Gwen Bradford

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

I am Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rice University in Houston TX, where I have been since 2010. I work in value theory and normative ethics. In 2013-2014 I was a Faculty Fellow at the Murphy Institute at Tulane University. I did my graduate work at Yale University, where Shelly Kagan was my primary advisor. Before that, I was an undergraduate at The University of Toronto.

The main focus of my research is achievements and what makes them valuable. My book, Achievement, is now available from Oxford University Press, or on Amazon.

I also work on perfectionism, the theory of value that holds that the excellent exercise of our characteristically human capacities is intrinsically good. I’m also working on some other projects, one looks at uniqueness, and another on pain. My work also extends to nature of intrinsic value, organic unities, happiness and well-being, moral responsibility, philosophy of sport, and issues in epistemology.

Please look at the Research page for some current papers and other work.

In my spare time, I like to run, which is a helpful hobby for encouraging philosophical reflections on achievement and difficulty.  Since moving to Houston, I’ve become a fan of many of the marvelous arts organizations here, such as the Houston Grand Opera, and the Menil Collection.  I’m also a member of the advisory board of the Hermann Park Conservancy.


Selected upcoming and recent presentations:

July 2016: “Achievement,” Wellbeing Development Workshop, Costa Rica

July 2016: “The Badness of Pain,” SPAWN, Syracuse University

May 2016: “The Badness of Pain,” University of Missouri

May 2016: Author-meets-critics session, Achievement, Canadian Philosophical Association, Calgary AB

April 2016: “Achievement,” Lone Star College Book Symposium, Houston TX

March 2016: Author-meets-critics session, Achievement, APA Pacific, San Francisco

February 2016: “Achievement,”  Brown University

January 2016: “The Badness of Pain,” University of Toronto

November 2015: “The Badness of Pain,” University of California San Diego

November 2015: “Virtue Epistemology and Reliability,” University of Pennsylvania

August 2015: “The Badness of Pain,” Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

July 2015: “The Badness of Pain,” Kansas Well-being Workshop, University of Kansas

July 2015: “Pain and Perfectionism,” Hebrew University

May 2015: “Hard to Know,” Responsibility – The Epistemic Condition Workshop, VU University Amsterdam

March 2015: “Uniqueness,” University of Alabama Huntsville

February 2015: “Achievement and the Meaning of Life,” APA Central, St. Louis

August 2014: “Uniqueness,” Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, Boulder, CO

July 2014: “Pain and Perfectionism,” Kansas Well-Being Workshop, University of Kansas

April 2014: “Difficulty and Degrees of Praise and Blame,” Pacific APA, San Diego, CA

March 2014: “Pain and Perfectionism,” University of New Orleans Tocqueville Project Seminar, New Orleans, LA

February 2014:  “Uniqueness,” Works in Progress at MIT, Cambridge, MA

January 2014: “Pain and Perfectionism,” Murphy Institute, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

December 2013: “Problems for Perfectionism,” Eastern APA, Baltimore, MD

November 2013: “Uniqueness,” Tulane Philosophy Club, New Orleans, LA

September 2013: “Being a Sports Fan: Paradox, Recursion, and Intrinsic Value,” IAPS, Fullerton, CA

April 2013: “Problems for Perfectionism,” University of Houston, TX

April 2013: “The Ethics of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports,” Community Dialogue, Rice University

February 2013:  Symposium on Wellbeing, Central APA, New Orleans, LA

November 2012: “Problems for Perfectionism,” University of Mississippi, MS

August 2012:  “Problems for Perfectionism,” Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

May 2012:  “The Value of Achievements,” Canadian Philosophical Association, University of Waterloo, Ontario

February 2012:   “Evil Achievements and the Principle of Recursion,” SMU, Dallas, TX

January 2012:  “Evil Achievements and the Principle of Recursion,” Arizona Normative Ethics Workshop, Tucson, AZ