Travis Timmerman just finished his PhD in philosophy at Syracuse University. In the fall, he will start as an assistant professor of philosophy at Seton Hall University. He specializes in normative ethics, death, and applied ethics. He also maintains interests in bioethics, metaethics and epistemology.
What is your favorite thing that you’ve written?
It’s hard for me to pick, but I am currently very happy with a paper I co-authored with Yishai Cohen on the actualism/possibilism debate in ethics. The paper, Moral Obligations: Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist? is forthcoming at the Australasian Journal of Philosophy. The actualism/possibilism debate concerns the relationship between agents’ free actions and their moral obligations. Yishai and I develop a positive account of this relationship that is, I think, at least on the right track. The issues raised in the debate are very challenging and fundamental to normative ethics, yet seldom discussed by ethicists. I also have an Analysis paper responding to Peter Singer’s work on global poverty titled Sometimes There is Nothing Wrong with Letting a Child Drown. That’s certainly my favorite title of any of my papers.
What time of day are you most productive and creative?
I’ve always been a night owl. I am most productive after 7pm. My ideal schedule is teaching in the morning, writing a bit in the afternoon and, after a break in the early evening, writing well into the night.
If you could have a one-hour conversation with any philosopher from any time, who would you pick and what topic would you choose?
I would want to talk with Henry Sidgwick and pick his brain about contemporary versions of consequentialism.
Where is your favorite place you have ever traveled and why?
Venice is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. It seems practically immune from the effects of globalization and is unlike any other city in the world. At night, it’s magical.
Where would you go in a time machine?
I’d want to go far into the future; sometime after technology has vastly improved, but before all sentient life has died out.
Find out more about Travis here.
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