Philosopher Stephen Darwall is named a Guggenheim Fellow

Darwall is one of just three philosophers to win the fellowship in 2023.
Stephen Darwall

Stephen Darwall (Photo by Dan Renzetti)

Yale philosopher Stephen Darwall, whose work examines the foundations of ethics, moral psychology, and ethical and moral theory, is among 171 artists, writers, scholars, and scientists awarded 2023 Guggenheim Fellowships.

The awards, made annually by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, recognize both prior achievement and exceptional promise. The honorees were chosen through a rigorous peer-review process from almost 2,500 applicants.

Darwall, the Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is one of just three philosophers to win a Guggenheim this year.

Like Emerson, I believe that fullness in life comes from following our calling,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation and a 1985 Fellow in Poetry. “The new class of fellows has followed their calling to enhance all of our lives, to provide greater human knowledge and deeper understanding. We’re lucky to look to them to bring us into the future.”

Created in 1925 by U.S. Sen. Simon Guggenheim and Olga Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon Guggenheim, the Guggenheim Fellowship honors exceptional individuals in pursuit of scholarship in any field of knowledge and creation in any art form. Grant awards vary, and fellows have the freedom to use their awards as they wish.

I am really grateful for this fellowship,” said Darwall. “The Guggenheim will enable me to complete the second of two volumes in the history of modern moral philosophy in the West. The first, ‘Modern Moral Philosophy: From Grotius to Kant’ will appear this spring. The second, ‘Modern Moral Philosophy After Kant,’ will take things to the end of the 20th century.”

Darwall is a widely published author of books and scholarly articles. His books include two collections of essays, both published in 2013: “Morality, Authority, and Law: Essays in Second-Personal Ethics” and “Honor, History, and Relationship: Essays in Second-Personal Ethics.” He is also the author of “The Second-Person Standpoint” (2006), “Welfare and Rational Care” (2002), “Philosophical Ethics” (1998), “The British Moralists and the Internal ‘Ought” (1995), and “Impartial Reason” (1983). The seven books he edited include “Virtue Ethics,” “Deontology,” “Consequentialism,” and “Contractarianism,” all published in 2002.

Darwall is a founding co-editor of “The Philosopher’s Imprint,” a refereed philosophical journal which aims to disseminate scholarship for free via the internet in the spirit of the Open Access movement.

A 1968 graduate of Yale College, Darwall earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh. He served as chair of Yale’s Department of Philosophy from 2014 to 2017 and has also been a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School. He taught at the University of Michigan from 1984 until he joined the Yale faculty in 2008.

Darwall has also won a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for next year, making it the fifth time he has received the award. He has been an invited lecturer and speaker at universities and for professional organizations throughout the world. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2001.

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