I am assistant professor of philosophy at Macalester College. I work in ethics, metaethics, action theory, and epistemology.
My research seeks to understand the fundamental concepts used moral philosophy and related areas (as well as the phenomena those concepts pick out). Of special interest are concepts having to do with human motivation. I'm currently occupied with two projects in this area. One develops a theory of reasons for action called the Reasoning View. The explores some under-studied problems for the causal theory of action and the distinctive practical attitude theory of intention.
At Macalester I teach courses in ethics, bioethics, metaethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of race and gender. In spring 2018 I'm teaching ethics and ethical theory.
E-mail? sasarnow [at] macalester [dot] edu.
Asarnow? uh-SAR-no (/ʌˈsɑr noʊ/).
Fig. 1: Standing in front of art
"The Reasoning View and Defeasible Practical Reasoning"
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95, 3: 614-636 (2017) [final; draft]
I argue that the Reasoning View about normative reasons for action faces an extensional objection. I show that the objection can be avoided if the norms of practical reasoning are defeasible, in a sense I make precise. Happily, that idea is independently motivated, and I explain why.
Ethics 127, 1: 147-178 (2016) [final]
I raise an action-theoretic objection to Objectivist theories of normative reasons for action (sometimes called "value-based theories"). I then argue that the Reasoning View satisfies the common motivations for Objectivism while also being action-theoretically plausible. Many Objectivists thus have reason (ouch) to convert to the Reasoning View.
Work In Progress and Under Review
To facilitate anonymity in the review process, I am not currently posting the titles of my unpublished work. In progress and currently under review are papers on reasons for action, rational belief, intention, and the causal theory of action.
Fig. 2: Winter in St. Paul, Minnesota
keywords: samuel asarnow, sam asarnow, asarnow