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Visiting Lecturer of Philosophy

Justin Caouette’s work focuses on issues in normative and applied ethics and in metaphysics. In normative ethics, he is interested in understanding the nature of moral obligation and moral responsibility. More specifically, he’s interested in how our abilities as human beings constrain what we might be obligated to do and what we can be held responsible for in light of our physical constraints. In applied ethics, he has been mostly concerned  with the question: when is it morally permissible, impermissible, or obligatory to pharmacologically enhance oneself to accomplish a goal? He has developed a novel strategy to answer this question guided by an appeal to virtue, practice, and achievement, and has concluded that such enhancements are not only permissible in many contexts but may be obligatory in far more cases than has been previously suggested.

In metaphysics he has focused primarily in the free will debate. He is concerned with how the free will problem connects to everyday life; why should we care about free will at all? His ongoing research program within the free will debate focuses on the moral ramifications of hard incompatibilism. Roughly, he argues that we would lose quite a bit if it turned out that we do not have free will.

  Justin also has research interests surrounding the moral emotions, mental illness, and virtue theory broadly construed. 

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