neera k. badhwar

Neera Badhwar Professor Emeritus
Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy, George Mason University
Senior Fellow, Philosophy, Politics, & Economics Program, Department of Economics, George Mason University
Ph.D., Toronto

Research areas: Ethics, Moral Psychology, Political Philosophy, International Ethics


I am currently working on papers on the ethics of legalizing (or not legalizing) kidney sales, and on the implications (if any) of empirical studies of happiness for public policy. In my forthcoming book, Well-Being: Happiness in an Objectively Worthwhile Life (OUP), I argue that when well-being is understood as the individual’s highest prudential good, it entails not only emotional fulfillment but also objective worth, and that objective worth entails virtue. Hence well-being entails virtue. I show that this view is not as demanding as generally thought; this should serve to dispel much of the skepticism about it. Other research interests include International Ethics (on which I have directed two interdisciplinary conferences and published one paper), and the role of markets in promoting civic friendship and civility.

Recent courses:

Introduction to Philosophy (Honors) (1013)
History of Ethics (3253/3853)
Philosophy and Literature (3033)
Philosophy and Film (3043)
Ethical Theory (4293/5293)
Happiness (6203)
Understanding Evil (6203)
Ethical Naturalism (6203)
Responses to Wrongdoing in Legal and Personal Ethics (6793)
Ethical Dimensions of the Self (6203)
Topics in Virtue Ethics (6203)

Selected awards:

Laurance S. Rockefeller Fellowship, University Center for Human Values,
Princeton University, 1996-97.
NEH Distinguished Visiting Professor, SUNY Potsdam, Fall 1999.
Visiting Scholar, Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Spring 2008.
Earhart Foundation Fellowship, 2010.

Selected articles:

Click here for full CV (.doc)

“Moral Character,” International Encyclopedia of Ethics, (John Wiley & Sons, 2012), 1-19 in page-proofs. (.pdf)

“The Milgram Experiments, Learned Helplessness, and Character Traits,” Journal of Ethics (special issue on Situationism), June 2009, 1-33 (online at www.springerlink.com); 257-289 (printed).

“Is Realism Really Bad for You? A Realistic Response,” The Journal of Philosophy, V. CV, No. 2, February 2008, 85-107. (.pdf)

“Friendship and Commercial Societies,” Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, August 2008, V. 7, No. 3, 301-326. (.doc)

"Carnal Wisdom and Sexual Virtue,” in Raja Halwani ed., Sex and Ethics: Essays on Sexuality, Virtue, and the Good Life (Palgrave MacMillan, 2007), 134-46. (.doc)

“Experiments in Living,” The Philosophers’ Magazine (the Mill bicentenary issue), Issue 35, 3rd quarter (2006), 58-61. (.doc)

“International Aid: When Giving Becomes a Vice,” Social Philosophy and Policy, issue on Justice and Global Politics, Vol. 23, Winter 2006, and in E. Paul, J. Paul, and F. Miller, eds. Justice and Global Politics (Cambridge University Press), 69-101. (.doc)

“Friendship and Sexuality,” in Alan Soble, ed. Sex from Plato to Paglia: A Philosophical Encyclopedia; 2005, 390-97. (.doc)

"Love," in Hugh LaFollete, ed. Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics (OUP, 2003), pp. 42-69. (.pdf)

"Friendship," Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (Routledge, 1998), 5,046 words (online). (.doc)

"Moral Agency, Commitment, and Impartiality," Social Philosophy and Policy, Vol. 13, 1996, 1-26, and in Community, Individual, and the State, ed. E. Paul (Cambridge University Press). (.doc)

“The Nature and Significance of Friendship,” in N. Badhwar, ed. Friendship: A Philosophical Reader (Cornell Univ. Press, 1993), pp. 1-36. (.doc)

"Altruism vs Self-Interest: Sometimes a False Dichotomy," Social Philosophy and Policy, V. 10, Jan. 1993, pp. 90-117 and in Altruism, ed. E. F. Paul (Cambridge University Press, 1993). (.doc)

"The Circumstances of Justice: Liberalism, Community, and Friendship" (pp. 208-34), Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. I, June 1993. (.doc)

"The Virtues of Benevolence: The Unnamed Virtues in the Fountainhead," presented at The Ayn Rand Society, APA Eastern Division Meetings, 1993. (.doc)

"Why It's Wrong to be Always Guided by the Best: Friendship and Consequentialism," Ethics, April 1991, pp. 483-504. (.doc)