Michael Kirley


I completed my MA (2017, philosophy) and BSc (2016, double maj. mathematics/philosophy) at U of T. While my undergraduate majors were quite distinct from each other, my appreciation for the rigour of higher mathematics enhanced my ability to analyze and construct philosophical arguments, and ultimately contributed to my decision to pursue philosophy at the graduate level. My primary research interests include, but are by no means limited to: normative ethics (especially Kantian and ancient); the philosophy of action; and the modern analytic tradition (particularly with respect to the philosophy of language and its relevance to other areas of philosophy). I have a related historical interest in early analytic philosophy—particularly in the logicist movement which contributed greatly to the development of analytic philosophy. While my research interests are broad, I do not see them as disconnected from each other: for me, philosophy is fundamentally about trying to answer hard questions, and one often needs a variety of tools to build such answers. I have learned that one can never have too many tools at one’s disposal. The analytic tradition, with its historical connection to mathematics, emphasizes the beauty of precision and the importance of clarity in language, and I am interested in the implications these emphases have for ethics, action, and epistemology. In my free time, I enjoy writing fiction, discussing current issues, reading, playing the piano, and browsing memes.

Research Interests:  
Ethics, Philosophy of Action, Philosophy of Language