Erich Hatala Matthes

ematthes@wellesley.edu

781.283.3476
Philosophy
B.A., Yale University; Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley)



Erich Hatala Matthes
Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Researches and teaches moral and political philosophy, environmental ethics, heritage ethics, and philosophy of art.


My primary research interests concern moral and political issues related to art, cultural heritage, and the environment. In recent publications I have challenged the common assumption that historically valuable things are necessarily irreplaceable (Ethics, 2013), and offered a revised understanding of the traditional dichotomoy between impersonal and personal value in light of debate over the evaluative scope of cultural heritage (Ethics, forthcoming).

I am currently working on essays that explore moral objections to cultural appropriation in the arts, repatriation of cultural heritage objects, and the implications that restoration debates in art and ecology have for more general comittments to preserving valuable things. I love how philosophy provides conceptual tools for exploring diverse topics, and in that spirit I am also working on an essay that explores the moral tension that attends loving people in virtue of harmful features of their identities. 

I teach in all of my research areas, and my teaching has an important impact on the shape of my research. I teach Introduction to Moral Philosophy, Ethical Theories, Environmental Ethics, and Philosophy of Art. In the Spring of 2015, I will offer a seminar on moral questions about history and heritage. I am also a member of the Advisory Faculty for Environmental Studies.

I am the husband of Jaclyn Hatala Matthes, a scientist whose research focuses on global environmental change, specifically with respect to the carbon cycle and ecosystem ecology. She is an Assistant Professor of Geography (and Adjunct in Biology) at Dartmouth.

Outside of philosophy, I enjoy playing games, going to the movies, hiking, trying new restaurants, exploring my neighborhood, and spending time with friends and family.