Welcome to the rudimentary (but usually not rude) online philosophical home of

Scott Anderson

I am a member of the philosophy department at the University of British Columbia. You may contact me by phone at 604-822-4769, or email by sending a message to my first name at the name of this domain.

Philosophical interests

I am interested in a wide range of topics associated generally with ethics, political philosophy, social theory, sex/gender/feminism.  I am particularly interested in the ways that social practices, historical development, and human development (though a roughly Aristotelian lens) contribute to ethics and politics.  Much of my work investigates certain key concepts in ethical thinking (such as coercion, guilt, privacy, consent, responsibility), and how thinking about such concepts relates to other concepts and the practices in which such concepts play a functional role.  Another principal strand in my work is the way theories involving these concepts interact with "the real world," and in particular how such theories affect and are affected by gender relations in contemporary western society.  My "side projects" include some research on the nature of action (and "moral psychology" more generally), economics and the place of debt and contracts in society, and a more systematic text in ethical theory (on the far back burner).

My approach to these matters is roughly "neo-Aristotelian," and takes a good deal of inspiration from the work of recent philosophers such as G.E.M. Anscombe, Bernard Williams, Michael Thompson, and my teachers at the University of Chicago, Candace Vogler and Martha Nussbaum.

Current research agenda, opportunities for graduate assistants

From 2012-2016, I will be conducting research with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada on "The Regulation of Coercion."  This project is interdisciplinary, and looks at how coercion operates in several domains, including law, gender-relations, and the stored information in networked databases.  This project will lead to a major collaborative workshop, currently scheduled for 2015.  This project will also provide opportunities for graduate student research assistance, with the expectation that such graduate assistants will develop their own expertise in this area, and be able to publish work in collaboration with this project.


A relatively up-to-date CV is available here.

Papers in Print, online, or forthcoming

“Objectification: A 21st Century Reassessment,” in Thom Brooks, ed., Current Controversies in Political Philosophy (Routledge), pp. 100-116. (In press, publication expected Summer 2015).

“Reply to Moen,” Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (2014): 82-83; published online first September, 2012, at doi:10.1136/medethics-2012-100649.

“Guilt,” entry in International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Ed.Hugh LaFollette, (Blackwell, 2013), pp. 847-850.

“Coercive Wage Offers,” entry in International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Ed.Hugh LaFollette, (Blackwell, 2013), pp. 2255-2262.

“On the Immorality of Threatening,” Ratio (new series), Vol. 24 (3) (September, 2011): 229-242.

“On Sexual Obligation and Sexual Autonomy,” Hypatia 28 (2013): 122-141; online publication March 8, 2012: DOI: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2012.01274.x

“The Enforcement Approach to Coercion,” Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 5(1) (2010): 1-31; available at www.jesp.org/articles/download.php?id=50

“Of Theories of Coercion, Two Axes, and the Importance of the Coercer,” The Journal of Moral Philosophy 5, no. 3 (Autumn, 2008): 394-422.

“Rationalizing Indirect Guilt,” Vermont Law Review 33, no. 3 (2009): 519-550.  (Special issue on law and the emotions guest edited by Susan Bandes (DePaul Law). 

“How Did There Come to be Two Kinds of Coercion?”  Chapter in Coercion and the State.  David Reidy and Walter Riker, eds. (New York: Kluwer/Springer, 2008), pp. 17-30.

“Privacy without the Right to Privacy,” The Monist 91, no. 1 (January, 2008): 81-107.

“Coercion.”  Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), 22,408 words (MS 38 pages, single spaced).  (Feb. 2006; substantive revision, Oct. 2011)

 “Sex under Pressure: Jerks, Boorish Behavior, and Gender Hierarchy,” Res Publica: A Journal of Legal and Social Philosophy 11, no. 4 (December, 2005): 349-369.

“Prostitution and Sexual Autonomy: Making Sense of the Prohibition of Prostitution,” Ethics 112, no. 4 (July, 2002): 748 - 780; reprinted in Spector, Jessica (ed.), Prostitution and Pornography: Philosophical Debate About the Sex Industry in the U.S. Stanford University Press. Palo Alto, CA. 2006.

Book Reviews

"Review of Alan Wertheimer, Consent to Sexual Relations." Ethics 115.1 (Oct. 2004). pp. 178 – 183.
"Review of Sabina Alkire, Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction." Ethics 113.3 (Apr. 2003). pp. 678 - 680.

Courses I teach:

Ethics, including ethical theory, and applied ethics
Social and political philosophy
Sex, Gender and Philosophy
Power and Oppression
I have also taught graduate seminars on coercion, action theory

Philosophical Resources

Philosophical Gourmet
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Journal ranks


I read a lot of blogs, some every day, others very occasionally.  I think the weblog is something of a revolutionary force in modern culture and intellectual life
Here are some I commend:


PEASoup (http://peasoup.typepad.com/)
Public Reason (publicreason.net)
New Apps (http://www.newappsblog.com)
Digressions and Impressions (Eric Schliesser’s personal blog; http://digressionsnimpressions.typepad.com/)
Feminist Philosophers (http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/)
What is it like to be a woman in philosophy? (http://beingawomaninphilosophy.wordpress.com/)
Crooked Timber (crookedtimber.org)
Bleeding Heart Libertarians (http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/)
Leiter Reports (http://leiterreports.typepad.com/)
DailyNous.com (a regularly updated site for news of the profession)
Balkinization (balkin.blogspot.com)

And among other philosophical blogs I appreciate, if not read frequently, there are:

Three Quarks Daily (www.3quarksdaily.com)
FauxPhilNews (fauxphilnews.wordpress.com/)


This list changes as the world changes, and as people come and go.  I do not necessarily endorse the content of all of these blogs, but I find them all interesting in many ways.

Most news-y:

(The new way of covering political news. Josh Micah Marshall started this right after the Clinton-Lewinski scandal, and has created something of a model for future investigative journalism by writer and reader in collaboration.)

To understand what's happening with democratic activism/politics:

(This is sort of the central meeting point for online left-wing activism, and the biggest of the "group blogs" on the left, by a wide margin. For about 4 or 5 years, this has been the future ahead of time.)

Political commentary, news:

(Duncan Black, aka "Atrios", is an econ PhD who now writes a good deal of media commentary, but also gives the sort of "what's worth thinking about today" kind of quick hits that tell me what news is likely to interest me. Also quite an ascerbic wit. The main problem with recommending this blog is that it has a lot of clique-y insider language that will likely be offputting until one can tell what the riffs and inside jokes are about. But very smart and useful, especially since an awful lot of people turn here every day for the same thing.)

(Incredibly smart writing here from "Digby"; her two regular guest bloggers "Tristero" and "DDay" are also quite interesting.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/ (constitutional lawyer and gadfly Glenn Greenwald, with others, initiated this site for independent journalism)

(Mostly written by Charlie Pierce, a very funny man, besides being good commentary.)


(exceptionally literate and thoughtful commentary on news by an adjunct law prof at Columbia, Scott Horton.)

(Has good political commentary, especially on sexual/gay politics.)


(Very sensible man, more centrist than some; originator of "Friday Cat Blogging.")

Other "news-y" sites I don't check quite so often:



Specialists' sites:

juancole.com (Middle-east historian, has easily the most insightful coverage of mid-east stuff in Iraq and Iran easily available on the net.)

www.thenation.com/blogs/altercation (Eric Alterman, media critic, mostly)

Economics blogs


(Former tech-insider, covers the current financial collapse very insightfully. His sadly deceased co-blogger, "Tanta", provided some of the most useful inside information on the mortgage industry meltdown, well before anyone saw that this was going to happen. Read her posts today; she's still way ahead of most people on this, and quite funny to boot. See the "in memoriam" page there for key links, especially to her posts called "The Compleat Ubernerd".)

 (Paul Krugman blogs here.)

 (Barry Ritholtz gives good econ commentary.)

Tech blogs

 (Tech news clearinghouse.)



Law blogs

(Group legal blog organized by Law Prof Jack Balkin.)