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Stephen Finlay

Professor of Philosophy

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 821-2219
Office: STO 114A

Research Page


Ph.D. Philosophy, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2001
M.A. Philosophy, Auckland University, 1996
B.A. Philosophy, History, Auckland University, New Zealand, 1994

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Tenure Track Appointments

Professor, University of Southern California, 2014-  
Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 2009-2014  
Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, 2002-2009  

Visiting and Temporary Appointments

Visiting Instructor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2001-2002   

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Professor Finlay's research is focused on metaethics and ethics, especially the nature of normativity, practical reasoning, moral psychology, and the semantic and metaphysical foundations of ethics.



Finlay, S., Schroeder, M. (Ed.). (2014). Deontic Modality. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 95 (4).
Finlay, S. (2014). Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Book Chapter

Finlay, S. (2014). The Pragmatics of Normative Disagreement. pp. 124-148. In G. Fletcher & M. Ridge (eds.), Having It Both Ways: Hybrid Theories and Modern Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
Finlay, S. (2014). 'Ought': OUT OF ORDER. In N. Charlow & M. Chrisman, Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
Finlay, S. (2009). Against All Reason? Skepticism about the Instrumental Norm. pp. 155-178. In Charles Pigden (ed.), Hume on Motivation and Virtue. Palgrave McMillan.
Finlay, S. (2008). Motivation to the Means. pp. 173-191. In David Chan (ed.), Moral Psychology Today: Values, Rational Choice & the Will. Routledge.
Finlay, S. (2007). Too Much Morality. pp. 136-154. In Paul Bloomfield (ed.), Morality and Self-Interest. Oxford University Press.

Book Review

Finlay, S., Lutz, M. (2015). Review of Jonas Olson, Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence. Ethics 125 (4).
Finlay, S. (2015). Review of John F. Horty, Reasons as Defaults. The Philosophical Review 124 (2). pp. 284-286.
Finlay, S. (2010). Review of A. W. Price, Contextuality in Practical Reason. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1). pp. 187-190.
Finlay, S. (2006). Review of Mark Eli Kalderon, Moral Fictionalism. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Encyclopedia Article

Finlay, S. (2013). Ought. (Hugh LaFollette, Ed.). International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
Finlay, S. (2013). Moral Language, Uses of. (Hugh LaFollette, Ed.). International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
Finlay, S. (2012). Metaethics. (Edward Craig, Ed.). Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online.
Finlay, S., Schroeder, M. (2008). Reasons for Action: Internal vs. External. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Finlay, S. (2005). The Emotive Theory of Ethics. MacMillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd Ed..

Journal Article

Finlay, S., Schroeder, M. (2014). Deontic Modality Today: Introduction. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. Vol. 95 (4), pp. 421-423.
Finlay, S., Snedegar, J. (2014). One Ought Too Many. Philosophy & Phenomenological Research. Vol. 89 (1), pp. 102-24.
Finlay, S. (2012). Explaining Reasons. Deutsches Jahrbuch für Philosophie, Vol. 4. Meiner Verlag. pp. 112-126.
Finlay, S. (2011). Errors upon Errors: A Reply to Joyce. Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 89 (3), pp. 535-547.
Finlay, S. (2011). The Selves and the Shoemaker: Psychopaths, Moral Judgement, and Responsibility. The Southern Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 49 (Spindel Supplement), pp. 125-133.
Björnsson, G., Finlay, S. (2010). Metaethical Contextualism Defended. Ethics. Vol. 121 (1), pp. 7-36.
Finlay, S. (2010). What 'ought' probably means, and why you can't detach it. Synthese. Vol. 177 (1), pp. 67-89.
Finlay, S. (2010). Normativity, Necessity and Tense: A Recipe for Homebaked Normativity. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 5. Oxford University Press. pp. 57-85.
Finlay, S. (2010). Recent Work on Normativity. Analysis. Vol. 70 (2), pp. 331-346.
Finlay, S. (2009). The Obscurity of Internal Reasons. Philosophers' Imprint. Vol. 9 (7), pp. 1-22.
Finlay, S. (2009). Oughts and Ends. Philosophical Studies. Vol. 143 (3), pp. 315-340.
Finlay, S. (2008). The Error in the Error Theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 86 (3), pp. 347-369.
Finlay, S. (2007). Four Faces of Moral Realism. Philosophy Compass. Vol. 2 (6), pp. 820-49.
Finlay, S. (2007). Responding to Normativity. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 220-39.
Finlay, S. (2006). The Reasons that Matter. Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 84, pp. 1-20.
Finlay, S. (2005). Value and Implicature. Philosophers' Imprint. Vol. 5 (4), pp. 1-20.
Finlay, S. (2004). The Conversational Practicality of Value Judgement. Journal of Ethics. Vol. 8(3), pp. 205-223.

Honors and Awards

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship Recipient, NEH Fellowship, 2012-2013   
AJP Best Paper Award (for "The Error in the Error Theory"), Australasian Association of Philosophy, 2009  
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship, 2008-2009   
USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, General Education Teaching Award, 2003-2004  
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