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Joel A. Martinez

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Lewis & Clark College

Portland, OR 

I am a philosopher and my primary research interest involves understanding and developing Virtue Ethics. Currently, I am working on a series of papers exploring the role of reason in the develompment of virtue.


Some specific issues I am working on are as follows:

  • Understanding Moral Judgment (w/Jay Odenbaugh and Hannah Tierney): What are the alternatives to rationalist and sentimentalist theories of moral judgment? What does it take to count as a member of the moral community, open to praise and blame for one's actions? How can empirical psychology help us understand this issue?
  • The Demands of Morality: Do morality and self-interest conflict? How should a virtue ethicist respond to the problem of moral saints? Should a virtue ethicist develop a theory of supererogation?
  • Virtue Ethics and Practical Guidance: Can a virtue ethcial theory offer practical guidance? Are virtue ethical theories self-effacing, the way many have argued consequentialist and deontological theories are?
  • Can Virtue Be Taught?: Is virtue (or good character) something we can learn? If we think of virtue as a skill or relevantly like one (as many ancient Greek and Roman philosophers did) can we develop a theory of virtue education? Does such a theory find any support from empirical research?
  • Why does Plato think the following and what does it mean?: "Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophise, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils,... nor, I think, will the human race." (Republic 473c-d)

Feel free to e-mail me for my papers on the above topics ( You can also find some of my papers under the research link on the right of this page.

I am honored to have received the 2010 Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award, administered by Pomona College and the American Council of Learned Societies.  You can read the story here:


Ph.D. Philosophy, University of Arizona, 2006.
B.A. Philosophy, New Mexico State University, 1997. Graduated with Honors.



Logic (Phil 101)

Introduction to Philosophy (Phil 102)

Ethics (Phil 103)

Exploration and Discovery: Widsom and Folly (Core 106)

Philosophy of Religion (Phil 201)

Ancient Western Philosophy (Phil 301)

Ethical Theory (Phil 314)

Aristotle and Eudaimonia (Phil 451)

History of Ethics: Ethics Without God? (Phil 451)

Virtue Ethics (Phil 452)

Ethics and the Emotions (Phil 452)



"Rethinking Plato's Conception of Knowledge: The Non-Philosopher and the Forms" (Forthcoming Apeiron)

"Is Virtue Ethics Self-Effacing?"  (Forthcoming Australasian Journal of Philosophy)

“Should We Believe Our Ethical Theories? Virtue Ethics and Self-Effacement.” An Anthology of Philosophical Studies, Athens: Atiner Publishing, 2008.

“Comments on Sakezles’ The Aristotelian Origins of Stoic Determinism."  Proceedings of the Bosston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, Vol. XXIV, 2008.  John J. Cleary and Gary M. Gurtler, eds.  Brill, 2009: 185-191.

Xenophon’s “Apology of Socrates” in The Trial and Execution of Socrates – Sources and Controversies ed. Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, Oxford University Press (2000) (Invited Submission)

Book Reviews

Review of The Socratic Paradox and Its Enemies by Roslyn Weiss. Polis, June 2007.


“Virtue and Moral Learning” (Under Review)

"Eudaimonia and Practical Wisdom"  (Under Review)

“The Problem of Moral Saints” (Draft in preparation)

“Sentimentalism and Moral Judgment” (w/Jay Odenbaugh – Draft in preparation)

“Autism, Psychopathy and the Moral Emotions” (w/Hannah Tierney – Draft in preparation)

Virtue and the Foundations of Ethics (Book Manuscript in Preparation)