Ben Vilhauer

Professor, Chair of the Department of Philosophy

Main Affiliation


Areas of Expertise/Research

  • Critique of Retribution
  • Free Will
  • Kantian Ethics
  • Philosophy of Punishment


North Academic Center







Ben Vilhauer


Prof. Vilhauer has an A.B. in Philosophy from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Chicago. He is currently Professor and Chair of the City College Philosophy Department. 

His research interests include free will theory, Kantian ethics, and non-retributive approaches to the philosophy of criminal law. He has published a variety of articles on these topics in edited volumes and journals including The Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, the Canadian Journal of Philosophy, the American Philosophical Quarterly, and the British Journal for the History of Philosophy.



Kant on Rational SympathyCambridge University Press (Cambridge Elements: The Philosophy of Immanuel Kant), forthcoming.

Selected Articles and Chapters

"Kant on Remorse, Conversion, and the Descent into the Hell of Self-Cognition", Kantian Review, forthcoming.

"Free Will Denial, Punishment, and Original Position Deliberation", Diametros Special Issue: The Abolition of Punishment: Is a Non-Punitive Criminal Justice System Ethically Justified?, forthcoming.

"Five Perspectives on Holding Wrongdoers Responsible in Kant", British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 2024, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 100–125.

"Free Will Skepticism and Criminals as Ends in Themselves", in Palgrave Handbook of Punishment, ed. Matthew C. Altman. Palgrave Macmillan, 2023, pp. 535–556.

"An Asymmetrical Approach to Kant's Theory of Freedom", in The Idea of Freedom: New Essays on the Kantian Theory of Freedom, ed. Dai Heide and Evan Tiffany. Oxford University Press, 2023, pp. 130-149.

"Kantian Remorse with and without Self-Retribution", Kantian Review, 2022, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 421-441.

"Reason's Sympathy and Others' Ends in Kant", European Journal of Philosophy, 2022, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 96-112.

"Sages, Sympathy, and Suffering in Kant’s Theory of Friendship", Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 2021, Vol 51, No. 6, pp. 452-467.

"Reason's Sympathy and its Foundations in Productive Imagination", Kantian Review, 2021, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 455-474.

"Deontology and Deterrence for Free Will Deniers", in Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society, ed. Gregg Caruso, Derk Pereboom, and Elizabeth Shaw.  Cambridge University Press, 2019, pp. 116-138.

"Kant's Mature Theory of Punishment, and an 'Ideal Abolitionist' Alternative from the First Critique", in Palgrave Kant Handbook, ed. Matthew C. Altman.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, pp. 617-642

"Kant's Theory of Free Will", in The Routledge Companion to Free Will, ed. Kevin Timpe, Meghan Griffith, and Neil Levy.  New York: Routledge, 2016, pp. 343-355.

"Free Will and the Asymmetrical Justifiability of Holding Morally Responsible", The Philosophical Quarterly, 2015, Vol. 65, No. 261, pp. 772-789.

"Persons, Punishment, and Free Will Skepticism", Philosophical Studies, 2013, Vol. 162, No. 2, pp. 143-163.