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My primary research interest is in the ways that virtues structure practical reason and provide reasons for action. In my most recent paper, I defended a view of virtues as reasons structures, arguing that virtues provide reasons for action, instead of virtues being a kind of disposition to respond to reasons that exist independently of the virtues. I am currently working to expand this view of reasons and virtues to address a number of issues in virtue ethics, particularly how to incorporate certain kinds of apparently deontological constraints into a fully virtue ethical account of normativity.

I am also interested in moral psychology, which involves the investigation of a broad and complicated set of issues at the intersection of human psychology and moral theory. Within moral psychology, my primary research interest is in moral judgment; specifically, with how moral judgment is structured, what role reasoning plays in moral judgment, and what, if anything, that reveals about the nature of the moral domain and moral agency.  

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Saunders, Leland F. (2021), “Virtues as Reasons Structures,” Philosophical Studies, 178 (9): 2785-2804. DOI: 10.1007/s11098-020-01584-y
  • Stichter, Matt and Leland Saunders (2019) “Positive psychology and virtue: Values in action,” The Journal of Positive Psychology, 14(1); 1-5.
  • Saunders, Leland F. (2018) “The Necessity of Moral Reasoning,” The Journal of Value Inquiry, 52(1); 37-57. DOI 10.1007/s10790-017-9601-1
  • Saunders, Leland F. (2016) “Reason and Emotion, Not Reason or Emotion in Moral Judgment,” Philosophical Explorations 19(3); 252-267.
  • Saunders, Leland F. (2015) “What is Moral Reasoning?” Philosophical Psychology, 28(1); 1-20.
  • Saunders, Leland F. (2009) “Reason and Intuition in the Moral Life: A Dual Process Account of Moral Justification,” in J. Evans and K. Frankish (eds.), In Two Minds: Dual Processes and Beyond: Oxford University Press, pp. 335-354.
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