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WonderlyMonique Wonderly

Assistant Professor

Department of Philosophy

Monique Wonderly earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at UC Riverside in 2015. Before coming to UC San Diego, she held a three-year position as the Harold T. Shapiro Postdoctoral Research Associate in Bioethics at the Princeton University Center for Human Values.

Her primary areas of interest lie at the intersection of ethics and human emotion. In particular, she is interested in how emotions and emotional processes impact moral deliberation and action, human agency more broadly, and our psychological connectedness to other persons and objects.

Her recent research has focused on developing a theory of emotional attachment and investigating how that theory might inform, and be informed by, philosophical accounts of emotions such as love and grief and bioethical questions concerning the moral agency and ethical treatment of those suffering from certain attachment-related forms of psychopathology (e.g., psychopathy and some addictions).

She is also currently working on attitudes related to moral responsibility, including forgiveness and some forms of pride. She has published in ethics, philosophy of emotion, and the history of philosophy. She will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and moral psychology.


What excites you most about coming to UC San Diego?

I am excited to be part of a community that values interdisciplinary collaboration and public outreach initiatives, as well as rigorous research in the humanities! The UC San Diego Department of Philosophy boasts an outstanding group of renowned scholars who are committed to excellence, not only in their research specialties, but also in their teaching and community involvement. Also, the School of Medicine’s cutting-edge research along with the new Institute for Practical Ethics make UC San Diego an ideal place to do innovative work in bioethics!

Why did you choose your field of study?

For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in moral psychology, and in particular, in how emotions impact how we understand and interact with the world, how they feature in views of moral obligation and moral responsibility, and how they bind us to others in special relationships. Philosophy seemed to provide the best opportunity for me to explore puzzles of those sorts.

What advice do you have for students who choose to major in arts and humanities?

Don’t be afraid to pursue the really hard questions, to think outside the box, and to see the value in learning to think more deeply and critically, no matter how elusive precise answers to those questions prove to be.

How do you view your role relative to the greater regional community?

I would like to bring philosophy to primary and secondary school students, to contribute to public education programs in the area more broadly, and to help facilitate community programs and activities that advance inclusive and fruitful conversations about ethics and public policy.

Tell us something about yourself that is not normally mentioned in your bio.

The summer before my freshman year of college, I participated in a biomedical research program at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. My small group worked on a project designed to test the efficacy of a potential HIV treatment.