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Douglas Portmore

Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Director of Graduate Studies & Associate Professor, Philosophy
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Biography

Douglas W. Portmore is professor of Philosophy. He is also an associate editor for Ethics: An International Journal of Social, Political and Legal Philosophy and Discussion Notes editor for the Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy.

His research focuses mainly on morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two, but he has also written on well-being, posthumous harm, and the non-identity problem. Currently, he is working on a book tentatively entitled "Oughts and Options: Opting for the Best." The book concerns what is, perhaps, the least controversial normative principle concerning action: you ought to perform your best option—that is, the option that is most highly favored by your reasons. The book sets aside substantive questions such as whether we have reason to promote our own good, promote the general good, abide by Kant’s categorical imperative, all of these, or none of these. Instead, it focuses on other issues, such as: What are our options? Which options do we assess directly in terms of how good they are and which do we assess in terms of their relations to other options? What do we hold fixed when assessing how good an option is? Do we, for instance, hold fixed the agent's present desires, beliefs, and intentions?

Before coming to ASU in 2005, he taught at the College of Charleston from 1998-2000 and at California State University, Northridge from 2000-2005. During the 2008-09 academic year, he was a faculty fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Affairs, Murphy InstituteTulane University. During the summer of 2015, he was a visiting fellow within the School of Philosophy, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. And, during the 2016-17 academic year, he was a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University.

Education
  • Ph.D. Philosophy, University of California-Santa Barbara 1998
  • M.A. Philosophy, University of California-Santa Barbara 1993
  • B.A. Philosophy and Political Science, University of California-San Diego 1991
Research Interests

His research focuses mainly on morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two, but he also writes on wellbeing, posthumous harm, and the nonidentity problem. He recently finished a book entitled: Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality. The book defends a version of consequentialism that both comports with our commonsense moral convictions and shares with other consequentialist theories the same compelling teleological conception of practical reasons. Currenly, he is working on a couple of papers the principle holds that we ought to perform our best option -- the option that we have most reason, all things considered, to perform.

Publications
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Précis: Commonsense Consequentialism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2014).
  • Douglas W. Portmoree. Replies to Gert, Hurley, and Tenenbaum. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2014).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Agent Neutral and Agent Relative. James E. Crimmins (ed.), The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism (2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Agent-Centered Options. International Encyclopedia of Ethics (2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Agent-Centered Restrictions. International Encyclopedia of Ethics (2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Agent-Relative versus Agent-Neutral. International Encyclopedia of Ethics (2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Supererogation. James E. Crimmins (ed.), The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism (2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Perform Your Best Option. Journal of Philosophy (2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Imperfect Reasons and Rational Options. Noûs (2012).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Consequentialism and Moral Rationalism,. Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics (2011).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. The Teleological Conception of Practical Reasons. Mind (2011).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality. (2011).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Consequentialism. The Continuum Companion to Ethics (2011).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Review of Ben Bradley’s Well-Being and Death. Utilitas (2010).
  • . . Review of: Well-Being and Death (2010).
  • Douglas Portmore. Are Moral Reasons Morally Overriding?. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (2008).
  • Douglas Portmore. Dual-Ranking Act-Consequentialism. Philosophical Studies (2008).
  • Douglas Portmore. Consequentializing Moral Theories. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (2007).
  • Douglas Portmore. Desire Fulfillment and Posthumous Harm. American Philosophical Quarterly (2007).
  • Douglas Portmore. Welfare, Achievement, and Self-Sacrifice. Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy (2007).
  • Douglas Portmore. Combining Teleological Ethics with Evaluator Relativism: A Promising Result. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (2005).
  • . . Review of: Facing Death: Epicurus and His Critics (2005).
  • Douglas Portmore. Position-Relative Consequentialism, Agent-Centered Options, and Supererogation. Ethics (2003).
  • Douglas Portmore. Can an Act-Consequentialist Theory Be Agent-Relative?. American Philosophical Quarterly (2001).
  • Douglas Portmore. McNaughton and Rawling on the Agent-Relative/Agent-Neutral Distinction. Utilitas (2001).
  • Douglas Portmore. Commonsense Morality and Not Being Required to Maximize the Overall Good. Philosophical Studies (2000).
  • Douglas Portmore. Does the Total Principle Have Any Repugnant Implications?. Ratio (New Series) (1999).
  • Douglas Portmore. Can Consequentialism Be Reconciled with Our Common-Sense Moral Intuitions?. Philosophical Studies (1998).
Research Activity
  • Portmore,Douglas W*. Commonsense Consequentialism: Reasons, Desires, and Actions. TULANE UNIV(9/1/2008 - 4/30/2009).
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
PHI 105Intro to Ethics
PHI 420Topics in Philosophy
PHI 540Topics in Value Theory
PHI 599Thesis
PHI 792Research
PHI 799Dissertation
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
PHI 599Thesis
PHI 792Research
PHI 799Dissertation
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
PHI 101Introduction to Philosophy
PHI 420Topics in Philosophy
PHI 570Topics in Metaphysics
PHI 599Thesis
PHI 792Research
PHI 799Dissertation
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
PHI 101Introduction to Philosophy
PHI 338Metaethics
PHI 599Thesis
PHI 790Reading and Conference
PHI 792Research
PHI 799Dissertation
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
PHI 792Research
PHI 799Dissertation
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
PHI 101Introduction to Philosophy
PHI 420Topics in Philosophy
PHI 591Seminar
PHI 599Thesis
Spring 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
PHI 101Introduction to Philosophy
PHI 420Topics in Philosophy
PHI 541Normative Ethics
Presentations
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Acts, Attitudes, and Rational Control. 2015 Syracuse University Graduate Conference (Mar 2015).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Acts, Attitudes, and Rational Control. Freedom Center, University of Arizona (Feb 2015).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Acts, Attitudes, and Rational Control. University of Maryland, College Park (Feb 2015).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Acts, Attitudes, and Rational Choice. Rocky Mountain Ethics (RoME) Congress (Aug 2014).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. TBA. 2014 Bled (Slovenia) Conference on "Ethical Issues: Theoretical and Applied" (Jun 2014).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Acts, Attitudes, and Rational Choice. symposium entitled "Rational Choice," organized by Chrisoula Andreou, and to be held at the Pacific (Apr 2014).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Acts, Attitudes, and Rational Choice. University of Colorado, Boulder (Feb 2014).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Consequentialism and Coordination: How Consequentialism Has an Attitude Problem. "Consequentialism: New directions, New Problems?" which was held at the University of Erlangen (Sep 2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Author-meets-critics session on Commonsense Consequentialism. Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (Mar 2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Parfit on Reasons and Rule Consequentialism. Fourth Annual New Orleans Invitational Seminar on Ethics (Mar 2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore, Joshua Gert, Paul Hurley, and Sergio Tenenbaum. Author-meets-critics session on Commonsense Consequentialism. Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (Mar 2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Parfit on Reasons and Rule Consequentialism. University of St. Andrews (Feb 2013).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. "Reconsidering Singer’s Drowning Child Example: Do we have good reason to comply with the duty of beneficence?". UCSD's Ethics in the Public Sphere symposium series (Nov 2012).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Perform Your Best Option. St. Louis Annual Conference on Reasons and Rationality (May 2012).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. "Consequentialism and Moral Rationalism". First Annual Arizona Workshop in Normative Ethics (Jan 2010).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. The Teleological Conception of Practical Reasons. International Society for Utilitarian Studies X Conference (Sep 2008).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Imperfect Reasons and Rational Options. Rocky Mountain Ethics (RoME) Congress (Aug 2008).
  • Douglas W. Portmore. Imperfect Reasons and Rational Options. Bellingham Summer Philosophy Conference (Aug 2008).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Comments on Erin Kelly's "Punishment and Collective Responsibility". Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (Apr 2007).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Are Moral Reasons Morally Overriding?. Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (Mar 2006).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Consequentializing Moral Theories. State University on March 3, 2006 (Mar 2006).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Reason-Consequentialism: A New Approach to Moral Theorizing. International Society for Utilitarian Studies 2005 Conference (Aug 2005).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Welfare and Posthumous Harm. Arizona State University (Mar 2005).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Welfare and Posthumous Harm. Bowling Green State University (Jan 2005).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Welfare and Posthumous Harm. North Carolina State University (Jan 2005).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Welfare and Posthumous Harm. California State University, Bakersfield (Jan 2004).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Combining Teleological Ethics with Evaluator Relativism: A Promising Result. International Society for Utilitarian Studies 2000 Conference (Mar 2000).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Does Consequentialism Leave Us with Enough Options?. Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy (Aug 1998).
  • Portmore, Douglas. Supplemental Uses for the Web in Teaching. Southern California Philosophy Conference (Oct 1997).
Service
  • Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Associate Editor and Discussion Notes Editor (2015 - Present)
  • Executive Committee of the School of Philosophical, Historical, and Religious Studies, Member (2014 - Present)
  • Graduate Committee, Member (2014 - Present)
  • Learning Committee, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ First Year Forward Initiative, Member (2014 - Present)
  • School of Philosophical, Historical, and Religious Studies, Head of Philosophy Faculty (2014 - Present)
  • University of Kansas, Reviewer for Promotion to Full Professor (2014 - Present)
  • Personnel Committee for the School of Philosophical, Historical, and Religious Studies, Member (2014 - Present)
  • Transdisciplinary Committee for the School of Philosophical, Historical, and Religious Studies, Member (2014 - Present)
  • Transdisciplinary Committee for the School of Philosophical, Historical, and Religious Studies, Member (2014 - Present)
  • Search Committee for two philosophy lecturers, Member (2013 - Present)
  • Curriculum Committee, Member (2012 - Present)
  • Curriculum Committee, Member (2012 - Present)
  • Graduate Committee, Member (2012 - Present)
  • Graduate Committee, Member (2012 - Present)
  • Performance Review Committee, Chair (2012 - Present)
  • University of Kansas, Reviewer for Tenure and Promotion Case (2011 - Present)
  • Curriculum Committee, Member (2010 - Present)
  • Philosophy Club, Faculty Advisor (2010 - Present)
  • Philosophy Club, Faculty Advisor (2010 - Present)
  • Sun Angel Excellence in the Humanities Research Scholarships Committee, Member (2010 - Present)
  • Faculty Head Advisory Committee, Member (2009 - Present)
  • Faculty Head Advisory Committee, Member (2009 - Present)
  • Faculty Head Advisory Committee, Member (2009 - Present)
  • Graduate Committee, Member (2009 - Present)
  • Graduate Committee, Member (2009 - Present)
  • Performance Review Committee, Member (2009 - Present)
  • Performance Review Committee, Member (2009 - Present)
  • Sun Angel Excellence in the Humanities Research Scholarships Committee, Member (2009 - Present)
  • PhilPapers, Area Editor (2009 - Present)
  • European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, Referee (2009 - Present)
  • International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Referee (2009 - Present)
  • Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy, Referee (2009 - Present)
  • Oxford University Press, Scholarly manuscript reviewer (2009 - Present)
  • International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Member of the Review Board (2008 - Present)
  • Oxford University Press, Book Manuscript Reviewer (2008 - Present)
  • International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Member of the Review Board (2008 - Present)
  • Member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Departmental Web Design, Member (2008 - Present)
  • Mind (twice), Noûs, Philosophical Studies, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Reviewer (2008 - Present)
  • Hearing Board, Member (2007 - Present)
  • Mind, Reviewer (2007 - Present)
  • Nous, Reviewer (2007 - Present)
  • Oxford University Press, Scholarly Book Proposal Reviewer (2007 - Present)
  • Scholarship Committee, Member (2006 - Present)
  • Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Reviewer (2006 - Present)
  • Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Reviewer (2006 - Present)
  • Ethics, Reviewer (2006 - Present)
  • Journal of Ethics, Reviewer (2006 - Present)
  • Journal of Philosophical Research, Reviewer (2006 - Present)
  • Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Reviewer (2006 - Present)
  • Philosophical Quarterly, Reviewer (2006 - Present)
  • Philosophy Journal Information Wiki, Founder (2006 - Present)
  • Philosophical Studies, Reviewer (2005 - Present)
  • PEA Soup, a group blog dedicated to philosophy, ethics, and academia, Co-founder, co-editor, and contributor (2004 - Present)
  • Inquiry, Reviewer (2004 - Present)
  • British Society for Ethical Theory, Reviewer (2003 - Present)
  • The Journal of Ethics, Reviewer (2003 - Present)
  • Utilitas, Reviewer (2003 - Present)
  • American Philosophical Quarterly, Reviewer (2002 - Present)
  • Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Reviewer (2000 - Present)
  • Society for Skeptical Studies, Reviewer (2000 - Present)
  • Various, Reviewer (2014 - 2015)
  • Various, Reviewer (2014 - 2014)
  • the Personnel Committee for the Philosophy Faculty, Acting Chair (2014 - 2014)
  • Various, Reviewer (2013 - 2013)
  • Various, Reviewer (2012 - 2012)
  • Various, Reviewer (2012 - 2012)
  • Hiring Committee, Member (2010 - 2010)
  • Various, Referee (2010 - 2010)
  • Department of Philosophy - Program Planning Committee, Member (2006 - 2007)
  • Ad Hoc Committee on the Allocation of Travel Funds, Member (2007)
  • Department of Philosophy, Recording Secretary (2006 - 2007)
  • Licoln Center for Applied Ethics Affiliates Council, Member (2005 - 2007)
  • Department of Philosophy - Graduate Committee, Member (2005 - 2006)
  • Graduate Committee, Member (2005 - 2006)
  • Curriculum committee, CSUN, Member (2004 - 2005)
  • Department's Academic Advisor, CSUN, Academic advisor (2004 - 2005)
  • Department's Assessment Committee, CSUN, Member (2004 - 2005)
  • Department's Assessment Liaison to the University, CSUN, Assessment Liaison (2004 - 2005)
  • CSUN: Department's Appointments Committee, Member (2002 - 2005)
  • Department's Curriculum Committee, CSUN, Member (2002 - 2005)
  • Department's Strategic Planning Committee, CSUN, Member (2002 - 2005)
  • Center for Ethics and Values, CSUN, Member (2000 - 2005)
  • Department's Critical Reasoning Committee, CSUN, Member (2003 - 2004)
  • Department's Webmaster, CSUN, Webmaster (2002 - 2004)
  • Department's Library and Technology Resources Coordinator, CSUN, Resources Coordinator (2001 - 2004)
  • Student Philosophy Club, CSUN, Faculty Sponsor (2000 - 2004)
  • Department's Colloquia Coordinator, CSUN, Coordinator (2001 - 2003)
  • Eastern APA Interview Team, CSUN, Member (2002 - 2002)
  • Routledge and Oxford University Press, Textbook Reviewer (2002 - 2002)
  • Committee charged with planning and organizing the 2002 Alyce Vrolyk Conference on Bioethics, Member (2001 - 2002)
Expertise Areas