My official areas of specialization are ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, and ethics. My abiding concern has been to defend pre-modern conceptions of value against the corrosive effects of modern skepticism and relativism. Consequently, I am particularly interested in foundational questions in ethics, such as the metaphysical question about what kind of thing ethical properties (goodness, rightness, etc.) are, and the epistemological question of how we can know (or justifiably believe) that actions and persons possess such properties. I have also devoted time to issues in the philosophy of religion, which overlap to some extent with my ethical concerns.
When I was an undergraduate, I decided to spend 20 years studying Plato and Aristotle, which I figured was enough time to master those two philosophers. It isn’t. I’ve now spent 40 years. Still not enough. Of course, that’s not all I’ve been doing over the last 40 years. Besides teaching about 15 different courses, I’ve managed to publish a small volume called Aristotle in Outline, which contains pretty much everything I had figured out about Aristotle up to that point, and an anthology of readings on the existence of God with the wonderfully succinct title, God.
Grew up in a small town in south Georgia, took my BA, MA, and PhD degrees all from the University of Georgia, and had three children by the time I got my first teaching job at St. Ben’s in 1981. In the mid 1980s my first wife and I divorced and when I remarried, it was to a nurse who had three children of her own. So a lot of time and energy was spent over the years raising the six offspring. We all survived the experience, so I guess we didn’t do too bad a job.
When I’m not doing philosophy, I like to play guitar (folk music, mostly stuff written in the 60’s or similar things; nothing fancy, just a few chords to sing along with; it always seems weird to me to go to a party where nobody sings), go target-shooting (you can’t grow up male in south Georgia without being interested in guns), and read (mostly fiction, with an incredibly high proportion of murder mysteries). Watching movies is another major pastime. If I had another life to live, I might be a scientist or an engineer (not the toot-toot kind, the other kind) the next time around. I like understanding how things work. And explaining them to other people.
Teaching & Research Interests: Ancient Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, Modern Philosophy, Ethics, Logic
Professor Robinson retired from teaching after the 2012/13 school year.