photo of Paul McNamara

Paul McNamara

Phone: (603) 862-3078
Office: Philosophy, Hamilton Smith Hall Rm 249F, Durham, NH 03824

Paul concentrates his research in ethical theory, deontic logic, and the philosophy of moral language. He is best known for his work in deontic logic—having authored (or co-authored) book-length overviews of deontic logic (in the _Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy_, in the _Handbook of the History of Logic, vol. 7: Logic and the Modalities in the Twentieth Century_, and in the _Handbook of Deontic Logic and Normative Systems, Vol 1_) and, in particular, for a number of formal articles where he identifies logical schemes that make room for supererogation and other concepts of common sense morality, as well as informal ethical theory articles on the same topic. Some of his work and that of others in this area is summarized in his entry “Logics for Supererogation and Allied Normative Concepts” in the _Handbook of Deontic Logic and Normative Systems, Vol.2_. He was a fellow at the Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, oversees the Northern New England Philosophical Association, and serves on the steering committees for the DEON conference series, and for the newer Formal Ethics conference series.

Courses Taught

  • PHIL 410: Happiness and Well-Being
  • PHIL 412: Beginning Logic
  • PHIL 447: AIs, Robots, and People
  • PHIL 495: Tutorial Reading
  • PHIL 530: Ethics
  • PHIL 701: Topics in Value Theory


  • Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • M.A., Philosophy, University of Missouri - Columbia
  • B.A., City University of New York

Research Interests

  • Deontic logic
  • Ethical theory
  • Happiness/well-being
  • Philosophy of moral language

Selected Publications

  • VAN DE PUTTE, F., & MCNAMARA, P. (2022). NEIGHBOURHOOD CANONICITY FOR EK, ECK, AND RELATIVES: A CONSTRUCTIVE PROOF. The Review of Symbolic Logic, 15(3), 607-623. doi:10.1017/s1755020321000319

  • McNamara, P., Jones, A. J. I., & Brown, M. A. (Eds.) (2022). Agency, Norms, Inquiry, and Artifacts: Essays in Honor of Risto Hilpinen. Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-90749-5

  • McNamara, P. (2022). A Natural Conditionalization of the DWE Framework. In Synthese Library (pp. 113-136). Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-90749-5_7

  • McNamara, P. (2021). Logics for Supererogation and Allied Normative Concepts. In D. Gabbay, J. Horty, X. Parent, R. van der Meyden, & L. van der Torre, (Eds.), The Handbook of Deontic Logic and Normative Systems, Volume 2 (pp. 155-306). College Publications. Retrieved from

  • MCNAMARA, P. (2011). SYMPOSIUM ON THE WORK OF CHRISTINE M. KORSGAARD INTRODUCTION. Metaphilosophy, 42(4), 349-352. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9973.2011.01698.x

  • McNamara, P. (2011). Praise, blame, obligation, and DWE: Toward a framework for classical supererogation and kin. Journal of Applied Logic, 9(2), 153-170. doi:10.1016/j.jal.2009.09.007

  • McNamara, P. (2008). Praise, Blame, Obligation, and Beyond: Toward a Framework for Classical Supererogation and Kin. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (pp. 233-247). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-70525-3_18

  • McNamara, P. (2006). Deontic logic. In Handbook of the History of Logic (pp. 197-288). Elsevier. doi:10.1016/s1874-5857(06)80029-4

  • McNamara, P. (2004). Agential obligation as non-agential personal obligation plus agency. Journal of Applied Logic, 2(1), 117-152. doi:10.1016/j.jal.2004.01.006

  • McNamara, P. (1996). Making room for going beyond the call. Mind, 105(419), 415-450. doi:10.1093/mind/105.419.415