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Eberly News Blog

6 Jun

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Matthew Talbert, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at West Virginia University, has been appointed chair for a five-year period, effective July 1.

“Matt is a highly successful scholar and teacher and has drawn strong support for his leadership position from the philosophy faculty. He has a great vision for the future of philosophy at WVU,” said Robert Jones, dean of the Eberly College of arts and Sciences. Talbert

Talbert has served as assistant chair of the department since 2011, and plans to continue the department’s focus on strengthening undergraduate education by emphasizing collaboration with other disciplines across the university.

“Many students who double major have reported to me that their philosophy courses have helped them produce better work in their other major,” he said.

In 2013, the Educational Testing Service released data on how various disciplines fared on the redesigned Graduate Records Examinations (GRE).

Philosophy majors averaged the highest scores on the verbal and analytical writing section tests, which account for two-thirds of the exam.

“I think of philosophy as thinking carefully, and as precisely as possible, about interesting questions or problems,” Talbert said.

“What makes philosophy unique, then, is that it is a very general method that can be applied to almost any subject. Some philosophers do research on particular historical figures, such as Plato or Aristotle, or on historical periods, such as Early Modern or 19th Century Philosophy, and others work on a wide range of philosophical problems and some do all of these things.”

Talbert specializes in ethics, moral psychology and philosophy of agency, and has had several papers published in academic journals and anthologies, including The Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, The Journal of Moral Philosophy, Ethics, and Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility.

In 2012, he and Jessica Wolfendale, associate professor of philosophy, were awarded a grant through the Character Project at Wake Forest University, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, to investigate the philosophical aspects of war crimes and write a book detailing their resulting theories. They hope to submit a book proposal to publishers by the end of the year. So far, they have presented their work at several conferences, and a paper summarizing their research will appear in print next year.
The project is titled, “Failures of Character: War Crimes, Obedience, and Responsibility.”

Talbert served as a faculty fellow researcher and lecturer in philosophy at the University of California, San Diego before his time at WVU.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy from the University of South Carolina, and his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California, Riverside in 2005.

For more information, contact Matthew Talbert, at 304-293-7746 or



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