Clair Morrissey

Professor Clair Morrissey
Faculty Director, Undergraduate Research Center

Professor Morrissey, recipient of Occidental's Linda and Tod White Teaching Prize (2017), is a moral philosopher who specializes in practical ethics and political philosophy, with areas of interest in bioethics, environmental ethics, and aesthetics. She teaches a wide range of courses in these areas. Her current research concerns the nature and value of "wit," and the value of scientific inquiry, focusing on how studying the natural sciences, especially ecology, inculcates in individuals reverence for the natural world. She has also recently launched a new collaboration with colleagues in the College’s Biology Department through their long-standing fieldwork research program for undergraduates at the Organization for Tropical Studies’ La Selva Biological Research Station in Costa Rica. (Featured here.) The new collaboration, supported by a 2017-2019 Graves Award in the Humanities, has two elements: (a) a philosophical reading and discussion group for both philosophy and ecology undergraduate researchers about environmental ethics and ecological research ethics, and (b) philosophy faculty and undergraduate researchers embedded within and assisting with ecological fieldwork.