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Naomi Zack: February 2013

posted Jan 31, 2013, 6:30 PM by Peggy DesAutels

Naomi Zack
University of Oregon

Naomi Zack is Professor of Philosophy at University of Oregon. Her two recent books, The Ethics and Mores of Race: Equality after the History of Philosophy (Rowman and Littlefield, 2011) and Ethics for Disaster (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009) are analyses and applications of ethical theories to areas of study that have not yet been approached from primarily ethical perspectives. The Ethics and Mores of Race is an inquiry into the history of moral philosophy in search of general principles of universal equality, which do not appear until the mid-twentieth century. In that process she has reexamined the work of canonical figures–Aristotle, Plato, Augustine, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, J.S. Mill, and Rawls–in terms of what they meant by “equality” and how comprehensive over the human community (–not very–) those meanings were in both philosophical and historical contexts. While she does not provide an Ethics of Race, per se, the book concludes with twelve universal egalitarian Requirements for an Ethics of Race. Ethics for Disaster is the first philosophical address of disaster ethics, with a multidisciplinary reach. She has introduced deontology and virtue ethics into disaster studies, as a challenge to the simplistic utilitarianism that has dominated this field.

Besides her work on race and disaster, she has recently published several occasional articles on popular culture, e.g., vampires and black female comedians, and Race and Ethnicity (2012), a textbook for Bridgpoint Education, which will primarily be used as an e-book at Rockford College. Race and Ethnicity combines earlier philosophical work of hers and others with a sociological consensus that human races are culturally relative and that although racial divisions have no biological reality, their social reality is still powerfully associated with oppression.

In 2010 she founded the UO website of free streaming videos, Philosophical Installations (http://philinstall.uoregon.edu/) that by Spring 2013 will have 2500 philosophy videos available all in one place, for classroom and research use.