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Joseph Heath

  • Fellow 2012
  • Alumni
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Director of the Centre for Ethics / Professor in the Department of Philosophy
University of Toronto / University of Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance

    Joseph Heath is the director of the Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto and a professor in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Public Policy and Governance. He began his teaching career at the University of Toronto in 1995 before spending two years as the Canada Research Chair in Ethics and Political Economy at the Department of Philosophy at the Université de Montréal, where he was a founding member of the Centre de recherche en éthique de l'Université de Montréal (CREUM). Heath returned to the University of Toronto in 2003.

    Heath was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1967. There he attended École St. Paul School and Nutana Collegiate. He received his BA in philosophy from McGill University in 1990 and his PhD in philosophy from Northwestern University in 1995. He has worked extensively in the field of critical theory, philosophy and economics, practical rationality, distributive justice, and business ethics. His papers have been published in academic journals such as Mind, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and the Canadian Journal of Philosophy. He spent time as a regular columnist writing for the Montreal Gazette and Policy Options magazine, and still contributes the occasional piece to the Literary Review of Canada and the Ottawa Citizen.

    Heath is the author of several books, both popular and academic. Filthy Lucre (HarperCollins, 2009) is an analysis of economic fallacies and the role that they play in popular political discourse. Following the Rules (Oxford University Press, 2008), reflects on the phenomenon of rule-following and its significance for rationality and social interaction. Communicative Action and Rational Choice (MIT Press, 2001) studies the work of the philosopher Jürgen Habermas. Finally, The Efficient Society (Penguin, 2001) is an articulation and defense of the logic of the Canadian welfare state. Heath is also the co-author, with Andrew Potter, of the international bestseller The Rebel Sell (HarperCollins, 2004), a critical analysis of the political ideas inspired by the 1960s model of "countercultural" rebellion. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages.