James Stacey Taylor

James Stacey Taylor

Associate Professor
The College of New Jersey

James Stacey Taylor is currently an associate professor at The College of New Jersey. He spends a lot of time thinking and writing about autonomy – an area of philosophy that helps us understand when individuals are truly motivated by their own concerns, hopes, desires, and wills.

A transplant from Scotland to the United States, he earned his PhD from Bowling Green State University. Professor Taylor has amassed an enviable publishing record in the Journal of Value Inquiry, Philosophical Quarterly, and Eidos.

He is editor of Personal Autonomy: New essays (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and author of Stakes and Kidneys: Why markets in human body parts are morally imperative (Ashgate, 2005), monograph on the moral and ethical implications of kidney sales.

Taylor also works in an area of ethics which seeks to apply moral and ethical lessons from philosophy to real world questions. For instance, his work on autonomy helps physicians understand when patients' decisions about their own care are truly their own and ought to be respected.

Professor Taylor benefited from a range of IHS programs during his graduate school years – funding helped him attend various academic conferences where he was able to network with leading philosophers and present his own work, scholarship money helped Taylor complete his Ph.D. more quickly, and discussion colloquia and seminars helped him think through ideas related to his research.

Students: Want to hear Professor Taylor in-person? Apply for the free IHS Summer Seminars and spend a week discussing ideas with great faculty and participants from around the world.  Find out more.


Blog Posts

Was Jeremy Bentham a Classical Liberal at heart?

Jeremy Bentham was born on Feb. 15th, 1748, in Spitalfields, England. One of the main early advocates of utilitarianism — the ethical view that, roughly, an act is right insofar…


Giants of the Scottish Enlightenment Part Three: David Hume

Prof. James Stacey Taylor discusses the work and contributions of David Hume, who, like Adam Smith, was heavily influenced by Francis Hutcheson. Hume’s philosophy took Hutcheson’s views towards sentimentalism to…

Giants of the Scottish Enlightenment Part Two: Adam Smith

Prof. James Stacey Taylor discusses the contributions of Adam Smith with a particular focus on his philosophy. Smith is most famous for two works: The Wealth of Nations and The…

Giants of the Scottish Enlightenment Part One: Francis Hutcheson

Prof. James Stacey Taylor discusses the contributions of Francis Hutcheson, an intellectual of the Scottish Enlightenment who was instrumental in advancing the sentimentalist approach to morality. In this approach, Hutcheson…

Markets in Kidneys: A Moral Case

Prof. James Stacey Taylor argues that willing rational adults should be allowed to buy and sell kidneys. Instead of providing complex theoretical arguments, one can look at the human stories…

The Harm Principle

According to Prof. James Stacey Taylor, John Stuart Mill’s harm principle has been one of the most influential political principles on classical liberalism.  The harm principle states that the only…