Matthew Talbert – Chair of the Department
Assistant Professor


Moral Psychology
Philosophy of Agency

Research Interests and Publications

My research attempts to uncover the metaphysical, psychological, and social conditions of free will and moral responsibility. In a series of recent papers, I argue that wrongdoers are sometimes open to moral blame even if it was not reasonable to expect them to respond appropriately to the moral considerations that counted against their behavior. I develop this claim by considering cases of wrongdoers who, in different ways, do not believe that they do wrong: psychopaths, war criminals, and those exposed to objectionable moral values from a young age. I am currently writing an introductory text on moral responsibility and I am co-authoring a manuscript on the moral psychology and moral culpability of war criminals with Professor Jessica Wolfendale.

“Symmetry, Rational Abilities, and the Ought-Implies-Can Principle,” forthcoming in Criminal Law and Philosophy.

“The Significance of Psychopathic Wrongdoing,” forthcoming in Thomas Schramme (ed), Being Amoral: Psychopathy and Moral Incapacity (MIT Press).

“Unwitting Wrongdoers and the Role of Moral Disagreement in Blame,” David Shoemaker (ed), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility (Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 225-245.

“Accountability, Aliens, and Psychopaths: A Reply to Shoemaker,” Ethics 122 (2012): 562-74.

“Praise and Prevention,” Philosophical Explorations 15 (2012): 47-61.
“Moral Competence, Moral Blame, and Protest,” The Journal of Ethics 16 (2012): 89-109.

“Unwitting Behavior and Responsibility,” Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (2011): 139-152.

“Situationism, Normative Competence, and Responsibility for Wartime Behavior,” The Journal of Value Inquiry 43 (2009): 415-432. (special issue on criminal and moral responsibility)

“Compatibilism, Common Sense, and Prepunishment,” Public Affairs Quarterly 23 (2009): 325-335.

“Implanted Desires, Self-Formation and Blame,” Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy,, (2009), vol. 3 no. 2.

“Blame and Responsiveness to Moral Reasons: Are Psychopaths Blameworthy?” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2008): 516-35

“Contractualism and Our Duties to Nonhuman Animals,” Environmental Ethics 28 (2006): 201-215.

Blame: Its Nature and Norms edited by D. Justin Coates and Neal A. Tognazzini (Oxford, 2013), Ethics 124 (2014): 603-608.

I Was Wrong: The Meanings of Apologies by Nick Smith (Cambridge, 2008), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, October 1, 2008.

Mapping Responsibility: Explorations in Mind, Law, Myth, and Culture by Herbert Fingarette (Open Court, 2004), Philosophical Review 117 (2008): 130-33.

Moral Responsibility: The Ways of Scepticism by Carlos Moya (Routledge, 2006), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, August 7, 2006.

Courses Offered

PHIL 100: Introduction to Problems in Philosophy
PHIL 260: Introduction to Symbolic Logic
PHIL 321: Ethical Theory
PHIL 493: Free Will

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