Department of Philosophy

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Uri Leibowitz

Assistant Professor and Director of Teaching, Faculty of Arts



I did my undergraduate work at Tel-Aviv University in Israel where I majored in physics and philosophy. I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Before joining Nottingham's Department of Philosophy I had taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Cornell College. Among the courses I taught: Ethics, Applied Ethics, Philosophy of Science, Epistemology, Symbolic Logic, Critical Thinking, and Introduction to Philosophy through Science Fiction Short Stories.

Teaching Summary

I will likely be on university leave: semester 2, 2016/17

In previous years I have taught these modules:

  • V72ETH Normative Ethics
  • V73PSC Philosophy of Science: From Positivism to Postmodernism
  • V74ET2 Ethics: Ethics and Explanation
  • V74TOV Theory of Value


Module Descriptions:

V72ETH Normative Ethics

We all have opinions about moral matters. But for most of us, our moral opinions are not very well-organized. Indeed, upon reflection we may discover that some of our beliefs about morality are inconsistent. One of the main projects of moral theorising over the past few hundred years has been the attempt to systematically delineate right and wrong actions. The thought was that if we manage to systematize our moral worldview we will be in a better position to understand the moral landscape, to make correct moral judgments, to justify the moral beliefs we hold, and to (correctly) revise our moral beliefs when revision is needed. In this module we will focus on the three main (types of) theories proposed as systematic delineations of right and wrong actions. The first, consequentialism, holds that the rightness or wrongness of actions is determined by the values of their consequences. The second, deontology, holds that there are certain kinds of actions that we ought/ought not to perform regardless of their outcomes. The third, virtue ethics, emphasises the relationship between right action and good character. Towards the end of the semester we will discuss Rossian-pluralism and a recent exciting and controversial approach to normative ethics-particularism. We will also look at some questions relating to methodology in ethics.

V73PSC Philosophy of Science: From Positivism to Postmodernism

What is science? Is there a scientific method, and if so, what is it? Is science the only way by which we can know what the world is really like? Does science progress? What is a "paradigm" and when/how does it "shift"? Is science "socially constructed"? Can a sociological examination of scientists at work tell us anything about the nature of science? What does science have to do with postmodernism? Should we "save society from science"? What are the science wars and who won? These are some of the questions we will explore in this module. We will proceed more or less chronologically starting with the positivism-empiricism of the early 20th century and culminating with the postmodernism-relativism of the late-20th century and its aftermaths. Readings will include influential works by Ayer, Hempel, Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyeraband, Bloor, and Laudan. While we may consider various examples from the history of science, no background knowledge of science or logic (beyond elementary first-year logic) is presupposed. All reading assignments for this module are accessible to students with no training in science. More technical/formal reading materials will be made available to those who are interested, but such readings will not be compulsory for this module.

V74ET2 Ethics: Ethics and Explanation (with Dr. Neil Sinclair)

This module considers the connections between meta-ethics, normative ethics and the nature of explanation, and asks whether progress can be made in ethics through a better understanding of the nature of explanation. In so doing it will touch on issues concerning the nature of moral facts, moral language, moral psychology and moral reasons.

Research Summary

My main research interests are in metaethics and normative ethics (particularism/generalism, moral epistemology, virtue ethics), but I am also interested in the philosophy of science (explanation,… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

My main research interests are in metaethics and normative ethics (particularism/generalism, moral epistemology, virtue ethics), but I am also interested in the philosophy of science (explanation, scientific rationality), epistemology (virtue epistemology, internalism/externalism), and ancient philosophy (Aristotle's Ethics, early Socratic Dialogues).

I am currently working on a three-year AHRC funded project entitled 'From Explanation to Ethics and Back Again' (with my colleague Dr. Neil Sinclair; details here: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/philosophy/research/projects/ethics-and-explanation.aspx).

Department of Philosophy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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