Before these talented philosophers join us on campus in September, you can "meet" them through their profiles below! Welcome to the University of Michigan, Abdul, Jason, Kayla and Adam.

Abdul Ansari (Texas)

Previous Education: B.A. Philosophy at the University of Houston

Philosophical Topics of Interest: My primary research is in meta-ethics, moral psychology and the philosophy of action. I work on questions about the foundations and epistemology of ethical normativity, with a focus on value and valuing, practical reasons and reasoning. And I pursue these topics in light of social science and the theories of action/agency and affect.

But second-order question don’t exhaust my passion for ethics. I explore all of ethical philosophy—from its history to normative accounts of wellbeing and values—and even some neighbors: social philosophy (friendship, family and culture), jurisprudence, and mind (desire, emotion, volition, and narrative).

Side interests: I dabble in general metaphysics, especially where it can illuminate issues about metanormativity and practical reason. Moreover, Aristotle is my philosophical hero. So I have a non-trivial interest in Aristotle’s Ethics.

In a past life I wanted to be an Islamic scholar. I still care about Philosophy from the Muslim world, both medieval and modern.

Hobbies: When I am not doing Philosophy, I immerse myself in stories. To that end, I love reading memoirs and excellent literature, watching movies/shows with dynamic characters (gangster flicks are my favorite), meeting new people, having good conversations, traveling, and researching cultural histories. In addition, I enjoy trying different kinds of food and experimenting in the kitchen. Both are vehicles for stories.

I am also passionate about teaching and mentoring, especially if the students are members of marginalized social groups. Many students feel that their voices don’t matter, and that they lack skills to make it in a world haunted by division and economic injustice. As a teacher, I try to combat this feeling: to give my students the tools to confidently tell their own stories and actualize their unbounded potentials.  

Jason Byas (Norman, Oklahoma)

Previous Education: B.A. Philosophy, B.A. Sociology at the University of Oklahoma; M.A. Philosophy at Georgia State University

Philosophical Topics of Interest: Ethics (moral rebuke and repair, virtue ethics), political philosophy (rights theory, political authority, justice beyond the state), philosophy of law (punishment and its alternatives). I am especially interested in thinking about how these normative questions might intersect with descriptive ones in economics and sociology.

Hobbies: Exploring music (especially hardcore punk, early country, and various kinds of metal). Writing poetry. Drinking coffee.

Kayla Jackson (Metuchen, New Jersey)

Previous Education: B.A. Philosophy, B.A. Women and Gender Studies at Bates College

Philosophical Topics of Interest: I am primarily interested in Philosophy of Race, Philosophy of Law, Feminist Philosophy, Phenomenology, and Metaethics.

Hobbies: I like poetry, reading, going to the beach, and superhero shows.

Adam Waggoner (Green Bay, Wisconsin)

Previous Education: B.A. Philosophy at Concordia Unviversity Wisconsin; M.A. Philosophy at Western Michigan University

Philosophical Topics of Interest: I am primarily interested in ancient philosophy (esp. Aristotle), moral psychology, metaethics, and philosophy of emotion

Hobbies: Outside of my studies, my hobbies include running, chess, and theater