Tamar Schapiro is an associate professor of philosophy at Stanford University, where she studies theories of morality, practical reasoning, and agency. She has written a series of articles focusing on the question of how to conceive of moral rules such that they have the rigidity of principles while allowing for appropriate exceptions. Her work on this topic has appeared in Ethics, the Journal of Philosophy, and Noûs.
At the Radcliffe Institute, Schapiro will work on a new project in moral psychology. Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and Immanuel Kant all conceived of human beings as having both rational and nonrational motivational capacities. Given this picture, how exactly are we to conceive of the nonrational motivational capacity? In what sense is it nonrational, and how does it engage with reason? Is it best conceived as a something or a someone? Is it identifiable with us or is it external to us? And how does it contribute to action that counts as our own? Schapiro hopes to revive this area of inquiry, which was central to the thought of the ancients but has received only sporadic attention in contemporary moral philosophy and philosophy of action.
Schapiro received her BA from Yale University and her PhD from Harvard University. Before joining the department at Stanford, she was a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows. She has also received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Harvard Center for Ethics and the Professions, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, and the Stanford Humanities Center.