Emrys Westacott

Emrys Westacott is a professor of philosophy and a writer, author of two books and many articles. He writes mainly about philosophical issues, particularly in ethics, but also writes on cultural topics of general interest and dabbles occasionally in playwriting and poetry.


Emrys is Professor of Philosophy at Alfred University in Western New York, where he has been teaching since 1996. He is the author of The Virtues of Our Vices (Princeton University Press, 2012) and co-author (with Chris Horner) of Thinking Through Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2000). His articles and reviews have appeared in many publications, including Philosophy Now, The Philosopher's Magazine, The Philosophical ForumInternational Studies in PhilosophyInternational Journal of Applied PhilosophyThe HumanistThe Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times.  His work has been profiled in the New York Times and reviewed in The Guardian, The Boston Globe, and 3:AM Magazine. He has been interviewed numerous times on various radio stations, including BBC World Service, NPR, CBC and Australian National Radio. He writes a regular monthly essay for the popular blog site 3QuarksDaily, and is currently finishing a book on the philosophy of frugality.


B.A. in philosophy, University of Sheffield (UK)

M.A. in philosophy, McGill University (Montreal)

Ph.D. in philosophy, University of Texas at Austin`

Emrys Westacott

Socrates says that "the unexamined life is not worth living."  I wouldn't go that far myself, but I do think that philosophical reflection makes life richer, more interesting, and more enjoyable.  A world without philosophy would be like a world without music, art, or science–a much poorer place.

I don't think of philosophy as a narrow academic discipline.  Philosophy to me is largely a matter of thinking hard about the way we live, the beliefs we hold, and the values we cherish.  I think of it as rather like a quiet room in a  busy noisy building, a space where we can go to take a break from all our normal, daily, pressurized activities, where we can take stock and reflect on what we're doing and where we're going. Spending time there allows us to become more self-aware both as individuals and as a society.

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