Joel Martinez

Department Chair of Philosophy and Associate Professor of Philosophy

John R. Howard Hall 231, MSC: 45
Office Hours:

Professor Martinez is on the Italy Overseas Program for Spring 2023.

“My aim in teaching is to express to the students how puzzling and interesting the everyday world is. We talk about morality, the external world, social institutions and other minds every day. However, philosophical reflection shows us that when we use these everyday ideas we do so in ways that are loaded with assumptions and involve commitments or implications we do not always notice. Philosophy is practical, important, and also just plain interesting.”

I study the history of moral philosophy as well as contemporary moral theory. My work focuses on moral decision-making and moral theory. I argue that reasoning about who we aim to be and what lives we aim to live are effective ways to make practical decisions. In addition, I do not think there is a useful or accurate distinction between theory & practice. One need not have a PhD in Philosophy to engage in deep philosophical reflection about morality. Similarly, in my view, abstract theorizing about morality is, and ought to be, a practical endeavor.

Most of my research has focused on the development of Virtue Ethics and Moral Psychology. I am now studying moral decision-making and Artificial Intelligence. I am also studying and developing courses in Latin American Philosophy. I think this is an exciting time to research and teach Philosophy.

My publications have appeared in The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Apeiron, Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, An Anthology of Philosophical Studies (ATINER), Journal of Ethics, Philosophy and Global Affairs, among others

I am honored to have received the 2010 Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award, administered by Pomona College and the American Council of Learned Societies.

During my free time, I like to hike with my dog in the forests surrounding Portland.

Academic Credentials

PhD 2006 University of Arizona

MA 1999 Michigan State University

BA 1997 New Mexico State University


Fall 2023 Courses:


PHIL 250: Philosophical Methods
TTH 9:40PM - 11:10AM

Some of the main methods, concepts, distinctions, and areas of systematic philosophical inquiry. Including basic tools for argument, such as validity, soundness, probability, and thought experiments; basic tools for assessment, such as the rule of excluded middle, category mistakes, and conceivability; and basic tools for conceptual distinctions, such as a priori versus a posteriori and analytic versus synthetic. Includes methods, such as the history of philosophy, naturalized philosophy, conceptual analysis, and phenomenology, as well as areas of systemic philosophical approach, such as empiricism, rationalism, naturalism, realism, idealism, internalism, externalism, and nominalism.
Prerequisites: PHIL 101.

PHIL 452: Latin American Philosophy
TTH 11:30AM - 1:00PM

In this course we study one theme that characterizes the majority of Latin American Philosophy in the broad sense. Namely, the importance of lived experience, historical location, one’s political and social reality, and privilege or lack thereof, to philosophical truth. This is a view that many broadly refer to as historicism. More specifically, we study how philosophers from North American indigenous communities develop, argue for, apply and critique historicism. So, one might describe this course (though your professor does not) as a seminar in Native American Philosophy (Or North American Indian Philosophy. 
Prerequisites: PHIL 101. PHIL 250. One 300-level philosophy course.

Professional Experience

I am honored to have received the 2010 Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award, administered by Pomona College and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Location: J.R. Howard Hall