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Tamler Sommers

Associate Professor

Tamler Sommers

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Houston and I hold a joint appointment with the Honors College. I'm also co-director of Phronesis: A Program in Politics and Ethics, an interdisciplinary minor here at U of H. I teach primarily in ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law, specializing in issues relating to free will, moral responsibility, punishment, and revenge. My second book, entitled Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility has just come out (December 2011).. I also contribute reviews to the Times Literary Supplement and conduct interviews for The Believer. A collection of these interviews, entitled A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain, was published in December 2009 by McSweeney’s Press. Other recent publications include "Experimental Philosophy and Free Will" (Philosophy Compass), “The Two Faces of Revenge: Moral Responsibility and the Culture of Honor” (Biology and Philosophy), “More Work for Hard Incompatibilism” (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research), and “The Objective Attitude” (Philosophical Quarterly).

Click online publications to view my recent articles. And check out the Very Bad Wizards Podcast that I'm doing along with the psychologist David Pizarro, featuring discussions about ethics, free will, revenge, neuroscience, psychopaths, relativism, pop culture, and lots more.


  • Ph.D. in Philosophy, Duke University (2005)
  • B.A. in English, University of Pennsylvania (1992)

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Selected Publications

  • Partial Desert Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. David Shoemaker ed. Oxford University Press. Forthcoming.
  • Free Will and Experimental Philosophy: An Intervention
  • Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Princeton University Press. 2011.
  • A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain. McSweeney's Press, 2009.
  • "Experimental Philosophy." (co-authored) Annual Review of Psychology. 2011.
  • "In Memoriam: The X-Phi Debate" Philosophers Magazine. First Quarter 2011
  • “Experimental Philosophy and Free Will.”  Philosophy Compass.  February, 2010
  • “More Work for Hard Incompatibilism.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    89:3: 511-521.  November, 2009.
  •  “The Two Faces of Revenge: Moral Responsibility and the Culture of Honor.” 
    Biology and Philosophy.  24,1 (2009):35-50. 
  • “The Objective Attitude.” The Philosophical Quarterly. 57, 28 (2007): 321-342
  • “The Illusion of Freedom Evolves.” In Distributed Cognition and the Will, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid, Don Ross, Lynn Stephens (eds). MIT Press. 2007.
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Peer Reviewed Articles

Interviews for The Believer

Reviews for the Times Literary Supplement

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