Biography:Geoffrey Sayre-McCord

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Short description: American philosopher
Geoffrey Sayre-McCord
Geoffrey Sayre-McCord.jpg
Born (1956-12-10) December 10, 1956 (age 67)
Boston, Massachusetts , U.S.
NationalityUnited States
EducationBA from Oberlin College and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh
OccupationPhilosopher, professor, author
EmployerUniversity of North Carolina
Known forMoral realism

Geoffrey Sayre-McCord (né McCord, born December 10, 1956) is an American philosopher who works in moral theory, ethics, meta-ethics, the history of ethics, and epistemology. He teaches at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is also the director of the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Society.

Education and career

Sayre-McCord received his BA from Oberlin College and his PhD (under the direction of David Gauthier) from the University of Pittsburgh. Sayre-McCord is the Morehead-Cain Alumni Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program at the University of North Carolina, where he has taught since 1985. He was a Professorial Fellow at the University of Edinburgh from 2013-2016, and a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor at Princeton University in 2015-2016. He is a frequent visitor at the Australian National University and has been a visiting professor at the University of Auckland and the University of California/Irvine.[citation needed]

Sayre-McCord is the recipient of several university-wide teaching awards, including the Board of Governors' Award for Excellence in Teaching.[1] In 2019 Sayre-McCord received the Philip L. Quinn Prize from the American Philosophical Association, for “service to philosophy and philosophers, broadly construed.”[2]

His parents were William Maxwell McCord and Joan McCord, both of whom were also college professors. His brother is Rob McCord, a former Pennsylvania Treasurer.[3] He is married to Harriet Sayre, the daughter of Francis Bowes Sayre Jr. and great-granddaughter of President Woodrow Wilson.[4]

Philosophical work

Sayre-McCord is known especially for his work on moral realism and on David Hume's moral theory. He is author of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries on "Moral Realism"[5] and "Metaethics".[6] He has also written on contractualism and on issues at the intersection of philosophy, politics, and economics. He was, for five years, a co-editor of the journal Noûs.


Selected articles

  • "Coherence and Models for Moral Theorizing," Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (1985)
  • "Deontic Logic and the Priority of Moral Theory," Noûs (1986)
  • "The Many Moral Realisms," Southern Journal of Philosophy, Spindel Conference Supplement, (1986)
  • "Moral Theory and Explanatory Impotence," Midwest Studies (1988)
  • "Deception and Reasons to be Moral," American Philosophical Quarterly, (1989)
  • "Functional Explanations and Reasons as Causes," Philosophical Perspectives (1990)
  • "Being a Realist about Relativism," Philosophical Studies (1991)
  • "Normative Explanations," Philosophical Perspectives (1992)
  • "On Why Hume's General Point of View Isn't Ideal -- and Shouldn't Be," Social Philosophy and Policy (1994)
  • "Coherentist Epistemology and Moral Theory," in Moral Knowledge?, ed. by Sinnott-Armstrong and Timmons (1996)
  • "Hume and the Bauhaus Theory of Ethics," Midwest Studies (1996)
  • "Hume's Representation Argument Against Rationalism," Manuscrito (1997)
  • "The Meta-Ethical Problem," Ethics (1997)
  • "'Good' on Twin Earth," Philosophical Issues (1997)
  • "Contractarianism," Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory (1999)
  • "Criminal Justice and Legal Reparations," Philosophical Issues (2001)
  • "Mill's 'Proof': A More than Half-Hearted Defense," Social Philosophy and Policy (2001)
  • "On the Relevance of Ignorance to the Demands of Morality," Rationality, Rules, and Ideals, ed. by Sinnott-Armstrong (2002)
  • "Moral Realism," Oxford Handbook of Moral Theory, ed. by Copp (2006)
  • "Moral Semantics and Empirical Enquiry," Moral Psychology, ed. by Sinnott-Armstrong (2008)
  • "Hume on Practical Morality and Inert Reason," Oxford Studies in Metaethics, ed. by Shafer-Landau (2008)
  • "Sentiments and Spectators: Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Judgment," The Philosophy of Adam Smith, ed. by Brown and Fleischacker (2010)

Edited volumes

  • Essays on Moral Realism (Cornell University Press, 1988)
  • Hume: Moral Philosophy (Hackett Publishing, 2006)
  • Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (Oxford University Press, 2015), with Jonathan Anomaly, Geoffrey Brennan, and Michael Munger.

See also

  • American philosophy
  • List of American philosophers


External links