The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Section Menu

Ernesto Garcia

Assistant Professor

Ernesto Garcia

E427 South College

Ernesto V. Garcia received his BA in Philosophy and English from University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.  He then did graduate work at Harvard University, where he received a Masters in Theological Studies (M.T.S.), and at Columbia University, where he received a Ph.D. in Philosophy.  He served as the Alan and Anita Sutton Distinguished Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow at Syracuse University prior to coming to UMass-Amherst.

Professor Garcia works in history of modern philosophy (especially Hume and Kant), contemporary moral and political philosophy, metaethics, and the philosophy of action. In general, his work tends to be focused on bringing historical and contemporary issues together, showing how various historical views bear upon contemporary debates or vice versa.   Some of the main philosophical topics Garcia focuses on are:

  1. various issues in normative ethics and political philosophy, especially of a Kantian variety (e.g., dignity and respect for persons, toleration, forgiveness, duties to animals, supererogation, ideal vs. non-ideal theory, etc.)
  2. various issues in metaethics and moral psychology (e.g., autonomy and authenticity, practical reason, the nature of motivation and the internalism/externalism debate, moral sentimentalism, etc.)
  3. various topics in the history of modern philosophy (e.g., Hume’s views about personal identity, skepticism, causality; Kant’s views on causality, self-knowledge, the nature of transcendental arguments, and the overall relationship between his theoretical and practical philosophy (including what exactly Kant meant by a ‘metaphysics of morals’), etc.


In 2011, Garcia was the winner of the North American Kant Society (NAKS) Wilfrid Sellars Prize awarded for “the best essay on any topic that demonstrates the continued relevance of Kant’s philosophy written by a junior scholar” for his paper, “A New Look at Kantian Respect for Persons”.  He has also been the recipient of several teaching honors, including the UMass College of Humanities and Fine Arts (CHFA) Outstanding Teaching Award for 2013-14, being selected as a Lilly Teaching Fellow in 2010-11, and being a finalist for the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award in 2009-10.  In addition, Garcia was also recently selected to be a UMass Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (ISI) Seminar Fellow during the 2012-13 academic year.


  • “A New Look at Kantian Respect for Persons,” Kant Yearbook, Vol. 4 (2012), pp. 69-90.
  • “Bishop Butler on Forgiveness and Resentment,” Philosopher’s Imprint, Vol. 11, No. 10 (2011), pp. 1-19
  • “Value Realism and the Internalism/Externalism Debate,” Philosophical Studies, Vol. 117, Nos. 1-2 (Jan. 2004), pp. 231-258
  • “A Kantian Theory of Evil,” Monist, Vol. 85, No. 2 (April 2002), pp. 194-209