Prof Michelle N Mason Bizri

The philosophical questions that most interest me intersect value theory and the philosophy of mind and action.

We care, and care deeply, about how others not only act but feel toward us. We expect even strangers to regard us with a certain degree of respect; moreover, we hope that certain intimates – as in the case of spouses, parents, and children – love us. What could warrant such attitudes toward a person? To what moral evaluations, if any, are such responses subject? In current work, I examine the moral psychology of a related quartet of attitudes – contempt, shame, love, and pride – as attitudes indispensable to regarding ourselves and others as responsible for approximating certain normative ideals. Against interpretations of the reactive attitudes that ascribe to them a predominantly deontic, imperative shape, I offer an account that accommodates this quartet as what I dub aretaic, appellative attitudes. Some of my work in this area has been published as articles and book chapters, in venues such as Ethics and Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. Currently, I am completing a monograph on the topic, Valuing Persons, for Oxford University Press. My related edited volume, The Moral Psychology of Contempt, was published in 2018 in Rowman & Littlefield’s Moral Psychology of the Emotions series.

A second research interest takes up an ancient question in normative ethical theory: Is living a virtuous life – in the sense of living justly, courageously, honestly, and the like – necessary if one is to live a life good for the one who lives it? Defending a developmental account of the human good, and bringing my practical experience as a child welfare advocate to bear, I defend a novel connection between living virtuously and faring well. My research to date on this project has been published in venues such as the Southern Journal of Philosophy and The Journal of Moral Philosophy, and supported by the Templeton Foundation, among others.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Philosophy, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2001.


  • ethical theory
  • moral psychology
Courses Taught
  • Phil 1003W - Introduction to Ethics
  • Phil 3311 - Introduction to Ethical Theory
  • Phil 3302 - Moral Problems of Contemporary Society
  • Phil 4330W - Contemporary Moral Theories
  • Phil 4321 - Theories of Justice
  • Phil 4320W - Intensive Study of a Historical Moral Theory
  • Phil1910 - Freshman Seminar: The Ethics of Attitudes
  • Phil 8310 - Seminar in Moral Philosophy
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor: Ethics: 2013 - present
  • APA Committee on Inclusiveness in the Profession: 2016 - 2019


  • Guardian ad Litem: Ramsey County- 2nd Judicial District Juvenile Court, 2007 - 2008
  • Community Representative: Restorative Justice Community Action, 2005 - 2007
  • Mason, Michelle. Valuing Persons (Oxford: Oxford University Press: under contract).
  • Mason, Michelle. "Contempt as an absence of appraisal, not recognition, respect," Behavioral and Brain Sciences, in press.
  • Mason, Michelle, Editor The Moral Psychology of Contempt (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming January 2018).
  • Mason, Michelle. "Teach the Children Well: On Virtue and its Benefits," Journal of Moral Philosophy, 2017.
  • Mason, Michelle. "Reactive Attitudes and Second-Personal Address," in Ethical Sentimentalism, Remy Debes and Karsten Stueber, Eds. ( New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
  • Mason, Michelle. "Reactivity and Refuge," Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility Vol. 2, D. Shoemaker and N. Tognazzini, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014): 143-162.
  • Mason, Michelle. "Moral Psychology," International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Hugh LaFolette, ed. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013).
  • Mason, Michelle. "Reactive Attitudes," International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Hugh LaFollette, ed. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013).
  • Mason, Michelle. "Senza Vergogna," La Vergogna/Shame, E. Antonelli and M. Rotili, eds. (Milan: Mimesis Edizione, 2012): 229-245.
  • Mason, Michelle. "Blame: Taking it Seriously," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83:2 (2011): 473-481.
  • Mason, Michelle. "On Shamelessness," Philosophical Papers 39:3 (2010): 401-425.
  • Mason, Michelle and Value Tiberius. "Aristotle," The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology, Shane J. Lopez, ed. (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009): 63-64.
  • Mason, Michelle and Value Tiberius. "Eudaimonia," The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology, Shane J. Lopez, ed. (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009): 351-355.
  • Mason, Michelle. Review of Deadly Vices by Gabriele Taylor. Mind 117:467 (2008): 742-744.
  • Mason, Michelle. Review of What is Good and Why by Richard Kraut. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, November 17, 2007.
  • Mason, Michelle. "Aretaic Appraisal and Practical Reasons" Southern Journal of Philosophy, 4:4 (2006): 629-656.
  • Mason, Michelle. "Hume and Humeans on Practical Reason," Hume Studies, 31:2 (2005): 347-378.
  • Mason Bizri, Michelle N. "Moral Sentiments." The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd ed. (2005): 388-393.
  • Mason, Michelle. Review of Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View by Christine Swanton. Ethics 115:2 (2005): 430-434.
  • Mason Bizri, Michelle N. "Contempt as a Moral Attitude." Ethics 113:2 (2003): 234-272.
  • Mason Bizri, Michelle N. "Moral Prejudice and Aesthetic Deformity: Rereading Hume's 'Of the Standard of Taste'." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59:1 (2001): 59-71.
  • John Templeton Foundation, 2015 - 2015
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 6/2011 - 7/2011
  • Faculty Residential Fellow, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, Fall 2010
  • McKnight Land Grant Professorship, 2005 - 2007
  • Faculty Fellow in Ethics, Harvard University Center for Ethics and the Professions, September 2002 - June 2003
  • "Thank a Teacher" Teaching Award, University of Minnesota, 2001
  • Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, September 1999 - June 2000