Matthew Adams

Matthew Adams

Assistant Professor, Philosophy


  • Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of Virginia, 2018

About Matthew Adams

I specialize in political philosophy, ethical theory, and applied ethics. Much of my research is animated by the question of how normative ideals apply in actual political practice. Some (but not all) of my research is Rawlsian in spirit.

My early research focused on developing a new nonideal theory of justice. This theory hinges on an innovation termed “nonideal principles of justice,” which are forged using a Rawlsian contractualist framework. In contrast to most work on nonideal theory, I connect my theorizing about justice to policy questions, such as the viability of affirmative action in a contemporary US educational context.

Now I’m working away on several new projects. These include exploring the normative significance of political apathy; giving an account—by drawing on Thomas Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus—of what it is for a traditional practice to degenerate; and examining the value of conceptualizing food as medicine.

My interests in philosophy have always been very broad. I’ve also worked on topics ranging from Plato’s late political philosophy to abortion. Finally, I’ve done some interdisciplinary collaborative research on risk assessment in sentencing.

Among other venues, my work has been published in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy and Philosophical Studies.