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Valerie Tiberius: November 2013

posted Nov 21, 2013, 4:16 PM by Peggy DesAutels

Valerie Tiberius
University of Minnesota

Valerie Tiberius is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, where she has taught since 1998. She earned her B.A. from the University of Toronto and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has served on the executive board of the Central Division of the APA, the APA Committee for the Status of Women, and the executive board of the Moral Psychology Research Group.

Tiberius’s work is in ethics and moral psychology. One of her main research interests has been in explaining how Humeans – who think that norms and values must be, in some way, grounded in our sentiments rather than in pure principles of reason or special facts about the world – can make sense of moral, prudential and other norms. She has developed the view that the key to making sense of normative notions like reasons, oughts, and values, is to see how our sentiments form stable patterns that constitute justifications for us.

Her recent work is grounded in this Humean picture, but addresses more practical questions. Her book, The Reflective Life: Living Wisely With Our Limits (Oxford 2008), examines how we ought to think about practical wisdom and living a good life given what we now know about ourselves from empirical psychology. She argues for the importance of virtues such as perspective, optimism and moderate self-awareness as crucial to living well. She is currently writing a book on well-being, Well-Being as Value Fulfillment, which defends a theory of well-being and takes up the question of how to help other people live better lives.

A common theme in Tiberius’s recent work is how philosophy and psychology can both contribute to the study of well-being and virtue. She is just finishing up an introduction to moral psychology that brings together traditional philosophical approaches and new, alternative empirical approaches in order to investigate questions about, for instance, moral motivation, moral responsibility, and reasons to be moral. Moral Psychology: A Contemporary Introduction will be published by Routledge next year. She has received grants from the Templeton Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities to work on her various projects.