Robert B. Westmoreland
I received my B.A. (Religion) from Davidson College and my M.A., Ph.D.
(Philosophy) from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. I have
been teaching at the University of Mississippi
from 1989 to the present.
I've taught a variety of courses in moral, political, and legal philosophy. My dissertation,
"Interpreting Law," focused on the question whether we can credibly say that there are right
answers in controversial legal cases. In addition to the conventional problems of contemporary
political and legal theory--Rawls, Dworkin, etc.--I'm very interested in the work of F.A. Hayek, a
Nobel laureate in economics, who considered his legal and political philosophy to be his most
important work. A few years after I developed an interest in Hayek, he became a very important
figure in post-communist Europe, and is currently enjoying serious consideration even in America.
I'll leave the question of a causal link between my interest and these events to my biographers.
I have lately been giving some thought to problems concerning moral objectivity which are similar to problems about legal objectivity. In fall 1994 I devoted a graduate seminar to this issue. I have also taught a seminar on Kant's Critique of Pure
Reason, which was a phenomenal, if not a noumenal, success.
I am currently working on a paper called "Patrick Devlin, Postmodernist." The idea is that
Devlin (a conservative legal moralist) eschews moral theory and, in doing so, is aligned with the postmodern spirit, a conclusion liable to cause many postmodernists consternation. In 1995 my publications are "Liberalism and the AIDS Crisis," in
and Regulatory Affairs, and "Two Recent Metaphysical Divine Command Theories of Ethics," which is coming out in International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (sometime before the end of the year). In the not-too-distant future I hope to
write a book about the problem of moral objectivity. I'm also very interested in philosophy of religion.
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