I’m Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto – more specifically, Chancellor Henry N. R. Jackman Distinguished Professor of Philosophical Studies – where I’ve been since 2002. Before that I taught at the University of Calgary, starting in 1978. I got a B.Phil. and D.Phil. in Philosophy at Oxford University, after a B.A. at the University of Toronto.
My main area of research and teaching is moral and political philosophy, especially normative ethical theory. I’ve probably written most about perfectionist moral theories, in my books Perfectionism and Virtue, Vice, and Value, as well as in numerous articles. But I’ve also discussed the justification of punishment, population ethics, nationalism, friendship, and the morality of war. From 1989-92 I wrote a weekly ethics column for the Globe and Mail newspaper, which was great fun; a selection of my columns was published as Principles: Short Essays on Ethics.
In 2011 I published a non-academic or trade book called The Best Things in Life, about the many things – pleasure, knowledge, achievement, virtue, personal love – that can make your life desirable. In 2014 I published British Ethical Theorists From Sidgwick to Ewing, about a group of moral philosophers who approached the subject in broadly similar ways and were active between around 1874 and 1959, though with the high water of their influence in the first forty years of the twentieth century. My own approach to the subject is modeled on theirs, so the book is as much philosophical as it is historical.
I’m married to Terry Teskey and we have a son Alex, who’s twenty.
This is my official website.