Owen Flanagan

Owen Flanagan

James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy

Contact Information
201D West Duke Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Duke Box 90743, Durham, NC 27708-0743
(919) 660-3056


Owen Flanagan was born and raised in Westchester County New York.  He received his Ph.D. in 1978 from Boston University.  He taught for sixteen years (1978-1993) at Wellesley College as Class of 1919 Professor of Philosophy.  In 1993 he came to Duke where he is James B. Duke University Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Philosophy.  He also holds appointments in Psychology and Neuroscience, and is a Faculty Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience and a steering committee member of the "Philosophy, Arts, and Literature" (PAL) program, and an Affiliate of the Graduate Program in Literature.

His work is in Philosophy of Mind and Psychiatry, Ethics, Moral Psychology, Cross-Cultural Philosophy

His latest book is *The Geography of Morals: Varieties of Moral Possibility* (pub. October 2016; Oxford 2017) 

In 2016-2017 Flanagan is Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University CA

In 2015-2016 Flanagan was Rockefeller Fellow at the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park NC

In February 2014 he gave the 77th Aquinas Lecture at Marquette University.

In the Fall of 2013, he was distinguished research professor at City University Hong Kong and lectured widely in East Asia on 21st c. Moral Psychology & East Asian Philosophy

In 2012 he was the  Indian Council for Philosophical Research (ICPR) Annual Distinguished Lecturer on *Comparative Philosophy, Virtue, and Well-Being*

In 2006 he gave the Templeton research Lectures at USC in Los Angeles on *Human Flourishing in the Age of Mind Science.*

In 1998, he was recipient of the Romanell National Phi Beta Kappa award, given annually to one American philosopher for distinguished contributions to philosophy and the public understanding of philosophy.

In 1993-94 Flanagan was President of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology.

He has lectured on every continent except Antarctica, where however he has been. Besides enjoying writing articles, reviews, and contributing to colloquia, Flanagan has written the following books and edited several:

  • The Science of the Mind (MIT press, 1984; 2nd edition, 1991)
  • Identity, Character, and Morality: Essays in Moral Psychology, edited with Amelie O. Rorty (MIT Press, 1990)
  • Varieties of Moral Personality: Ethics and Psychological Realism (Harvard University Press, 1991),
  • Consciousness Reconsidered (MIT Press, 1992)
  • Self Expressions: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life (Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • The Nature of Consciousness edited with Ned Block and Güven Güzeldere (MIT Press, 1998)
  • Dreaming Souls: Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind (Oxford University, 1999)
  • The Problem of the Soul: Two Visions of Mind and How to Reconcile Them*
  • The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World* (MIT Press 200
  • The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized* (October, 2011), MIT PRESS. 

Education & Training

Flanagan, O. “D. C. Dennett.” In The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, edited by Ted Honderich. Oxford University Press, 1995.

Flanagan, O. “Behaviorism.” In The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, edited by Ted Honderich. Oxford University Press, 1995.

Flanagan, O. “Situations and Dispositions.” In Readings in Philosophy and Cognitive Science, edited by Alvin I. Goldman, 681–95. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993.

Flanagan, O. “Other Minds, Obligation, and Honesty.” In Social and Cognitive Factors in Preschoolers’ Deception, edited by S. Ceci, M. DeSimone, and M. E. Putnick. Lawrence Erlbaum, 1992.

Flanagan, O. “Identity and Strong and Weak Evaluation.” In Identity, Character, and Morality, edited by Owen Flanagan and Amélie O. Rorty, 37–65, 1990.



Flanagan, Owen. “The Malaise of Modernity.Charles Taylor.” Ethics 104, no. 1 (October 1993): 192–94. https://doi.org/10.1086/293596. Full Text

Flanagan, Owen. “Identity, Gender, and Strong Evaluation.” Noûs 25, no. 2 (April 1991): 198–198. https://doi.org/10.2307/2215579. Full Text

Flanagan, O. “The modularity of consciousness.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14, no. 3 (January 1, 1991): 446–47. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00070692. Full Text

Flanagan, Owen. “Virtue and Ignorance.” The Journal of Philosophy 87, no. 8 (August 1990): 420–420. https://doi.org/10.2307/2026736. Full Text

Flanagan, Owen, and Kathryn Jackson. “Justice, Care, and Gender: The Kohlberg-Gilligan Debate Revisited.” Ethics 97, no. 3 (April 1987): 622–37. https://doi.org/10.1086/292870. Full Text

Flanagan, Owen. “Materialism and immaterialism: A reply to Robinson.” Contemporary Psychology: A Journal of Reviews 31, no. 9 (September 1986): 722–722. https://doi.org/10.1037/025101. Full Text

Flanagan, O. J. “Psychoanalysis as a social activity.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 9, no. 2 (January 1, 1986): 238–39. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00022391. Full Text

Flanagan, O. “Psychoanalysis and Social Practice: A Comment on Grünbaum.” The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, no. Fall (1986).