Tony Cunningham, Ph.D.

Unlike the great philosophers of the really olden days, I didn’t grow up wanting to be a great philosopher. First I wanted to be a superhero. When that plan didn’t pan out, I switched to professional baseball. While chasing this dream and studying biology at Colby College, two philosophy teachers grabbed hold of mind and never let go. Off they sent me to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, and there I realized that I was mostly interested in ethics in some form. By the time I arrived at St. John’s in 1991 after stints at the College of William & Mary and Colby, I saw that I was destined for “messy” ethics. I’m an “anti-theory man,” and this helps explain my deep interest in literature. Good stories can best capture the subtle, conflicting, slippery elements of human life and character. All sorts of things matter to us, and contrary to what most moral theories suggest, the things that matter share no common denominator and admit of no canonical ordering.  We’re really complicated creatures, so moral philosophers worth their salt must pursue the (impossible) goal of being people on whom nothing is lost. Everything I teach has to do with ethics in one way or another. When I’m not teaching or doing philosophy, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Mickey, and daughters, Flann and Maddie. I love the outdoors, particularly oceans and mountains. I play the fiddle and write fiction.  Born in New York City, the child of Irish immigrants, I like to pretend I’m from Maine.  My philosophical publications include The Heart of What Matters: The Role for Literature in Moral Philosophy (California, 2001), Modern Honor: A Philosophical Defense (Routledge, 2013), and various essays and reviews in journals like American Philosophical Quarterly, Journal of Value Inquiry, Dialogue, Mind, Philosophy & Phenomenological Research, Ethics, and The Dalhousie Review.

Teaching & Research Interests: Ethics, Philosophy & Literature, Social & Political Philosophy.

Spring 2014 Schedule:
HONR 390-01A Honors Ethics Common Seminar (ES)
Reading for Life
Days:  Mondays
Time: 6:15-9:15 pm
Location:  Quad 349
CRN #: 15472

Schedule Fall 2014:
ETH390-09A Ethics Common Seminar (ES)
Days: TR
Time: 2:20-3:40pm
Place: Quad 343
CRN #: 14218

ETH390-12A Ethics Common Seminar (ES)
Reading for Life
Days: Mondays
Time: 6:15-9:15pm
Place: Quad 353
CRN #: 12609

ETH390-13A Ethics Common Seminar (ES)
Reading for Life
Days: Tuesdays
Time: 6:15-9:15pm
Place: Quad 353
CRN #: 12566

Tony Cunningham

Office: Quad 351
Phone: 320-363-2730