harvard University as a fellow in philosophy working with Christine Korsgaard to advance my research project defending her distinctive approach towards Kantian ethics. 

I currently spend half my year in Washington DC and the other half in İstanbul, Türkiye.