Yosemite Valley, taken by Josh May


Josh May
Josh May's Curriculum Vitae

I’m an ethicist and cognitive scientist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (officially, Professor of Philosophy and Psychology). My work draws on scientific research to understand moral controversies and social change. In my spare time, I like to get outdoors, play guitar, cook, climb, and play catch with my daughter.


Most of my research lies at the intersection of ethics and science. My book Neuroethics (Oxford University Press, 2023) argues that human agency and mental health are diverse and flexible. And in Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind (Oxford University Press, 2018) I argue that reasoning plays a fundamental role in moral thought and action. Articles of mine have appeared in publications like the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Behavioral & Brain SciencesCognitionJournal of Medical Ethics, Mind & Language, Neuroethics, Philosophical Studies, and Synthese.


My public-facing work includes articles for newspapers and magazines (e.g. The Boston Globe, WBUR’s Cognoscenti, Psyche, The Prindle PostThe Birmingham News). I also occasionally give interviews (e.g. about the ethics of neuroscience, free will, and cultured meat) and write blog posts (e.g. about cloning, biased reasoning, and teaching).


I teach a range of philosophy courses, but my regulars are Bioethics, Neuroethics, Contemporary Moral Issues, Ethics: Theories of Good and Evil, and Intro to Philosophy. I occasionally teach seminars, which usually cover current debates in these areas. In 2017, I was honored to receive the Outstanding Professor Award from the students in UAB’s Early Medical School Acceptance Program.

From 2020-2022, I was on an Academic Cross-Training Fellowship, which relieved me from teaching while I studied neuroscience and joined Rajesh Kana’s Cognition, Brain, and Autism lab. Other professional activities include serving on the editorial board for Philosophical Psychology, working in the leadership of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology (as well as the Southern SPP), previously coaching UAB’s ethics debate team, and participating in UAB’s Institute for Human Rights.