Photo of David Matheson

David Matheson

Philosophy of life; epistemology

Degrees:B.A. (New Brunswick), M.A. (Carleton), Ph.D. (Brown)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 1928
Office:3A49 Paterson Hall

Associate Professor

Office Hours

Fall 2023: Thursdays, 12:30pm – 2:30pm

Courses for 2023-24

  • PHIL 1200:  Meaning of Life
  • PHIL 2003:  Critical Thinking
  • PHIL 2010: Issues in Theoretical Philosophy
  • PHIL 5850:  Proseminar

Research Interests

My research interests are in two broad areas: the philosophy of life and epistemology.

My interests in the philosophy of life are centered around the meaning of life: how we should think about it (especially from a naturalistic or secular point of view), its multiple-realizability (i.e. its many, very different forms), what’s required for a life to be characterized by it, the relationship between it and creativity, and how we should respond to pessimistic views according to which however good the meaning of life is, it’s never good enough to make things truly worthwhile in life.

In epistemology, I’m especially interested in testimony (i.e. other people’s say-so) as a source of knowledge and reasonable belief, the nature of knowledge-related values, and ethical considerations relevant to both knowledge and ignorance.

Some Recent Publications

  • Meaning in the pursuit of pleasure. The Journal of the American Philosophical Association, FirstView online, DOI: 10.1017/apa.2021.19 (2022), pp. 1—15
  • The worthwhileness of meaningful lives. Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israel 48 (2020): 313—24
  • Creativity and meaning in life. Ratio: An International Journal of Analytic P​hilosophy, 31 (2018): 73-87
  • An obligation to forget. In S. Bernecker & K. Michaelian, eds., The Routledge handbook of philosophy of memory (London: Routledge, 2017), pp. 364-7
  • Testimonial reasons. Erkenntnis: An International Journal of Scientific Philosophy, 81 (2016): 757-74
  • Fundamentality and extradimensional final value. Journal of Philosophy of Life, 5 (2015): 19-32
  • A duty of ignorance. Episteme: A Journal of Individual and Social Epistemology, 10 (2013): 193-205
  • How to be an epistemic value pluralist. Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review, 50 (2011): 391-405