Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education


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  • Justin Leonard Clardy

    Justin Leonard Clardy

    Thinking Matters Fellow

    BioMy Ph.D. is in Philosophy with specializations in Ethics and Social & Political Philosophy from the University of Arkansas. Currently, my research focuses on normative questions that arise within the contexts of interpersonal relationships and political theories.

    As a researcher, I am advancing two active research projects ethics and social & political philosophy. The first project, in ethics is in the philosophy of love and contributes to a diversity in academic research because the philosophy of love has historically been passed over by analytic philosophers. I've develop an account of love that centers on value. To love is to value your partner(s) and your relationship with your partner(s) in a way that provides you with reason for action. I apply this relationship theory to normative questions that arise in the contexts of interpersonal relationship such as the nature of love, the obligations between current and ex lovers, polyamory, emotional affairs, and the role that tenderness plays in fulfilling our special obligations.

    The second project reconceptualizes love in a broader narrative on public emotions and social justice. It aims to foster the emotion of civic tenderness for people and groups who are vulnerable throughout our society. I consider how attitudes of indifference pose a challenge to the extension of civic compassion. Insofar as we are indifferent to others who are in situations of need, we tend to be less compassionate towards them. I develop an analytic framework for the public emotion of Civic Tenderness to combat indifference toward people who are vulnerable before the American Criminal Justice System and the American economy. Civic tenderness is an orientation of concern that is generated for people and groups that occupy vulnerable positions in our society. Whereas compassion is a response to a situation of suffering, tenderness is a response to a situation of vulnerability. Insofar as occupying a situation of suffering implies having been vulnerable to occupying that position, vulnerability is prior to suffering and tenderness is prior to compassion.

    As a teacher, I believe in creating an intimate philosophical learning environment where people learn to be more caring toward one another as fellow citizens. In this environment, people grow familiar with and come to appreciate the central concerns of human existence, the importance of critical thinking and effective communication, and their roles as responsible citizens in a democratic society like our own. If we can learn how to encounter and appreciate differences in this environment, then we have learned something important about treating each other with care.

    As a public intellectual, I facilitate a community focused reading group called PAGES Reading Group and I have appeared in interviews and am a regular contributor to writing venues that are open and accessible to the public.