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Manuel Vargas

Professor of Philosophy and Law and Dean's Circle Scholar

Manuel Vargas is Professor of Philosophy and Law. His scholarship has been recognized with a variety of national awards and fellowships, including awards from the National Endowment from the Humanities, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard, the McCoy Center for Ethics-in-Society at Stanford, and the Stanford Humanities Center. Most of his scholarship has focused on the intersection of moral, psychological, and legal questions about human agency. In the past few years, his research has addressed the nature of legal realism, the foundations of moral and criminal culpability, implicit bias, the neuroscience of freedom, and the history of Latin American philosophy. In addition to lecturing on these topics both nationally and internationally, he has held visiting appointments at Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology.

  • AB, University of California Davis
  • Joint-Ph.D., Stanford University
Prior Experience
  • Assistant (2002); Associate (2006); Full Professor (2010), USF
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, University of California Berkeley (2005-2006)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, California Institute of Technology (2003-2004)
  • Acting Assistant Professor, Stanford University (2001-2002)
  • NEH Chair in the Humanities (2013-2014, 2005-2006)
  • University Distinguished Research Award, University of San Francisco (2012)
  • Arts and Sciences Dean's Scholar Award (2012)
  • Davies Professor (2012)
  • USF Team Innovation Award (2011-2012)
  • Fellow, McCoy Family Center for Ethics at Stanford (2009-2010)
  • NEH Research Fellowship (2009-2010)
  • Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard (2008-2009)
  • American Philosophical Association Award in Latin American Thought (2004)
  • Rational and Social Agency: The Philosophy of Michael Bratman (Oxford University Press, 2014).
  • Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility (Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • Four Views on Free Will (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007). (Co-authored with John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, and Derk Pereboom.)
Law Review and Journal Articles
  • "Neuroscience and the Exaggerated Death of Responsibility," 64 The Philosophers' Magazine (2014). SSRN
  • "American Legal Realism and Practical Guidance," Reasons and Intentions in Law and Practical Agency (in press). (Co-authored with Professor Joshua P. Davis) SSRN
  • "If Free Will Doesn't Exist, Neither Does Water," Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility (2014). SSRN
  • "Situationism and Moral Responsibility: Free Will in Fragments," Decomposing the Will (2013). SSRN
  • "Razian Responsibility," Jurisprudence (forthcoming). SSRN
Book Contributions
    Opinion Pieces and Blog Posts
      Other Publications
          Court Citation of Research
            • Presenter, "Presented the topic of negligence and social self-governance.," William and Mary College "Phenomena of Unintentional Negligence," Williamsburg, Va. (September 2014).
            • Presenter, "Mitigation and Diminished Responsibility," Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association "Society for the Philosophy of Agency," Chicago, Ill. (February 2014).
            • Presenter, "Las Casas, Moral Status, and The Philosophy of Conquest," Stanford University "Structured Liberal Education Program," Stanford, Calif. (January 2014).
            • Presenter, "What is Social Justice?" University of San Francisco "Living the Mission," San Francisco, Calif. (January 2014).
            • Commentator, "Implicit Bias, Moods, and Moral Responsibility," American Philosophical Association Pacific Division, San Francisco, Calif. (March 2013).
            • Presenter, "Implicit Bias, Philosophy, Latinos?" Stony Brook University, "Latino/a Philosopher: A National Symposium," Stony Brook, N.Y. (March 2013).
            • Presenter, "Negligence and Social Self-Governance," University of Arizona Department of Philosophy and Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, "Workshop on Free Will and Moral Responsibility," Tucson, Ariz. (February 2013).
            • Presenter, "What Huck Finn Values," University of San Francisco Department of Philosophy, "Faculty Salon Talk," (September 2012).
            Testimony and Hearings
              Written Testimony and Commentary
                Advisor or Consultant
                    Symposia Organization
                      Professional Membership
                          Other Service
                          • American Philosophical Association, National Board of Officers (2011-2014)
                          • Co-director, USF Task Force for Excellence in Research and Scholarship (2010-2011)
                          • Director, St. Ignatius Institute, USF (2006-2008)