in the Department of Philosophy and Religion

Robert English

Robert English picture

Instructor of Philosophy




phone: 662-915-7020



Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 2019
M.A., University of Mississippi, 2011
M.A., University of Chicago, 2009
B.A., Appalachian State University, 2006



Phil 101 Introduction to Philosophy
Phil 103 Logic: Critical Thinking
Phil 302 Early Modern Philosophy
Phil 345 Environmental Ethics
Phil 350 Philosophy of Law
Phil 357 Business Ethics



My research is organized around two centers of gravity. First, I am interested in understanding, interpreting, and coming to terms with the thought of Immanuel Kant. Second, I work in ethics and political philosophy, specifically during the modern period. My work centrally focuses on Kant’s conception of rational nature and responsible moral agency, and the role these notions play in furnishing a foundation of rights and moral status in his practical philosophy. Relatedly, I am also interested in conceptions of practical thought and moral psychology during the early modern period, especially in terms of their relation to moral and political theory.

My dissertation, “Kant on Humanity as Ground of the Innate Right to External Freedom, concerns Kant’s technical notion of “humanity”, and in particular the basic claim of his political philosophy, that humanity is the basis of the innate right to freedom. I argue in the dissertation that, contrary to two prominent suggestions in the literature, Kant understands humanity as the ground of the innate right to consist in moral personality, or the capacity for responsible moral agency. My dissertation project also involves exploration into the relation between the pure and empirical dimensions in Kant’s palimpsest theory of human nature.

I’m also interested in the nature and moral significance of grief. My first publication,  “Kant on Grief and Grieving” (forthcoming in Cambridge’s Rethinking Kant series) develops an interpretation of Kant’s view of grief in order to explain his claim in the Anthropology that “one must never grieve about anything”. This involves situating the phenomenon of grief in the theoretical vocabulary in which Kant develops his moral psychology, specifically in terms of the distinction between affects and passions. In that paper, I use as a touchstone Stoic attitudes towards grief, and urge that despite Kant’s negative remarks about grief, his is not as restrictive a view as we find in the Stoics.

I am also interested in the thought of abolitionist Frances Wright, and in addition to a recent co-authored interdisciplinary piece theorizing her entrepreneurial practice in her Neshoba commune (“Humanistic Entrepreneurship: The Pioneering Case of Frances Wright”, forthcoming in the Journal of Ethics and Entrepreneurship), I am currently at work on a project that explores Wright’s ethical theory as displayed in her Course of Public Lectures (1828), one of the earliest public lectures delivered by a woman in the United States.