Peter Brian Barry Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Peter Brian Barry

Associate Professor of Philosophy
Saginaw Valley State University

I am Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Saginaw Valley State University. My primary interests are in ethics, broadly construed, although I am also interested in legal, social, and political philosophy. My research primarily concerns the concept of evil and how evil people differ from the rest of us. I have a series of philosophy tattoos and my sanity is preserved by my partner, Felicia, with whom I care for rather too many cats.

Subjects: Philosophy


I received my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Florida in 2005, having authored my dissertation *Wanting the Bad and Doing Bad Things: An Essay in Moral Psychology*. I had previously completed two M.A. degrees, one in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1999 and one in applied philosophy from Bowling Green State University in 2001.

I am the author of *Evil and Moral Psychology* published by Routledge (2012) and my forthcoming *The Fiction of Evil* is currently under contract with Routledge (2016). I have also published several papers, some of which concern the topic of evil, although I am also interested in matters in issues in applied ethics. I have published papers concerning the ethics of torture, I have defended marriage equality, and I am generally interested in defending a robust conception of a just liberal state.

I am currently engaged to Felicia Violet-Marie Rose with whom I live happily in Saginaw, MI along with three cats. In my spare time I am an avid reader and I enjoy playing guitar and drinking whiskey.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Moral Psychology, Philosophy of Law

Personal Interests

    Cats and stuff.



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Evil and Moral Psychology; Barry (RPD) - 1st Edition book cover


Public Affairs Quarterly

Fantasy, Conceivability, and Ticking Bombs

Published: Apr 11, 2013 by Public Affairs Quarterly
Authors: Peter Brian Barry
Subjects: Philosophy

Absolutist opponents of torture are apt to complain about thought experiments involving ticking bombs to justify the use of torture. On popular strategy is to dismiss ticking bomb scenarios as mere fantasy—to contend that they are not really possible. This “the fantasy complaint” is mistaken, but opponents of torture have a range of better options available to defend their opposition.

Public Affairs Quarterly

The Ethics of Voluntary Amputation

Published: Jan 11, 2012 by Public Affairs Quarterly
Authors: Peter Brian Barry
Subjects: Philosophy

I consider several issues related to the ethic of voluntary amputation, especially autonomy and informed consent. I argue that “wannabes”—persons who want to become amputees—may well be autonomous, it is unclear that wannabes can adequately consent to becoming an amputee. I argue that wannabes cannot know “what it’s like” in a way that this undermines their ability to consent, such that prohibiting voluntary amputation is not unethical.

Social Theory and Practice

Same-Sex Marriage and the Charge of Illiberality

Published: Apr 11, 2011 by Social Theory and Practice
Authors: Peter Brian Barry
Subjects: Philosophy

Some have argued that it is the recognition of same-sex marriage--not its prohibition--that conflicts with liberalism's commitments. I refer to the thesis that recognition of same-sex marriage is illiberal as "The Charge." As a sympathetic liberal, I take The Charge seriously and ultimately reject it. Ultimately, I contend that The Charge is simply misguided and that arguments for it either fail to find support in some liberal principle or else find support from some illiberal principle.

American Philosophical Quarterly

Moral Saints, Moral Monsters, and the Mirror Thesis

Published: Apr 11, 2009 by American Philosophical Quarterly
Authors: Peter Brian Barry
Subjects: Philosophy

A number of philosophers have been impressed with the thought that moral saints and moral monsters—or, evil people, to put it less sensationally—“mirror” one another. The project of this paper is to cash out the metaphorical suggestion that moral saints and evil persons mirror one other and to articulate the most plausible literal version of the mirror thesis.