Phillip Ricks

257 EPB
Office Hours: 
By appointment
Research Interests: 

Philosophy of Action, Philosophy of Mind, History of Philosophy, Ancient Skepticism, and Ethics

My recent work has focused on the justification of civil disobedience, revision of just war theory, problems with authority, environmental meta-ethics, the phenomenological component of diachronic personal identity, collective responsibility, and generally the relationship between self and community. I am particularly interested in certain issues raised by modernity, such as its emphasis on individuality and the various telling criticisms of it, the subsumption of the individual will into the will of the majority, and the deep and compelling criticisms of the putative moral authority of the state. I love the history of philosophy, but I am particularly drawn to Aristotle, Sextus Empiricus, Meister Eckhart, Spinoza, Henry Thoreau, William James, John Muir, Martin Heidegger, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. I love the cultural connections between literature and philosophy (e.g. Wittgenstein, Rilke and Trakl), but particularly with respect to 18th century Germany (e.g. Lessing, Goethe, Schiller). In general I am interested in the pervasive force of ideas and the practical consequences of belief, as well as the question of whether or not belief can be so neatly distinguished from action as we often seem to think.