Program Head, Associate Professor of Philosophy
Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: BA, Amherst College; BPhil, University of Oxford; PhD, University of Michigan
Research Areas: foundations of ethics, normative ethics, the philosophy of action, political philosophy, early modern European philosophy, history of ethics
Matthew Silverstein is interested in the foundations of ethics—that is, in the question of what, if anything, we can say on behalf of our most basic ethical commitments. His current work is located at the intersection of metaethics and the philosophy of action. Silverstein hopes that we can use accounts of practical reasoning drawn from the philosophy of action to ground an account of normative reasons for action. Central to the project is a reductive theory of reasons for action, according to which reasons for action are considerations that figure into sound practical reasoning.
Silverstein's other philosophical interests include normative ethics, the philosophy of action, political philosophy, early modern European philosophy, and the history of ethics.
Before joining NYUAD, Silverstein was a postdoctoral fellow and visiting professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts. As a doctoral student at the University of Michigan, he won a prize for excellence in teaching and was the recipient of numerous fellowships. Silverstein also served for four years as a panelist for AskPhilosophers, a website that puts the knowledge and talents of professional philosophers at the service of the general public.