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Dr. Kenneth Silver

Assistant Professor (Trinity Business School)


Dr. Silver is an Assistant Professor in Business Ethics at Trinity College Dublin, and he teaches courses on ethical conduct both within and outside of the marketplace. Dr. Silver researches on an array of cross-disciplinary topics relevant to appropriate business conduct, exploring questions about what corporations are, what they are for, and the extent of their responsibilities and rights. Dr. Silver graduated with a Bachelors degree in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Southern California with the dissertation, ""The Constitution of Action." After his doctorate, and before taking up his current position, Dr. Silver was a Dornsife Preceptor at the University of Southern California, teaching a class on whether corporations are people.
  Business Ethics   corporate personhood   METAPHYSICS   PHILOSOPHY OF ACTION
Details Date
Society for Business Ethics representative for the American Philosophical Association
Details Date From Date To
Academy of Management 2018 current
Society for Business Ethics 2017 current
American Philosophical Association 2014 current
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Society 2018 current
International Social Ontology Society 2018 current
Kenneth Silver, When Should the Master Answer?: Respondeat Superior and the Criminal Law, Criminal Law and Philosophy, 2022, Journal Article, ACCEPTED
Kenneth Silver, Group Action without Group Minds, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 104, (2), 2022, p321 - 342, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Kenneth Silver, Backwards Causation in Social Institutions, Erkenntnis, 2022, Journal Article, ACCEPTED
Kenneth Silver, Corporate Weakness, Society for Business Ethics 2022 Annual Conference, 2022, Oral Presentation, PRESENTED
Kenneth Silver, Must I Forgive? Elective Forgiveness and Self-Respect, Rocky Mountains Ethics Congress, 2022, Poster, PRESENTED
Kenneth Silver, Divested: Inequality in the Age of Finance, by Ken-Hou Lin and Megan Tobias Neely. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. 232 pp., Review of Divested: Inequality in the Age of Finance, Ken-Hou Lin and Megan Tobias Neely , Business Ethics Quarterly, 32, (1), 2022, p203-207 , Review, PUBLISHED
Wronging by Requesting in, editor(s)Mark Timmons , Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 11, Oxford University Press, 2021, [N. G. Laskowski, Kenneth Silver], Book Chapter, ACCEPTED
Kenneth Silver, Markets Within the Limit of Feasibility, Journal of Business Ethics, 2021, Journal Article, ACCEPTED
Kenneth Silver, Emergence within Social Systems, Synthese, 199, (3-4), 2021, p7865 - 7887, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Kenneth Silver, Respondeat Superior and the Criminal Law: To Whom Should the Master Answer?, Criminal Theory Conference Workshop, online, 2021, 2021, Oral Presentation, PRESENTED

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Kenneth Silver, What's Immoral About Investing in Immoral Corporations?, Colloquium Series, FHWien der WKW, 03/2020, 2020, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
Kenneth Silver, Corporate Mens Rea, Symposium on Alex Sarch's Criminally Ignorant: Why the Law Pretends We Know What We Don't, Trinity College Dublin, 2019, Invited Talk, PRESENTED


Award Date
Teaching Excellence Award from Trinity Business School 2022
Finalist for Best Conference Paper Award, Society for Business Ethics Annual Meeting 2022
Finalist for Best Conference Paper Award, Society for Business Ethics Annual Meeting 2018
Society for Business Ethics Founders' Award 2017
Worth Award - awarded annually to an undergraduate by the UNC Chapel Hill Philosophy Department for scholarship 2010
The background of my research is within analytic philosophy, where my dissertation was in the philosophy of action and on the question of how to distinguish an action from a mere body movement. For the past five years, however, the core of my research has involved using this background in agency and responsibility to think in particular about corporate agency, or the question of whether corporations act and are responsible in some way distinctly from their employees. This has pushed me towards an eclectic and interdisciplinary approach, making contributions across philosophy, business ethics and management scholarship. At times, I leverage work from within subfields of philosophy to directly address questions of corporate agency. For example, I have applied the work on moral status within ethics to the question of corporate personhood; I have applied work on reasons in metaethics to the question of how corporations can act for reasons; I have applied work on answerability in the responsibility literature to the question of whether firms should be held responsibility in the criminal law via respondeat superior. At other times, this emphasis on corporations and the social world has led me to make contributions directly in philosophical subfields. For example, recognizing how firms must instantiate weakness of will, I have published a paper on how we can act weakly out of habit; I have used the context of the social world to publish a new conception of emergence in the philosophy of science; I have argued that certain regular occurrences in the corporate world can be used to argue for the existence of backwards causation in the metaphysics literature. And apart from these, I continue to make contributions on core questions across these fields, maintaining a stake in disparate debates and finding new ways to bridge these areas.