Stephen Finlay

Associate Professor of Philosophy

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

Research Page


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

  • Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

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

    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. (2014). Confusion of Tongues. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    Book Chapter
    • Finlay, S. (2014). 'Ought': OUT OF ORDER. In N. Charlow & M. Chrisman, Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
    • Finlay, S. (2014). The Pragmatics of Normative Disagreement. In G. Fletcher & M. Ridge (eds.), Janus-Faced Judgment: Hybrid Approaches to Meta-Normative Theory. Oxford University Press.
    • Finlay, S. (2010). Normativity, Necessity and Tense: A Recipe for Homebaked Normativity. pp. 57-85. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics 5. Oxford University Press.
    • 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.
    • Finlay, S. (2007). Responding to Normativity. pp. 220-39. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics 2. Oxford University Press.

    Book Review
    • 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.
    • Schroeder, M., Finlay, S. (2008). Reasons for Action: Internal vs. External. Stanford CA: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    • Finlay, S. (2005). The Emotive Theory of Ethics. MacMillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd Ed..

    Journal Article
    • Finlay, S. (2012). Explaining Reasons. Deutsches Jahrbuch für Philosophie, Vol. 4. Meiner Verlag. pp. 112-126.
    • Finlay, S., Snedegar, J. (2012). One Ought Too Many. Philosophy & Phenomenological Research. Vol. forthcoming.
    • 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). 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. (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  

  • School of Philosophy
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  • Mudd Hall of Philosophy, MHP 113