Replacement Professor, Department of Philosophy
2006 - PhD, University of Cambridge
2000 - MPhil, University of Cambridge
1998 - M.A., University of Victoria
1996 - B.A., McGill University

DMS 8122

Work: 613-562-5800 ext. 3677
Work E-mail: 613 562-5800 ext. 3677

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Nigel DeSouza


Replacement Professor, Department of Philosophy

University degrees

2006 - PhD, University of Cambridge
2000 - MPhil, University of Cambridge
1998 - M.A., University of Victoria
1996 - B.A., McGill University

Ongoing research

A broad theme unites the two research projects I am currently engaged in: the connection between human beings’ mature conceptual capacities such as reflection and abstraction, and the conditions of possibility and genesis of those capacities.

The first project, based on my doctoral and post-doctoral research, is a monograph on the philosophy of the young Herder. The objective is to provide a unified account of the metaphysical and epistemological underpinnings of Herder’s conception of human nature and an analysis of its ramifications for his moral philosophy, philosophy of language, and philosophy of history. The foundations of Herder’s conception lie in his belief in soul-body interaction and his epistemological commitment to the continuity of the sensible and the intelligible.

The second project is a study of the conditions of ethical agency which draws on moral philosophy, moral psychology, childhood development, and cognitive science. The objective is to explore how human beings become ethical agents and capable of critical moral reflection. The first fruit of this project is a paper entitled “Pre-reflective ethical know-how” which utilizes the work of John McDowell, Michael Thompson, Alva Noë, and Evan Thompson.

Courses taught

  • PHI 1102 Moral Reasoning
  • PHI 1103 Fundamental Philosophical Questions
  • PHI 3377 Contemporary Continental Philosophy
  • PHI 3382 Kant and Critical Philosophy
  • PHI 2174 Ethics
  • PHI 3105 Phenomenology
  • PHI 2394 Scientific Thought and Social Values
  • PHI 3108 Modern Philosophy
  • PHI 2782 Philosophie médiévale
  • PHI 2783 Philosophie moderne
  • PHI 4307 Texts: French Philosophy

Selected Publications

The metaphysics and epistemology of the young Herder”, in Herder Handbuch, eds. Heinrich Clairmont, Stefan Greif, and Marion Heinz, (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag), forthcoming 2015.

Charles Taylor and ethical naturalism”, in Charles Taylor at 80, eds. Jacob T. Levy and Daniel Weinstock, (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press), forthcoming.

Ethical naturalism and human rights”, in Human Rights: India and the West, ed. Ashwani Peetush and Jay Drydyk, (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2015, pp. 49-70.

The soul-body relationship and the foundations of morality: Herder contra Mendelssohn”, Herder Yearbook, vol. 21, 145-161, September 2014.

"Pre-reflective ethical know-how"Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, April 2013: vol. 16, no. 2, 279-294.

 “Leibniz in the eighteenth-century: Herder’s critical reflections on thePrinciples of nature and grace” pp. 773-795 , British Journal for the History of Philosophy, vol. 20, no. 4, July 2012.

“Language, reason, and sociability: Herder’s critique of Rousseau”,Intellectual History Review, vol. 22, no. 4 , June 2012, pp. 221-240.

“Models of Moral Philosophy: Charles Taylor’s critique of Jürgen Habermas”, Eidos, vol. XV, no. 1, pp. 55-78.

(review essayPhilosophische Geschlechtertheorien [Philosophical Gender Theories], Hypatia, Spring 2005, volume 20, number 2, pp. 188-193.

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