Paul So

Graduate Student in Residence

Specialization

Research Interests

  • Metaethics
  • Normative Ethics
  • Philosophy of Minds 

 

Education

  • M.A. in Bioethics at New York University (2019)
  • M.A. in Philosophy at Texas Tech University (2017)
  • B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park (2014) 

Bio

I studied philosophy for eight years before I got accepted into UCSB's PhD program. Initially, I developed some interest in Immanuel Kant, Benedict Spinoza, and Arthur Schopenhauer, but my interests changed to Philosophy of Mind when I entered the University of Maryland, College Park. I became interested in issues such as mental causation, naturalizing mental content, consciousness, autonomy of special sciences, nativism vs. empiricism, and physicalism and continued to study my research interests at Texas Tech University for my M.A. However, at Texas Tech University I developed some interest in metaethics and normative ethics from studying Non-cognitivism and Kant's moral philosophy respectively. When I entered New York University's bioethics program I further developed my newfound interests in normative ethics and metaethics. 

Research

I'm interested in the intersection of philosophy of mind, normative ethics, and metaethics. In particular, I'm interested in the nature of moral judgments. Are moral judgments cognitive mental states like beliefs that can be true or false or are they more like non-cognitive attitudes? If moral judgments are beliefs, how do we explain moral disagreements that seem like disagreement in moral beliefs?  In one of my papers, I argued that moral judgments are plural desire attitudes in which statements like "Murder is wrong" expresses the non-cognitive atitude "I want us to condemn murder." This attitude can be satisfied or unsatisfied depending on whether or not people condemn murder. This is incompatible with an opposing attitude "I want us to not condemn murder" which can be satisfied when nobody condemns murder.