Shaun Nichols cropWhat makes you what you are?  What makes you the same person from year to year?  Some philosophers maintain that memories are a key to these questions, while recent research suggests that one’s moral traits may be the most central aspect of what makes one the same person across time.

These questions and theories will be addressed by Shaun Nichols, a poplar experimental philosophy professor from the University of Arizona in Wednesday’s (July 30) lecture at the Arizona Senior Academy. Open to the public free of charge, the program begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Great Room of the ASA Building.

Nichols has been a faculty member in the UA Department of Philosophy since 2006 and, as a member of the school’s Experimental Philosophy laboratory, has focused his research on such topics as experimental philosophy, moral psychology, cultural evolution, free will and the self.

He was awarded the Stanton Prize in 2005 by the Society for Philosophy and Psychology.  This honor is awarded annually to a young scholar who has made significant contributions to interdisciplinary research in philosophy, psychology and/or related disciplines.

Nichols has been a guest lecturer at a number of universities and conferences in various U.S. and foreign locations including Singapore, Switzerland, Brazil, Sweden, France, Germany, Canada and the UK.

He is the author of numerous articles in professional journals and several books including “Bound: Essays on Free Will and Responsibility,” and “Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment.”

A graduate of Stanford University with a B.A. in philosophy, Nichols completed his Ph.D. degree at Rutgers University.  He then became a professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and later at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Submitted by H. Deon Holt, Academy Village Volunteer

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“What Makes You What You Are?”: July 2014