Nigel DeSouza

Replacement Professor, Department of Philosophy

Room number: DMS 8127
Telephone: (613)-562-5800, ext. 3663

University degrees

2006 - PhD, University of Cambridge
2000 - MPhil, University of Cambridge
1998 - M.A., University of Victoria
1996 - B.A., McGill University

Fields of interest

  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • 18th century German philosophy
  • Ethics and the conditions of ethical agency

Ongoing research

A broad theme unites the two research projects I am currently engaged in: the connection between human beings’ mature conceptual capacities such as reflection and abstraction, and the conditions of possibility and genesis of those capacities.

The first project, based on my doctoral and post-doctoral research, is a monograph on the philosophy of the young Herder. The objective is to provide a unified account of the metaphysical and epistemological underpinnings of Herder’s conception of human nature and an analysis of its ramifications for his moral philosophy, philosophy of language, and philosophy of history. The foundations of Herder’s conception lie in his belief in soul-body interaction and his epistemological commitment to the continuity of the sensible and the intelligible.

The second project is a study of the conditions of ethical agency which draws on moral philosophy, moral psychology, childhood development, and cognitive science. The objective is to explore how human beings become ethical agents and capable of critical moral reflection. The first fruit of this project is a paper entitled “Pre-reflective ethical know-how” which utilizes the work of John McDowell, Michael Thompson, Alva Noë, and Evan Thompson.

Courses taught

  • PHI 1102 Moral Reasoning
  • PHI 1103 Fundamental Philosophical Questions
  • PHI 3377 Contemporary Continental Philosophy

Selected Publications

"Pre-reflective ethical know-how", Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, print publication forthcoming 2012, online publication January 2012

“Leibniz in the eighteenth-century: Herder’s critical reflections on the Principles of nature and grace]”: pp. 773-795 , British Journal for the History of Philosophy, vol. 20, no. 4, July 2012.

“Language, reason, and sociability: Herder’s critique of Rousseau”, Intellectual History Review, vol. 22, no. 4 , June 2012, pp. 221-240.

“Models of Moral Philosophy: Charles Taylor’s critique of Jürgen Habermas”, Eidos, vol. XV, no. 1, pp. 55-78.

(review essay) Philosophische Geschlechtertheorien [Philosophical Gender Theories], Hypatia, Spring 2005, volume 20, number 2, pp. 188-193.

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Last updated: 2011.08.23