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Qian Cao

Title | Organization: 
Graduate Student | Ph.D. program in Philosophy
Student Year: 
1st Year Ph.D. Student (Pre-dissertation phase)

My main interests lie at the intersection of ancient philosophy, ethics, and moral psychology. I’m particularly interested in informing the present debates in ethics through ancient Greek discussions about the nature of human psyche and the notion of the human good. At Columbia, I plan to further explore the relation between thought/reason and feeling/emotion in moral motivation, as well as the nature of moral knowledge.                                 

I also have broad interests in continental philosophy (Nietzsche, Heidegger, and de Beauvoir), social epistemology, metaphysics of social properties, and Classical Chinese philosophy. 

I received my B.A. in philosophy from New York University. My honors thesis was an attempt to bring Aristotle’s ethics into the contemporary debate of free will by constructing an account of human freedom on behalf of him. On this account, so I argue, moral ignorance (not knowing the difference between good and bad) is an impediment on our ability to act freely.