John Martin Fischer currently holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside. Prior to his current appointment, Fischer taught at Yale University. Fischer completed his undergraduate studies at Stanford University before going to Cornell University, where he completed his PhD in 1982. In 2013, Fischer was president of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Society.
Fischer is best known for his work in free will and moral philosophy, with a particular focus on responsibility. Fischer’s views on free will and moral responsibility are founded on a metaphysical approach to the issues. In particular, Fischer argues for a semi-compatibilist approach, proposing that moral responsibility is, in some ways, compatible with determinism, and that moral responsibility exists regardless of whether or not free will exists. Toward this, Fischer has investigated and argued for separating our notions of the problem of free will and the issue of moral responsibility. Additionally, Fischer’s philosophical interests and work extend into issues of death, mortality, and the meaning of life.
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