Stephen Finlay

About Me

I am Professor and Director of the new Institute for Philosophy at Australian Catholic University, based in Melbourne, Australia (beginning May 2019). (Profile)

I am also Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, where I have taught since 2002. (Profile)

I received my BA and MA from the University of Auckland (NZ), and my PhD from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2001.


My research focuses especially on metaethics and philosophical moral psychology, especially the meaning of evaluative language, the nature of normativity, and how our evaluative judgments are related to motivation.

I defend the view that evaluative judgments are factual judgments about the world made from the perspective of our concern about particular ends (the End-Relational Theory). Methodologically, I hold that we can learn much about the nature of our evaluative concepts by studying natural language.

Visit my research page to view my publications.


For ACU-related correspondence, please email me at Stephen.Finlay (at)

For all other correspondence, please email me at finlay (at)

Books, Interviews, Talks


Listen: Podcast Interviews

Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot Podcast Episode: Interview about my paper "The Error in the Error Theory" (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 2008) - Oct. 12, 2009.

The Twilight Zone Zone Podcast Episode: Conversation about The Twilight Zone episode "People are Alike All Over" - 

Philosophy Un(phil)tered Podcast Episode: Interview about my paper "Oughts and Ends" (Philosophical Studies 2009) - May 16, 2017.

Upcoming Talks

Nanjing Normal University, May 8 & 9, 2019

Nanjing University, May 10, 2019

East China Normal University, May 13, 2019

Fudan University, May 14, 2019

Canadian Philosophical Association Meeting, Vancouver, June 1, 2019