Shelly Kagan

Clark Professor of Philosophy
C 204
(203) 432-1663

Areas of Interests

Ethics, social and political philosophy.

My main research interests lie in moral philosophy, in particular normative ethics. Much of my work centers on the debate between consequentialist and deontological moral theories, with publications on the nature of well-being, moral desert, utopia, and the connections between Kantianism and consequentialism.


PhD 1982, Princeton

Current or Recent Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Death
  • Normative Ethics
  • Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics
  • Animal Ethics

Selected Publications


  • The Limits of Morality (Oxford, 1989)
  • Normative Ethics (Westview, 1998)
  • Death (Yale, 2012)
  • The Geometry of Desert (Oxford, 2012)


  • "Kantianism for Consequentialists," in Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Immamuel Kant, edited by Allen Wood (Yale: 2002)
  • "Comparative Desert," in Desert and Justice, edited by Serena Olsaretti (Oxford: 2003)
  • "Indeterminate Desert," in The Good, The Right, Life and Death, edited by Kris McDaniel et al (Ashgate: 2006): 45-69
  • "The Grasshopper, Aristotle, Bob Adams, and Me," in Metaphysics and the Good, edited by Samuel Newlands and Larry Jorgensen (Oxford: 2009)
  • "Well-Being as Enjoying the Good," Philosophical Perspectives 23 (2009): 253-272
  • "Do I Make a Difference?" Philosophy & Public Affairs 39, #2 (Spring, 2011): 105-141

Work in Progress


  • Thinking through Sidgwick


  • "The Paradox of Methods"
  • "Ill-Being"