Specialising in the Philosophy of Emotion and Philosophy of Action, I am a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a book review editor for Philosophical Psychology.

My general interest is in understanding the role that emotion plays in both our personal and social lives. My primary research aim, starting with my PhD (‘Feeling Reasons: How emotions explain action’, supervised by Dr Maria Alvarez and Prof. Bill Brewer at King’s College London), is to contribute towards developing a robust conception of rational agency, one that acknowledges our emotional nature and that is able to incorporate emotions into an account of how we do indeed act in many of the cases when we act rationally. Between 2020 and 2022, I was a recipient of a National Research Foundation Thuthuka grant for a project titled ‘Working with anger: A step towards a philosophy of emotion for Africa’.

In addition to my theoretical work on how emotions may or may not contribute to rational action, I am also interested in particular emotions such as anger – how we can assess their rational and moral status in political contexts, for instance – as well as how theoretical work on emotion can inform more applied debates, such as within bioethics. I have recently drawn on some of this applied work in collaborative work on the ethics of AI, particularly within an African context. I am a co-chair for the Working Group on Digital Earth Governance and Ethics of the International Society for Digital Earth, and an expert member of the Global AI Ethics Institute.

You can contact me via email: mary.carman[at]wits.ac.za