Thinking by Drawing

An Interview With Shelly Kagan


  • Shelly Kagan Yale University, United States



desert, death, consequentialism, deontology, convergence, animal ethics, moral status, Parfit


The Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics interviewed Kagan about his formative years; his work on death, the moral status of animals, and desert; his views on changing one’s mind and convergence in philosophy; and his advice for graduate students in moral philosophy.

Author Biography

Shelly Kagan, Yale University, United States

Shelly Kagan (Chicago, 1954) is Clark Professor at Yale University, where he has taught since 1995. Before coming to Yale, he taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the Universiy of Illinois at Chicago. Kagan received a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Wesleyan University in 1976, and a PhD from Princeton University in 1981. His PhD thesis, on the limits of what morality can demand, was supervised by Professor Thomas Nagel.

Kagan’s research is in normative ethics. He is the author of The Limits of Morality (1989), Normative Ethics (1998), Death (2012), The Geometry of Desert (2012), and How to Count Animals, More or Less (forthcoming). His work has appeared in various journals, including Ethics, Philosophy & Public Affairs, and Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. Videos of Kagan’s course on death have been very popular online. Kagan is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the advisory board of the Philosophical Gourmet Report.




How to Cite

Kagan, S. (2018). Thinking by Drawing: An Interview With Shelly Kagan. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 11(2), 245–283.