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Paul H. Benson

Professor Emeritus


College of Arts and Sciences: Philosophy


Email: Paul H. Benson


Paul H. Benson, Ph.D. specializes in ethics and moral psychology. He joined the University faculty in 1985 to teach in the philosophy department. He served as Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs from 2014 to 2023, Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences from 2007 to 2014, as Associate Dean for Integrated Learning and Curriculum from 2005 to 2007, and as Chairperson of the Department of Philosophy from 2001 to 2004.

He received his B.A., summa cum laude, in philosophy from St. Olaf College in 1979. He was awarded a four-year Danforth Graduate Fellowship and a one-year Whiting Foundation Dissertation Fellowship to pursue doctoral work at Princeton, where he received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1984. He taught at Virginia Tech and the University of Vermont before coming to the University of Dayton. Before being appointed Department Chair, he served as Director of the CORE Program and was twice named a finalist for the College of Arts and Sciences' outstanding teaching award.


  • Ph.D., Princeton University
  • B.A., St. Olaf College

Research interests

  • Ethics
  • Moral psychology
  • Action theory
  • Social philosophy

Selected publications

"Feminist Commitments and Relational Autonomy," forthcoming in Autonomy, Oppression, and Gender, ed. Andrea Veltman and Mark Piper (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).  

"Narrative Self-understanding and Relational Autonomy," Symposia on Gender, Race, and Philosophy 7 (2011), available on-line at 0511.pdf.

"Taking Ownership: Authority and Voice in Autonomous Agency," in Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism: New Essays, ed. J. Christman and J. Anderson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

"Feminist Intuitions and the Normative Substance of Autonomy," in Personal Autonomy: New Essays on Personal Autonomy and its Role in Contemporary Philosophy, ed. J. S. Taylor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 124-142.

"Blame, Oppression, and Diminished Moral Competence," in Moral Psychology: Feminist Ethics and Social Theory, ed. P. DesAutels and M. U. Walker (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), 183-200.

"Culture and Responsibility," Journal of Social Philosophy 32 (2001): 610-620.

"Feeling Crazy: Self-Worth and the Social Character of Responsibility," in Relational Autonomy: Feminist Perspectives on Autonomy, Agency, and the Social Self, ed. C. Mackenzie and N. Stoljar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 72-93.