Gwen Bradford

Associate Professor of Philosophy

I am Associate 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.

My book, Achievement, which is about the nature and value of achievement (as you might have guessed), was awarded the 2017 APA Book Prize, and is 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 particularly interested in ill-being — the opposite of well-being — and how perfectionism (or any theory, for that matter) might account for it. I’m also at work on a project about uniqueness and its relationship to intrinsic value. My work also extends to nature of intrinsic value, organic unities, well-being, moral responsibility, 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, as well as Hermann Park.


Selected upcoming and recent presentations:

April 2019: “Uniqueness, Intrinsic Value, and Reasons,” APA Pacific, Vancouver, BC

March 2019: “Why You Should Be Miserable,” Conference of the PPE Society, New Orleans, LA

February 2019: Author-meets-critic for Achievement, Central APA, Denver, CO

January 2019: “The Moral Obligation to go to Mars,” Night of Philosophy, Moody Center for the Arts, Houston, TX

October 2018: Artist in Dialogue, with artist Matthew Ritchie and choreographer Hope Mohr, Moody Center for the Arts, Houston, TX

September 2018: “Uniqueness and Intrinsic Value,” Lone Star, Houston, TX

August 2018: “Perfectionist Bads,” Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, Boulder, CO

June 2018: “Perfectionist Bads and Desires,” Canadian Philosophical Association, Montreal, QC

June 2018: “Uniqueness,” OSU-Croatia Philosophy Conference, Dubrovnik, Coratia

March 2018: “Uniqueness, Intrinsic Value, and Reasons,” DEX, UC Davis, CA

March 2018:”The Badness of Pain,” University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

March 2018: “Uniqueness,” Kwantlen Polytechnic, Surrey, BC

August 2017: “Uniqueness, Intrinsic Value, and Reasons,” Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, Boulder, CO

July 2017: “Uniqueness, Intrinsic Value, and Reasons,” Kansas Well-being Workshop (KWoW), University of Kansas

May 2017: “Uniqueness, Intrinsic Value, and Reasons,” Canadian Philosophical Association, Toronto

April 2017: “Achievement and the Pursuit of the Bad,” Invited Panel, Pacific APA, Seattle