Charles LarmoreW. Duncan MacMillan Family Professor of the Humanities, Professor of Philosophy
Charles Larmore is a philosopher working chiefly in the areas of moral and political philosophy. Having taught previously at Columbia and the University of Chicago, he joined Brown in 2006, where he is the W. Duncan MacMillan Family Professor in the Humanities. He is the author of ten books, one of which, Les Pratiques du Moi, received the Grand Prix de Philosophie from the Academie Francaise in 2004. Among his most recent books are The Autonomy of Morality (2008) and Vernunft und Subjektivität (2012). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Charles Larmore's work in moral and political philosophy has focused on such topics as the foundations of political liberalism, the nature of the self, and the nature of moral judgment. He has also published extensively on figures and problems in the history of philosophy, particularly in the area of 17th century philosophy and on German Idealism, as well as on the nature of reason and reasons. He is currently at work on a book about the nature of freedom.
In recent years, Charles Larmore has published work primarily on three topics in the area of moral and political philosophy. The first has to do with the foundations of political liberalism, and particularly with the nature of the principles by which a liberal political order can hope to respect the equal worth of each individual citizen while remaining neutral with regard to their differing conceptions of the human good. A second topic has to do with the nature of the self, and the focus has been on the nature of the relation we have inescapably to ourselves in virtue of which we are selves at all; Larmore has argued that this self-relation is not one of self-knowledge or self-awareness, as philosophers have often assumed, but instead an essentially practical relation of being committed to thinking and acting in accord with the presumed truth of what we believe and the presumed value of what we desire. The third area of work has been the nature of moral judgment, and here the focus has been on what it is in virtue of which moral judgments may count as true or false; Larmore's approach has been to argue that moral judgments are essentially about reasons for action, and to explore the metaphysical consequences of the idea that there really are such things as reasons.