Research Interests: Ethics
Joseph Van Weelden joined Ahmedabad University in June 2019, as an Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Languages division of the School of Arts and Sciences. He is a philosopher specializing in ethics. Although his interests range widely across the discipline, the philosophical puzzles that keep him up at night all revolve around the following question: ‘what is good and why?’. Joseph received his PhD in philosophy from McGill University in 2018. He previously taught in the departments of Philosophy and Political Science at McGill, and most recently he taught philosophy at Camosun College in Victoria, Canada.
To date, the main focus of Professor Van Weelden’s research has been well-being (or as philosophers sometimes call it, ‘welfare’, ‘prudential value’, or ‘goodness-for’). In his doctoral thesis, and several articles, he has been exploring the potential of a novel form of pluralism about well-being. In the course of this broader project, he has found himself working on a variety of interconnected issues in the philosophy of well-being, including:
a) ‘How can one best formulate a desire-satisfaction theory of prudential value?’,
b) ‘Should subjectivists about well-being favour the desire-satisfaction theory or turn to one of two recently developed alternatives, judgment subjectivism and the value-fulfillment theory?’,
c) ‘What is the most plausible way to combine subjective (attitude-dependent) and objective (attitude-independent) elements into a single theory of well-being?’, and,
d) ‘What is the relationship between well-being at a time and well-being over an entire lifespan?’
Professor Van Weelden has also published on the question of when, if ever, it is appropriate to defer to the testimony of moral experts. At Ahmedabad, he is interested in pursuing this research program further.
On Two Interpretations of the Desire-Satisfaction Theory of Prudential Value"" Utilitas 31.2 (June 2019), 137-156. (with Andrew Reisner) ""Moral Reasons for Moral Beliefs: A Puzzle for Moral Testimony Pessimism"". Logos and Episteme 6.4 (2015), 429-48.