Dr. Heathwood's principle research area is ethics, where he works mainly on well-being and on issues in metaethics. Theories of well-being answer the question, What is ultimately of benefit and harm to us? Most of Dr. Heathwood’s work on this topic concerns desire-based theories of well-being, according to which welfare consists in getting what one wants. Relatedly, Dr. Heathwood also defends desire-based theories of the nature of pleasure and pain. In metaethics, Dr. Heathwood has written on the nature of value and reasons for action, and their relation to desire-based theories of welfare and pleasure. He is also interested in the defensibility of non-naturalist moral realism, and to this end has written on whether there can be ungrounded moral facts and on the nature of irreducible normativity. Dr. Heathwood also has interests in meta-epistemology, the philosophy of religion, and metaphysics.
ethics, metaethics, axiology, welfare, well-being, value, reasons, desire, desire-satisfaction theory of welfare, preferentism, pleasure and pain, normativity, abortion, philosophy of religion, the ontological argument, philosophy of time, value pluralism
PHIL 1100 - Ethics
Fall 2021 / Spring 2023
Introductory study of major philosophies on the nature of the good for humanity, principles of evaluation, and moral choice as they apply to contemporary moral problems.
PHIL 1200 - Contemporary Social Problems
Spring 2020 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022
Examines competing positions in debates over a wide variety of controversial moral, social and political issues. Topics may include: abortion, world poverty, animal rights, immigration, physician-assisted suicide, freedom of religion, hate speech, cloning, income inequality, pornography, gun rights, racial profiling, capital punishment, overpopulation, prostitution, drug legalization, torture. Formerly titled 'Philosophy and Society.'
PHIL 3100 - Ethical Theory
Fall 2018 / Fall 2019
Examines important doctrines and arguments in various areas of theoretical ethics, such as the normative ethics of behavior, axiology, virtue theory and metaethics. Department enforced prerequisite: 3 hours of philosophy course work (minimum grade C-). Recommended prerequisite: 6 hours of philosophy course work.
PHIL 4020 - Topics in the History of Philosophy
Examines a specific philosophical problem over an extended historical period. Recommended prerequisites: 12 hours of philosophy course work including PHIL 3000 and PHIL 3010. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours. Same as PHIL 5020.