Fritz Allhoff is an assistant professor at Western Michigan University and a research associate at Australian National University’s Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE). His research interests are in ethical theory and applied ethics, particularly wherein the two intersect with science. Regarding the latter, he has written on various ethical issues in bio- and nanotechnologies, and has recently been awarded a collaborative research grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate ethical issues that pertain to applications of nanotechnology to human enhancement.
His current research focus, though, is on a monograph related to his dissertation, which was on evolution and ethics. In particular, he wants to argue against the so-called “evolutionary error theorists” (e.g., Ruse and Joyce) who argue that naturalistic accounts of our moral sentiments lead us to moral nihilism. Rather, Fritz wants to offer an evolutionary vindication of morality that is predicated upon contract-based systems. On this agenda, he also opposes evolutionary moral realists (e.g., Collier & Stingl, Casebeer), so the upshot of his constructivist account is supposed to be a “metaphysical compromise” between nihilism and realism.
While Fritz’s undergraduate degree was in physics, he has not had much formal training in the history and philosophy of science; the proposed goal of his Visiting Fellowship at Pittsburgh’s Center for Philosophy of Science is to embark upon a “crash course” in these topics such that his approaches to moral philosophy will be more informed by HPS traditions; he also helps to develop non-ethical research interests in HPS. To this end, he is using his fellowship to take more seminars (five) than any HPS graduate student. (He seems to have radically underestimated the amount of reading that this would require—sometimes as much as 1000 pages/week, but he plans on sticking with it, even if it means he doesn’t leave his apartment or office very often.)
Fritz has published in journals such as American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Business Ethics, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, Ethics, Human Nature Review, International Journal of Applied Philosophy, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, and Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. He has also edited several anthologies on various topics, including applied ethics, the history of philosophy, and the philosophy of science.
For fun, he enjoys food and wine, and just edited two volumes on these topics: Wine & Philosophy and Food & Philosophy (Blackwell, forthcoming). He also enjoys tennis, running, yoga, and travel (especially to wine regions).
Fritz reports several publications and talks, including Terrorism, Ticking Time-Bombs, and Torture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012). He’s also been running the Medical Humanities Workgroup at Western Michigan University, as well as attending law school.