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Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D. - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D. Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Philosophy; Director, Parr Center for Ethics, College of Arts and Sciences | UNC-Chapel Hill


Professor Shafer Landau is a leading expert in metaethics



Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D. Publication Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D. Publication Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D. Publication Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D. Publication Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D. Publication Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D. Publication Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D. Publication Russ Shafer-Landau, Ph.D. Publication



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Russ Shafer-Landau, CCU 2013 Visiting Ethicist: Russ Shafer-Landau Russ Shafer-Landau presenting at the third annual Philosophy in 15 Minutes event Meet Russ Shafer-Landau, Director of UNC's Parr Center for Ethics




Russ Shafer-Landau is director of the Parr Center for Ethics at UNC-Chapel Hill. The center serves as the public face of the university’s commitment to research in, teaching about and conversation concerning ethics. Housed within the Department of Philosophy, it aims to provide the resources necessary to advance our understanding of moral questions.

Most of Shafer-Landau's work has been in metaethics, the area of philosophy that focuses on questions about the status (rather than the content) of morality. He is the organizer of the Annual Metaethics Workshop, held for 11 years in Madison and now hosted by the Parr Center in Chapel Hill. He also administers the annual Marc Sanders Prize in Metaethics for Younger Scholars.

Shafer-Landau is the author of "The Fundamentals of Ethics" and its companion volume, "The Ethical Life," written to introduce people to moral theory. Other works include "Moral Realism — A Defense" and "Whatever Happened to Good and Evil?" He is also the editor of the widely used "Reason & Responsibility," "Ethical Theory," and co-editor, with Terence Cuneo, of "The Foundations of Ethics."

Before coming to UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015, he was professor (and later department chair) of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from 2002 to 2015. He also taught at the University of Kansas and the University of California, Berkeley.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Philosophy Ethics Metaethics Moral Realism Morality

Accomplishments (4)

Kellett Mid-Career Research Award (professional)


Keynote Speaker (professional)


Rocky Mountain Philosophy Conference

Keynote Speaker (professional)


Great Plains Philosophy Conference

Cowling Distinguished Visiting Professor of Philosophy (professional)


Carleton College

Education (4)

University of Arizona: Ph.D., Philosophy 1992

University of Arizona: M.A., Philosophy 1989

Oxford University: M.Stud, Philosophy 1987

Brown University: A.B., Philosophy 1986

Affiliations (5)

  • Annual Chapel Hill Metaethics Workshop : Conference Founder & Organizer
  • Marc Sanders Annual Essay Prize in Metaethics : Director / Administrator
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy : Subject Editor (Metaethics)
  • Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy : Editorial Board
  • Philosophy Compass (Journal) : Editorial Board

Media Appearances (3)

Facilitating Conversations

UNC University Gazette  online


Russ Shafer-Landau arrived at Brown University 34 years ago seeking the answer to the meaning of life.

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UNC opens its doors to discussion on migration

Daily Tar Heel  print


International immigration hit close to home Thursday night as professor Kit Wellman lectured on global immigration and the refugee crisis in Europe.

Russ Shafer-Landau, director of the Parr Center for Ethics, said he recognizes the refugee crisis is an issue with no simple solution. “The reason the Parr Center had this talk was to bring someone who could incite nonpartisan discussion on this issue.”

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Kellett Mid-Career Awards honor 10 UW-Madison professors

University of Wisconsin-Madison News  online


Russ Shafer-Landau, professor and chair in the department of philosophy, who focuses on the study of morality and its status, rather than what constitutes it. He founded the annual Wisconsin Metaethics Workshop and has authored several books. He also edits the book, Oxford Studies in Metaethics, and runs the Marc Sanders Prize in Metaethics...

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Event Appearances (5)

Atheism and Morality

Ethical Humanists Society of the Triangle  Chapel Hill, NC


Why Moral Relativism Appeals—And Why We Should Resist

A Night of Philosophy  French Embassy, NYC.


The Morality of the Death Penalty

University of Toronto Undergraduate Philosophy Conference  University of Toronto


Moral Realism and Evolutionary Debunking Arguments

Evolutions and Ethics conference  Florida State University


Moral Intuitions and Disagreement

Invited Presentation  University of Virginia


Articles (6)

Moral Realism and Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Cambridge Companion to Evolutionary Ethics


The Moral Fixed Points Philosophical Studies

2014. Co-authored with Terence Cuneo

Evolutionary Debunking, Moral Realism, and Moral Knowledge Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy


The Meaning of Moral Disagreements The Philosophers’ Magazine


Three Worries for Hypotheticalism Philosophical Studies


The fundamentals of ethics PhilPapers


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