Susan Wolf

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Philosopher; Ethicist; Educator
Humanities and Arts

Susan R. Wolf is the Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Emerita, where she taught from 2002 till 2022. Earlier, she taught at the Johns Hopkins University (1986-2002), where she was the Duane Peterson Professor of Ethics, as well as at the University of Maryland (1981-86) and Harvard University (1978-81). She received the B.A. degree (1974) summa cum laude in mathematics and philosophy from Yale University, and the M.A. (1977) and Ph.D. (1978) in philosophy from Princeton University. She was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2006; she has held fellowships at University College, Oxford, and the Australian National University; she served as President of the American Philosophical Association (Eastern Division) in 2010-11; she was a Phi Beta Kappa Romanell Professor (2009-10) and the Spinoza Chair at the University of Amsterdam (2018). In 2004-07 she was honored with the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award in the Humanities, and in 2022 she received the Lauener Prize for an Outstanding Oeuvre in Analytical Philosophy. Wolf works chiefly in ethics and its close relations in philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, political philosophy, and aesthetics. Her interests range widely over moral psychology, value theory, and normative ethics. She has made contributions to our understanding of the nature and plurality of value, the importance of moral virtue, the possibility of freedom and responsibility in a deterministic world, and the pursuit of meaning in life. Some of her most notable works include “Moral Saints”, Freedom Within Reason (Oxford, 1990), Meaning in Life and Why it Matters (Princeton, 2010), and The Variety of Values: Essays on Morality, Meaning, and Love (Oxford, 2015). Wolf was elected to the American Academy in 1999, and she currently serves as a member of the Academy Council. She previously served as chair of the Philosophy section. 

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