Chris Melenovsky, PhD

Assistant Professor, Philosophy

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On leave, Spring 2023

Director, Politics, Philosophy, & Economics


PhD, University of Pennsylvania
BA, University of Michigan


Professor Melenovsky’s research is on the moral significance of social practices and institutions. This work extends from highly structured practices like legal systems and property norms to less formal practices in family life and professions. He draws from political philosophy to evaluate these practices and from moral theory to determine how these practices affect how individuals should act. He is currently working on a book project titled “Kantian Conventionalism” that tries to reconcile the moral importance of social contingency with Kantian moral ideals. The first part argues for an analysis of social practices and institutions while the second applies Kantian moral principles to guide individual choice within these practices.

Research interests

Political/Social Philosophy

Moral Philosophy

Philosophy of Economics

Legal Philosophy

Kantian Ethics

John Rawls

History of Ethics

History of Political Economy 

Employment History


Assistant Professor: Utica College, Philosophy Department


Research Assistant Professor: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, PPE Program

Sample Publications

“The Implicit Argument for the Basic Liberties” Res Publica 24 (4): 433-454.

“Promises, Practices, and Reciprocity” Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266): 106-126.

“Incentives, Conventionalism, and Constructivism” Ethics 126 (3): 549-574.

“The Basic Structure as a System of Social Practices” Social Theory and Practice, Vol. 39, No. 4

Portrait of Chris Melenovsky

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Office Hours

Courses Taught

  • PHIL-120 Ethics and Civic Life
  • PHIL-318 Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL-362 Environmental Ethics
  • PHIL-414 Capitalism, Equality, & Justice
  • PHIL-618 Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL-662 Environmental Ethics
  • PHIL-H120 Honors Ethics and Civic Life
  • PHIL-H123 Honors Social Ethics: The Good Life
  • PHIL-H318 Honors Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL-H414 Capitalism, Equality, & Justice
  • PPE-401 Political Economy
  • PPE-H401 Honors Political Economy