Honors Fellowships

Adam Lerner

Name: Adam Lerner
Title of Project:
Rehabilitating the Consequentialist View of Moral Responsibility
Advisor: Matthew Haug
Honors Department: Philosophy

I will be defending a heretofore unpopular account of moral responsibility that ties the appropriateness of blame, praise, punishment, and reward to their beneficial effects on future behavior. The view has potentially radical implications for both the law and everyday interpersonal relations. Without the Honors Fellowship, I would undoubtedly be working a full-time day job this summer, preparing for my honors thesis only on nights and weekends when I would likely be far too tired to concentrate on philosophy. By removing the opportunity cost of doing academic research full-time, the Honors Fellowship will allow me to dig into the literature, develop my ideas, and begin writing before the fall semester even begins in August. Furthermore, the Honors Fellowship will provide me with sufficient time that I would not have during the academic year to carry out empirical studies that may play a crucial role in my thesis.

Hometown: Glen Allen, VA
Majors: Philosophy and Psychology
Future Plans: I plan to pursue a Ph. D. in philosophy at a program that allows me to supplement my theorizing with original psychological research. Afterwards, I hope to secure a research and teaching position at a university that is small enough to allow personal interaction with students but large enough to provide the resources of a well-endowed research university. Ultimately, I hope to make valuable contributions not only to the lives of students and the discipline of philosophy, but also to public debates about morality.
Campus Activities: In August, I will be entering my second year as President of the Philosophy Club and my third year as a Resident Assistant for freshmen. Next spring will be my third season as a member of the Hy-Per Arts Ensemble, the performance art ensemble on campus.
Hobbies: I enjoy playing bass guitar and upright bass, as well as fiddling around on the hammered dulcimer. I also love cooking and eating vegan food.
Fun Fact: I make an embarrassing amount of puns. I was also recently awarded a Beinecke Scholarship.

Follow Adam’s research on the W&M Honors Fellowships blog!