Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. He is core faculty in the Duke Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and has a secondary appointment in the Duke Law School. He serves as Resource Faculty in the Philosophy Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Partner Investigator at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, and Research Scientist with The Mind Research Network in New Mexico. He has received fellowships from the Harvard Program in Ethics and the Professions, the Princeton Center for Human Values, the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, the Australian National University, and the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has served as vice-chair of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association and co-director of the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Project. He earned his B.A. from Amherst College and his Ph.D. from Yale University. He has published widely on ethics (theoretical and applied as well as meta-ethics), empirical moral psychology and neuroscience, philosophy of law, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and informal logic. Most recently, he is the author of Morality Without God? and Moral Skepticisms as well as co-author of Understanding Arguments, Ninth Edition, and editor of Moral Psychology, volumes I-V and Finding Consciousness. His articles have appeared in a variety of philosophical, scientific, and popular journals and collections.  His current work is on political polarization, Scrupulosity, moral psychology and brain science as well as uses of neuroscience in legal systems. He is also working on a book that will develop a contrastivist view of freedom,responsibility, and mental causation.


Upcoming Events

April 6-7, 2017

Interdisciplinary Conference on Disgust at Duke University organized with Eleanor Hanna and others

May 22 - June 3

Summer Seminars on Neuroscience and Philosophy at Duke University organized with Felipe De Brigard   Find out more


Recent Books


Recent Articles

“The Disunity of Morality” in Moral Brains: The Neuroscience of Morality, ed. S. Matthew Liao, pp. 331-354. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Download article

“Blame, not ability, impacts moral ‘ought’ judgments for impossible actions: Toward an empirical refutation of ‘ought’ implies ‘can’”, by Vladimir Chituc, Paul Henne, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, and Felipe De Brigard. Cognition150 (2016), 20-25.

Download article

“Implicit moral evaluations: A multinomial modelling approach” by C. Daryl Cameron, B. Keith Payne, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Julian A. Scheffer, and Michael Inzlicht. Cognition 158 (2017), 224-241.

Download article

“Moral Decision Making Frameworks for Artificial Intelligence” by Vincent Conitzer, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Jana Schaich Borg, Yuan Deng, and Max Kramer. In Proceedings of the Thirty-First AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-17) Senior Member/Blue Sky Track, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2017.

Download article


Arguments for Atheism, for Closer to Truth, with Robert Kuhn

Disgust and Morality, for Philosophy TV, with Victor Kumar

Brains on Trial, for PBS, with Alan Alda and others

Thinks Again, for Coursera, with Ram Neta