linda zagzebski

Linda Zagzebski George Lynn Cross Research Professor
Kingfisher College Chair of the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics
B.A., Stanford; M.A., UC Berkeley; Ph.D., UCLA
Research areas: Epistemology, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics, Free will and fatalism

(405) 325-6324
office hours

I work on a variety of issues in the philosophy of religion, epistemology, virtue ethics, and the problems of fatalism. Two books and a number of papers focus on the intersection of epistemology and ethical theory. In Virtues of the Mind (Cambridge University Press, 1996), I developed a virtue theory of ethics that included intellectual virtues within the theory, and applied it to fundamental problems in epistemology. In Epistemic Authority: A Theory of Trust, Authority, and Autonomy in Belief (Oxford University Press, 2012), I apply the concepts of authority and autonomy to the domain of belief. I defend epistemic authority on the model of political authority, and show its application to the moral and religious domains. I end with a general account of autonomy. This book arose out of my 2010 Wilde Lectures at Oxford, my 2011 Kaminski Lectures at the Catholic University of Lublin, and my 2011 Olaus Petri Lectures at the University of Uppsala. It was supported by a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation (2011-12).

My current project is a book on Exemplarist Virtue Theory, a form of virtue ethics based on direct reference to moral exemplars. This book will will incorporate empirical literature on the emotion of admiration, on emulation, and work on the neuroscience of exemplars. It is supported by grants from the Templeton Foundation and from the Character Project at Wake Forest University.

In Feb. 2013 I gave the Aquinas Lecture at Marquette University, called Omnisubjectivity: A Defense of a Divine Attribute (Marquette Univ. Press, 2013). My first paper on this topic is “Omnisubjectivity,” published in Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, 2008. (draft pdf) I describe this attribute as the complete and accurate grasp of every conscious state of every conscious being from that being’s first person perspective.

My view of epistemology and its problems as a whole appears in On Epistemology (Wadsworth/Broadview Press, 2008), published in Farsi translation 2014.

My overview of the central problems of philosophy of religion appears in Philosophy of Religion: An Historical Introduction (Blackwell, 2007), published in Polish translation in 2012 and in Italian translation in 2013. A companion anthology of historical readings was co-edited with Timothy Miller, and published as Readings in Philosophy of Religion: Ancient to Contemporary (Blackwell, 2009).

I have recently returned to the topic of my first book, The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge (Oxford University Press, 1991) for a possible next book project comparing the forms of fatalist arguments: logical, theological, and causal.

Recent courses:

Seminar Fall 2014: Exemplarist virtue theory

6473 Graduate seminar on the varieties of fatalism
6523  Graduate seminar on epistemic authority and autonomy
4293/523   Survey of ethical theory
4473/5473  Survey of contemporary philosophy of religion
4523/5523  Survey of contemporary epistemology
3433  Modern philosophy of religion

Named lectureships:

Bellingham Lectures in Philosophy and Religion, Western Washington University, March 2014.
Harold Stoner Clark Lectures, California Lutheran University, Feb. 2014.
The Aquinas Lecture, Marquette University, Feb. 2013.
Kaminski Lectures, Catholic University of Lublin, 2011
Olaus Petri Lectures, University of Uppsala, 2011
Wilde Lectures in Natural Theology, Oxford University, spring 2010. Topic: Epistemic Authority. Abstract
Bitar Lectures, Geneva College, April 2-3, 2008
True Family Lecture, University of Oklahoma, 2007
McCarthy Lectureship in Philosophy, Gregorian University, Rome, Feb-April 2006
Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship of Philosophy, 2005-6
Killeen Lecture, St. Norbert College, Wisc, 2002
Rossner Lecture, Rockhurst College, 2000
Eslick Lecture, Saint Louis University, 1998
Jellema Lectures, Calvin College, 1996
McManis Lectures, Wheaton College, 1996
Sahlin Lecture, Bethel College, Minn, 1995


Templeton Foundation, 2013-14
Wake Forest Character Project, 2012-13
John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, 2011-2012
Lilly Fellows Program, 1998-9
Center for Philosophy of Religion, Univ of Notre Dame, Fall 1997
National Endowment for the Humanities, 1994-5

Other honors:

President, Society of Christian Philosophers, 2004-7
President, American Catholic Philosophical Assoc, 1996-7


Click here for full CV (.pdf)

My paper, "Self-Trust and the Diversity of Religions," Philosophic Exchange, 2006, is now open-access. Here is the link.

Some recent or forthcoming papers:

“Divine Foreknowledge and the Metaphysics of Time” (draft pdf)

“First Person and Third Person Reasons and the Regress Problem” (draft pdf)

“Powers and Reasons” (draft pdf)

“The Place of Motivation in Knowledge” (draft pdf)

“Trust” (draft pdf)