Michael Byron | Department of Philosophy | Kent State University

Michael Byron

Michael Byron

Michael Byron

Michael Byron is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Kent State University, where he has held an appointment since 1997. He earned an A.B. cum laude in religion from Princeton University (1986) and an M.A.R. magna cum laude in ethics from Yale University (1990). Between those degrees he spent two years teaching English, literature, and drama at Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan.

After receiving his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1996, he spent a year at The Ethics Center of the University of South Florida supported by a Frances Elvidge Post-doctoral Fellowship. During 2004–05, he was Visiting Fulbright Scholar in Philosophy at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

His research interests include normative ethical theory, rational choice theory, and the history of ethics. His books include:

  1. Submission and Subjection in Leviathan: Good Subjects in the Hobbesian Commonwealth (monograph, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
  2. Satisficing and Maximizing: Moral Theorists on Practical Reason (edited volume, Cambridge University Press, 2004).
  3. Research Ethics: Text and Readings (with Deborah Barnbaum, Prentice Hall, 2001).

He has published journal articles in ethical theory, metaethics, the history of ethics, and theory of rationality. His most cited articles are:

  1. "Satisficing and Optimality," Ethics 109 (1998): 67–93.
  2. "Why My Opinion Shouldn't Count:  Revenge, Retribution, and the Death Penalty Debate," Journal of Social Philosophy 31 (2000): 307–315.
  3. "Simon’s Revenge:  or, Incommensurability and Satisficing," Analysis 65 (2005): 311–315.

At Kent State, he often teaches Introduction to Formal Logic, Ethical Theory, Metaethics, and Ancient Greek Philosophy. He is past president of the Ohio Philosophical Association, former chair of the American Philosophical Association Committee on Philosophy and Computers, and former Executive Board Member of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy. He serves as Sovereign (chief executive) of the International Hobbes Association. His current research project aims to articulate a novel conception of authority and responsibility in Hobbes's account of the foundation of commonwealths.


Job Title

Professor & Chair

Job Department

Philosophy Department

Office Location

320 Bowman Hall