Prof Michelle N Mason

My main philosophical interests intersect value theory and the philosophy of mind and action.

My current research in moral psychology investigates and defends a quartet of attitudes -- contempt, shame, love, and pride -- as related reactive attitudes that are indispensable if we are to regard ourselves and others as accountable 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 preliminary work in this area has been published as articles and book chapters and I am currently at work on a monograph on the topic, tentatively titled Valuing Persons, under contract with Oxford University Press.

My second book-length project is in normative ethical theory and pursues a virtue-theoretic approach to contemporary debate about the practical rationality of moral action. Defending a developmental account of the human good, and bringing my practical experience as a child welfare advocate to bear, I defend a novel account of the connection between living a life of virtue and living a life that is good for whoever lives it.

Someday, finally, I hope to return to my early interest in aesthetics, particularly an interest in exploring how aesthetic and moral values may conflict and -- when they do -- how that conflict might inform current thinking about the purportedly overriding character of moral reasons.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

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

Curriculum Vitae

Specialties

  • ethical theory
  • moral psychology
  • practical reason
  • history of ethics
  • aesthetics
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

Outreach

  • Guardian ad Litem: Ramsey County- 2nd Judicial District Juvenile Court, 2007 - 2008
  • Community Representative: Restorative Justice Community Action, 2005 - 2007
Publications
  • Mason, Michelle. Valuing Persons (Oxford: Oxford University Press: under contract).
  • Mason, Michelle, Ed. The Moral Psychology of Contempt (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming 2018).
  • Mason, Michelle. "Teach the Children Well: On Virtue and its Benefits," Journal of Moral Philosophy, forthcoming 2017.
  • Mason, Michelle. "Contempt as an absence of appraisal, not recognition, respect," Behavioral and Brain Sciences, forthcoming 2017.
  • Mason, Michelle. "Reactive Attitudes and Second-Personal Address," in Ethical Sentimentalism, Remy Debes and Karsten Stueber, Eds. ( New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 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, 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, Michelle N. "Contempt as a Moral Attitude." Ethics 113:2 (2003): 234-272.
  • Mason, 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.
Awards
  • 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