About Robert Talisse

Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

NBN Episodes hosted by Robert:

Charlotte Witt, "Social Goodness: The Ontology of Social Norms" (Oxford UP, 2023)

March 5, 2024

Social Goodness

Charlotte Witt
Hosted by Robert Talisse

In our day-to-day lives, we are subject to normative requirements, obligations, and expectations that originate in the social roles we occupy. For ex…

Lisa Herzog, "Citizen Knowledge: Markets, Experts, and the Infrastructure of Democracy" (Oxford UP, 2023)

February 1, 2024

Citizen Knowledge

Lisa Herzog
Hosted by Robert Talisse

For better or worse, democracy and epistemology are intertwined. For one thing, politics is partly a matter of gathering, assessing, and applying inf…

Melvin L. Rogers, "The Darkened Light of Faith: Race, Democracy, and Freedom in African American Political Thought" (Princeton UP, 2023)

November 1, 2023

The Darkened Light of Faith

Melvin L. Rogers
Hosted by Robert Talisse

Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” is notoriously fiery. No doubt part of what’s gripping about it is its int…

Emily McTernan, "On Taking Offence" (Oxford UP, 2023)

October 1, 2023

On Taking Offence

Emily McTernan
Hosted by Robert Talisse

A lot of work in moral, political, and legal theory aims to define the offensive. Surprisingly, relatively little attention has been paid to the affe…

Chrisoula Andreou, "Choosing Well: The Good, the Bad, and the Trivial" (Oxford UP, 2023)

August 1, 2023

Choosing Well

Chrisoula Andreou
Hosted by Robert Talisse

It is common to think that rational agency involves acting in ways that, given one’s options, maximize the satisfaction of one’s preferences. This in…

Kevin J. Elliott, "Democracy for Busy People" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

July 1, 2023

Democracy for Busy People

Kevin J. Elliott
Hosted by Robert Talisse

John Dewey and Jane Addams are both credited with the claim that the cure for democracy’s ills is more democracy. The sentiment is popular to this da…

Darrel Moellendorf, "Mobilizing Hope: Climate Change and Global Poverty" (Oxford UP, 2022)

May 1, 2023

Mobilizing Hope

Darrel Moellendorf
Hosted by Robert Talisse

The news concerning climate change isn’t good. The warming of our planet now threatens to trap millions of people in extreme poverty while destabiliz…

Karen Frost-Arnold, "Who Should We Be Online?: A Social Epistemology for the Internet" (Oxford UP, 2023)

April 1, 2023

Who Should We Be Online?

Karen Frost-Arnold
Hosted by Robert Talisse

The Internet plays a central role in how we communicate, share information, disseminate ideas, maintain social connections, and conduct business. The…

Thomas Kelly, "Bias: A Philosophical Study" (Oxford UP, 2023)

March 1, 2023


Thomas Kelly
Hosted by Robert Talisse

The concept of bias is familiar enough, partly because it is deployed frequently and in different contexts. For example, we talk about biased jurors,…

Derrick Darby, "A Realistic Blacktopia: Why We Must Unite to Fight" (Oxford UP, 2022)

February 1, 2023

A Realistic Blacktopia

Derrick Darby
Hosted by Robert Talisse

In the United States, unjust disparities in things like income, opportunity, health, safety, and education tightly track racial categorizations of the…

Tommie Shelby, "The Idea of Prison Abolition" (Princeton UP, 2022)

December 30, 2022

The Idea of Prison Abolition

Tommie Shelby
Hosted by Robert Talisse

By any reasonable metric, prisons as they exist in the United States and in many other countries are normatively unacceptable. What is the proper mor…

Alexander Kirshner, "Legitimate Opposition" (Yale UP, 2022)

December 1, 2022

Legitimate Opposition

Alexander Kirshner
Hosted by Robert Talisse

The idea of legitimate political opposition is familiar. A decent political order permits citizens, parties, and coalitions to challenge those in pow…

Saba Bazargan-Forward, "Authority, Cooperation, and Accountability" (Oxford UP, 2022)

November 1, 2022

Authority, Cooperation, and Accountability

Saba Bazargan-Forward
Hosted by Robert Talisse

We often find ourselves acting in concert with others, where what we do together goes beyond the causal contribution of any single participant. When …

Michele Moody-Adams, "Making Space for Justice: Social Movements, Collective Imagination, and Political Hope" (Columbia UP, 2022)

October 3, 2022

Making Space for Justice

Michele Moody-Adams
Hosted by Robert Talisse

A standard way of proceeding in political philosophy is to start with some form of conceptual inquiry: we first try to figure out what justice, equali…

Kelly McCormick, "The Problem of Blame: Making Sense of Moral Anger" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

September 1, 2022

The Problem of Blame

Kelly McCormick
Hosted by Robert Talisse

Blame seems both morally necessary and morally dicey. Necessary, because it appears to be a central part of holding others to account for wrongdoing.…

Cécile Fabre, "Spying Through a Glass Darkly: The Ethics of Espionage and Counter-Intelligence" (Oxford UP, 2022)

August 1, 2022

Spying Through a Glass Darkly

Cécile Fabre
Hosted by Robert Talisse

On its face, spying and counter-intelligence activities seem morally suspect. They tend to involve sneaking, deceiving, and manipulating, as well as …

David Hunter, "On Believing: Being Right in a World of Possibilities" (Oxford UP, 2022)

July 1, 2022

On Believing

David Hunter
Hosted by Robert Talisse

According to many standard philosophical accounts, beliefs are a kind of stance one takes toward a proposition. To believe that Nashville is in Tenne…

Blain Neufeld, "Public Reason and Political Autonomy: Realizing the Ideal of a Civic People" (Routledge, 2022)

May 3, 2022

Public Reason and Political Autonomy

Blain Neufeld
Hosted by Robert Talisse

According to a familiar picture, a democracy is a free society of self-governing equals. This means that democratic citizens have a duty to participa…

William J. Talbott, "Learning from Our Mistakes: Epistemology for the Real World" (Oxford UP, 2021)

April 1, 2022

Learning from Our Mistakes

William J. Talbott
Hosted by Robert Talisse

The enterprise of Western epistemology has largely been devoted to a collection of issues concerning the definition and analysis of knowledge. What m…

Myisha Cherry, "The Case for Rage: Why Anger Is Essential to Anti-Racist Struggle" (Oxford UP, 2021)

March 1, 2022

The Case for Rage

Myisha Cherry
Hosted by Robert Talisse

According to a broad consensus among philosophers across the ages, anger is regrettable, counterproductive, and bad. It is something to be overcome o…

Daniel Groll, "Conceiving People: Genetic Knowledge and the Ethics of Sperm and Egg Donation" (Oxford UP, 2021)

February 1, 2022

Conceiving People

Daniel Groll
Hosted by Robert Talisse

In the United States, tens of thousands of children are conceived every year with donated gametes. When people decide to create a child with donated …

Michael Cholbi, "Grief: A Philosophical Guide" (Princeton UP, 2022)

December 31, 2021


Michael Cholbi
Hosted by Robert Talisse

We think of grief as a normal response to the death of a loved one. We’re familiar with the so-called “five stages” of grief. Grief seems as an emot…

Avia Pasternak, "Responsible Citizens, Irresponsible States: Should Citizens Pay for Their States' Wrongdoings?" (Oxford UP, 2021)

December 1, 2021

Responsible Citizens, Irresponsible States

Avia Pasternak
Hosted by Robert Talisse

We tend to think that states can act wrongfully, even criminally. Thus, we also tend to think that states can be held responsible for their acts. Th…

Mark Schroeder, "Reasons First" (Oxford UP, 2021)

November 1, 2021

Reasons First

Mark Schroeder
Hosted by Robert Talisse

A leading approach in ethics takes the reason as in some sense primary or basic. This approach claims that a range of moral concepts – goodness, righ…