John M. Fischer



Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

John Martin Fischer’s Webpage, with Publications, Lectures, and Interviews

Contact Information

HMNSS 3219


Ph.D., Cornell University, 1982

Areas of Interest

Free will, moral responsibility, and both metaphysical and ethical issues pertaining to life and death.


Professor Fischer’s main research interests lie in free will, moral responsibility, and both metaphysical and ethical issues pertaining to life and death. He is the author of The Metaphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control; with Mark Ravizza, Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility; and My Way: Essays on Moral Responsibility. His recent work includes a contribution to Four Views on Free Will (in Blackwell’s Great Debates in Philosophy series) and three collections of essays all published by Oxford University Press: My Way: Essays on Moral Responsibility; Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will; and Deep Control: Essays on Free Will and Value. His undergraduate teaching includes an introductory ethics course, philosophy of law, theories of distributive justice, and philosophy of religion. He has also taught various courses on death and the meaning of life. His graduate teaching has primarily focused on free will, moral responsibility, and the metaphysics of death (and the meaning of life). Fischer is currently (as of July 1, 2012) serving as President of the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division and also Project Leader for The Immortality Project, a major grant supported by the John Templeton Foundation.

Sample Publications

   Books and Collections:

  • Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will, Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Introduction to Philosophy: Classic and Contemporary Readings (with John Perry and Michael Bratman), Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • My Way: Essays on Moral Responsibility, Oxford University Press, 2006
  • Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility (with M. Ravizza), Cambridge University Press, 1998
  • The Metaphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control, Blackwell, 1994
  • The Metaphysics of Death (ed.), Stanford University Press, 1993
  • Perspectives on Moral Responsibility (coed., with M. Ravizza), Cornell University Press, 1993
  • Ethics: Problems and Principles (coed., with M. Ravizza), Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991
  • God, Foreknowledge and Freedom (ed.), Stanford University Press, 1989
  • Moral Responsibility (ed.), Cornell University Press, 1986

   Recent Articles:

  • “Newcomb’s Problem: A Reply to Carlson,” Analysis, 2001
  • “Death and the Psychological Conception of Personal Identity” (with D. Speak), Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 2000
  • “Transfer Principles and Moral Responsibility” (with E. Stump), Philosophical Perspectives, 2000
  • “Responsibility and Self-Expression,” Journal of Ethics, 1999
  • “Recent Work on Moral Responsibility,” Ethics, 1999
  • “Being Born Earlier” (with A. Brueckner), Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 1998
  • “A New Compatibilism,” Philosophical Topics, 1998
  • “Death, Badness, and the Impossibility of Experience,” Journal of Ethics, 1997
  • “Responsibility, Control, and Omissions,” Journal of Ethics, 1997
  • “Stories,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 1996
  • “Free Will and the Modal Principle” (with M. Ravizza), Philosophical Studies, 1996
  • “Libertarianism and Avoidability,” Faith and Philosophy, 1995
  • “Responsibility and History” (with M. Ravizza), Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 1994
  • “Why Immortality is Not So Bad,” International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 1994
  • “Alternative Possibilities” (with P. Hoffman), Journal of Philosophy, 1994
  • “Ducking Harm and Sacrificing Others” (with M. Ravizza), Journal of Social Philosophy, 1994
  • “Insiders and Outsiders,” Journal of Social Philosophy, 1993
  • “Quinn on Double Effect: The Problem of ‘Closeness'” (with M. Ravizza and D. Copp), Ethics, 1993
  • “Death’s Badness” (with A. Brueckner), Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 1993
  • “The Asymmetry of Early Death and Late Birth” (with A. Brueckner), Philosophical Studies, 1993
  • “The Inevitable” (with M. Ravizza), Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 1993
  • “Hard Properties,” Faith and Philosophy, 1993
  • “Quinn on Doing and Allowing” (with M. Ravizza), Philosophical Review, 1992
  • “Recent Work on God and Freedom,” American Philosophical Quarterly, 1992