Bernd Magnus

Professor, Philosophy


B.A., City University of New York
Ph.D., Columbia University

Selected Publications

Heidegger’s Metahisory of Philosophy: Amor Fati, Being and Truth (Matinus Nijhoff, 1970).

Nietzsche’s Existential Imperative (Indiana University Press, 1978).

Nietzsche’s Case: Philosophy as/and Literature, with Stanley Stewart and Jean-Pierre Mileur  (Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1993).

Oliver Johnson




B.A., Linfield College

M.A. and Ph.D., Yale University

Areas of Interest

Ethics; Normative and metaethics; Epistemology


After doing graduate work in philosophy at the University of Oregon and later at Oxford University in England, Oliver A. Johnson received his M.A. (1950) and his Ph.D. (1951) from Yale University, writing under Brand Blanchard, one of America’s leading philosophers of that period. In July 1953 he joined the faculty at the University of California, Riverside, as an assistant professor and charter member of the faculty, one year before the campus opened in the fall of 1954. In 1965 he was promoted to full professor.

Dr. Johnson concentrated on fundamental philosophic issues, establishing an international reputation for his work in ethics and epistemology. He argued for the rule of reason in ethics and sought clarity, rigor and lucid exposition in his views on epistemology. His work in ethics concerned two topics: normative ethics and metaethics. In his writings, he articulated a conception of morality in which, for any individual living in a society, to act morally is the same as to act rationally. Thus, the perennial practical question “Why ought I to be moral?” he argued, can be decisively answered, since it is reducible to the question “Why ought I to be rational?” His work in epistemology concerned itself with the foundations of knowledge, with special emphasis on the basic question: Is knowledge possible? In wrestling with this question he devoted much of his attention to epistemological skepticism.

Dedicated to the learning process, Oliver Johnson was an excellent teacher, challenging even introductory students by the Socratic method. He particularly enjoyed making students squirm under Socratic examination of ideas and arguing both sides of particularly knotty issues.

His outstanding record of service to his department, the campus, and the field of philosophy exemplified his commitment to the university and the profession. He chaired the department for many years and was the leader in developing philosophy holdings in the research library as well as creating a departmental library that bears his name. His Senate contributions continued after retirement as he endowed a bi-annual UC system-wide Academic Senate award to recognize the meritorious service contributions of others.

Oliver Johnson devoted himself to promoting the profession of philosophy. Perhaps his most significant service contribution was as Secretary-Treasurer of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association, and as a member of the APA’s national Board of Officers, 1970-71 to 1981-82. Using these offices, Professor Johnson was instrumental in bringing the Pacific Division from the brink of dissolution to a position of influence within the profession.

Professor Johnson retired from the faculty in 1989. Following four and one-half years on kidney dialysis, he died unexpectedly of a heart attack on March 22, 2000 in Temecula, California.

Source: Carl Cranor and David Harrah, “In Memoriam: Oliver A. Johnson,” University of California Academic Senate (2000). Web:

Selected Publications

Rightness and Goodness (Martinus Nijhoff, 1959).

Moral Knowledge (Martinus Nijhoff, 1966).

The Moral Life (Allen & Unwin, 1969).

The Problem of Knowledge (Martinus Nijhoff, 1974).

Skepticism and Cognitivism (University of California Press, 1978).

Ignorance and Irrationality (Philosophy Documentation Center, 1980). [Refereed monograph, 97 manuscript pages, microfilm.)


Pacific Study Group of the NA Kant Society to meet at UCR

The annual meeting for the Pacific Study Group of the North American Kant Society will be hosted by UC Riverside this November 2nd and 3rd. Scheduled speakers include Robert Adams, Henry Allison, Ann Margaret Baxley, Houston Smit, and graduate student Laura Davis. The Pacific Study Group’s yearly meeting provides a forum for its member Kant scholars to present work and informally discuss on-going Kant research. The paper sessions are open to the public. For more information, click here, or contact Andrews Reath (

Wonderly Receives UC Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities

For the 2013-14 academic year, graduate student Monique Wonderly will receive three quarters of support from the Center for Ideas and Society as a UC Society for the Humanities Fellow. She also was offered, but declined, an American Association of University Women fellowship for the 2013-14 academic year, and was awarded an honorable mention in the Ford Foundation Fellowship competition. The CIS grant will allow Monique to focus on further developing her dissertation project, Toward a Theory of Emotional Attachment. In this work, she identifies “security-based attachment” as a philosophically neglected, yet rich and ubiquitous phenomenon and offers an account of its nature, functions, and ethics.

Andrew Franklin-Hall

1-HallPost-doc: Love & Human Agency


Contact Information:


Ph.D. Columbia, 2011)

Areas of Interest:

Ethics and Social/Political Philosophy


Andrew specializes in ethics and social/political philosophy.  He is especially interested in the moral significance of childhood, old age, and familial relationships.  He has recently published essays on the autonomy of adolescents and on Locke’s theory of parental authority in The Philosophical Quarterly and The Canadian Journal of Philosophy. He will be spending the upcoming year at the University of California at Riverside, where he plans to research the extent to which love is an attitude guided by reasons and the importance of attachment in loving relationships.  You can find out more about Andrew’s projects at his website.

Andrew’s CV


Ben Mitchell-Yellin

BenPost-Doc with the Immortality Project

Contact Information:


Ph.D., University of California, Riverside

M.A. [Philosophy], Boston College

B.A. [Creative Writing & Literature] University of Michigan

Areas of Interest:

Ethics; Philosophy of Action


Ben is currently developing work from his dissertation focusing on identifying different conceptions of what is fundamental to human agency and how they factor into debates in moral theory about the correct account of right and wrong and debates in agency theory about the correct accounts of self-governance and moral responsibility. He is also developing an account of self-governed action as grounded in one’s evaluative commitments. He is particularly interested in showing that the account can make sense of weak-willed actions and the importance of the emotions. He has recently taught Ethics and the Meaning of Life and the Philosophy of Law. Visit Ben’s website.

John Ramsey


Contact Information:


University of California, Riverside, Ph.D. 2013

University of California, Riverside, M.A. 2008

Ursinus College, B.A.  2004

Areas of Interest:

Philosophy of Language, Social Philosophy, and Classical Chinese Philosophy


John Ramsey’s research consists in three overlapping projects in philosophy of language, social practices, and early Chinese thought. The unifying thread involves social roles and social norms, particularly how they affect a person’s commitments, autonomy, and behavior. Beginning with my dissertation, I argue that speech act theory is not sufficient for explaining how speech constitutes oppression and that an account of social norms and institutions must supplement speech act theory. I also am interested in questions of regulation and public policy regarding hate speech, pornography, and the First Amendment. My recent work in early Chinese philosophy examines whether and how early Confucians can revise pernicious and oppressive li (ritualized conventions and social norms) and whether early Confucianism is best characterized as a role ethic, a recent interpretation of early Confucian texts.  Learn more on John’s website.

Sam Richards


B.A. St. John’s College (NM), Liberal Arts, 2009

M.A. Georgia State University, Philosophy, 2013

Areas of interest

Post-Kantian European Philosophy, Early Modern Philosophy (esp. Adam Smith), Metaphysics, Ethics, Philosophy of Mind


Micaela Quintana



B.A. Philosophy, Whitman College, 2009

Areas of Interest

Mica is interested primarily in metaethics, although she is also interested in phenomenology, philosophy of language, and philosophy of religion. She is drawn especially to the contributions of Plato,  Kant, Nietzche, Heidegger and Wittgenstein to these topics but is also interested in joining in contemporary discussions in these areas.


Maxwell McCoy


B.A. Philosophy/Political Science, Drury University

Areas of Interest

19th and 20th century European philosophy, selfhood, moral responsibility, normativity and ethics