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Department of Philosophy

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Matthew Kisner

Title: Professor
Graduate Assessment Officer
Department: Philosophy
College of Arts and Sciences
Office: Close-Hipp 524
Resources: Curriculum Vitae
Department of Philosophy
Matt Kisner


PhD, UC San Diego, 2004

Research Interests 

Early Modern Philosophy, History of Ethics

I am interested in the history of ethics, particularly early modern ethics. Much of my research in this area focuses on Spinoza's ethics, as well as early modern efforts to articulate the moral value of the emotions or passions. I am also interested in how historical work bears on ongoing issues in ethics. With respect to contemporary ethics, I am particularly interested in issues surrounding moral psychology, autonomy, and the emotions.

Selected Publications

  • Spinoza: Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order, editor, trans. Michael Silverthorne, Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy, (anticipated 2016).
  • Essays on Spinoza's Ethical Theory, co-editor with Andrew Youpa, Oxford University Press (2014).
  • "Spinoza's Liberalism," Philosophy Compass, 7 (11): 2012, 782-93.
  • Spinoza on Human Freedom: Reason, Autonomy and the Good Life, Cambridge University Press (March 2011).
  • "Perfection and Desire: Spinoza on the Good," Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.91 (1): 2010, 97-117
  • "Spinoza's Model of Human Nature: Rethinking the Free Man," forthcoming, Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy.vol 5: 2010, 91-114
  • "Spinoza's Benevolence: The Rational Basis for Acting to the Benefit of Others," Journal of the History of Philosophy, 47 (4): 2009, 549-68.
  • "Spinoza's Virtuous Passions," Review of Metaphysics 61 (4): 2008, 759-83.
  • "Rationalism and Method,' in A Companion to Rationalism. Ed. Alan Nelson. New York: Blackwell Publishing Co. 2005, 137-155.
  • "Scepticism and the Early Descartes," British Journal for the History of Philosophy 13 (2): 2005, 207-32.
  • "Lions, Foxes and Polecats: Would Hobbesian Subjects Agree to Covenant?" History of Philosophy Quarterly 21: 2004, 81-100.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.