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 specialising in ethics. Although his interests range widely across the discipline, his philosophical concerns all converge on one central question: ‘what is good and why?’
To date, the main focus of Professor Van Weelden's research has been well-being (or as philosophers sometimes call it ‘prudential value’, or ‘goodness-for’). In his doctoral thesis, and several in-progress articles, he has explored the potential of a novel kind of hybrid theory of well-being. Concurrently with this broader project, he has been working on some specific puzzles in the philosophy of well-being, including the axiological commitments of desire-satisfaction accounts, the nature and appeal of subjectivism, and 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, is it appropriate to defer to the testimony of moral experts. At Ahmedabad, he is interested in pursuing this research programme further, by examining the potential role of moral deference in our thinking about climate change (and related issues in population ethics).
Professor Van Weelden received his PhD from McGill University in 2018. He has previously taught in the departments of Philosophy and Political Science at McGill, and most recently was as a course lecturer at Camosun College in Victoria, Canada. He has taught introductory courses on normative ethics, business ethics and the history of philosophy, as well as upper level courses on the philosophy of mind and the political theory of distributive justice.