Areas of Interest

Metaethics, Ethics, Metaphysics, Political Philosophy

Contact Information

micah [dot] richey [at] rochester [dot] edu

Department of Philosophy
University of Rochester
Box 270078
Rochester, NY 14627



My dissertation is on the foundations of human rights. I am most interested in the moral grounds for human rights as opposed to merely legal, political, or practice-based grounds for them. I am currently focusing on the following questions:

  1. In virtue of what do we have human rights?
  2. Is the most plausible ground for human rights able to set apart humans from other non-human animals, or does it render the distinction morally irrelevant?
  3. Can we justify human rights (as moral rights) instrumentally, or do we need a non-instrumental justification?

I edit the Justifications of Human Rights category on PhilPapers.

Teaching and Coursework

Instructor of Record

University of Rochester
Introduction to Philosophy (Summer 2016)

Including readings from both classic and contemporary literature, the course covered general topics in philosophy including knowledge and skepticism, personal identity, free will, and the nature of morality. Throughout the course of the term students incrementally developed a small writing assignment into a term paper.

Western Michigan University
Biomedical Ethics (Summer & Fall 2012, Spring 2013)

Using Bioethics by Louis Vaughn, the course covered various topics in Medical and Bio-Research ethics (e.g. Autonomy, Paternalism, Informed Consent, Distributive Justice, and Beginning and End of Life Issues). The course was primarily targeted at future medical professionals, including both ethical theory and case-based approaches.

Teaching Assistant

University of Rochester
PHL225 Ethical Decisions in Medicine | W. Fitzpatrick (Spring 2015, 2017)
PHL103 Contemporary Moral Problems | W. Fitzpatrick (Fall 2014-2016)
PHL101 Introduction to Philosophy | H. Clatterbuck (Spring 2015)

Western Michigan University
Biomedical Ethics | D. Paul (Fall 2011, Spring 2012)

Graduate Coursework

University of Rochester (2013-2016)
Primary (Written) Examination in Metaphysics (2014)
Secondary (Oral) Examination on The Foundations of Human Rights (2016)
Writing Seminar on Theoretical Virtues | Paul Audi
Topics in Ethics (Consequentialism & Deontology) | William Fitzpatrick
Topics in Metaphysics (Conceptual Analysis) | Paul Audi
British Empiricism | Alison Peterman
Topics in Metaphysics (Fundamentality) | Alyssa Ney
Topics in Ethics (Realism and Reasons) | W. Fitzpatrick
Topics in Ancient Philosophy | D. Modrak
Metaphysics | A. Ney
Philosophy of Mind | B. Weslake
Philosophy of Language | B. Sherman
Topics in Metaphysics (Properties & Personal Identity) | E. Conee
Logical Methods | A. Ney
Philosophy of Science | B. Weslake
New Work in Virtue Ethics | W. Fitzpatrick

Western Michigan University (2011-2013)
Epistemology | M. Alspector-Kelly
Philosophy of Religion | T. McGrew
Abstract Objects | S. Cowling
Independent Study in Moral Intuitions | M. Pritchard
Practical Ethics (Moral Psychology) | M. Pritchard
Philosophy of Mind (de re and de se Attitudes) | A. Falk
Ethical Theory (Law) | F. Allhoff
Independent Study in Moral Realism | F. Allhoff
Metaphysics (Modality) | S. Cowling
Philosophy of Language | J. Dilworth

Reading Groups

University of Rochester
Essays in Collective Epistemology (Jennifer Lackey, 2015) | R. Feldman
Constructing the World (David Chalmers 2012) and The Structure of the World (Steven French, 2014) | A. Ney
Metaphysics (David Lewis) | A. Ney

Western Michigan University
Philosophy of Physics
Physicalism | S. Cowling

Curriculum Vitae

Contact me at micah [dot] richey [at] rochester [dot] edu for a complete CV.

Areas of Interest

Metaethics, Ethics, Metaphysics, Social & Political Philosophy


Ph.D., Philosophy (University of Rochester, expected 2018)
M.A., Philosophy (Western Michigan University, 2013)
B.A., Philosophy & Visual Art (Bethel College, 2010)


Instructor of Record, University of Rochester
Introduction to Philosophy (Summer 2016)

Teaching Assistant, University of Rochester
Ethical Decisions in Medicine | William Fitzpatrick (Spring 2015, 2017)
Introduction to Philosophy | Hayley Clatterbuck (Spring 2016)
Contemporary Moral Issues | William Fitzpatrick (Fall 2014-2016)

Instructor of Record, Western Michigan University
Biomedical Ethics (Summer and Fall 2012, Spring 2013)

Teaching Assistant, Western Michigan University
Biomedical Ethics | David Paul (Fall 2011, Spring 2012)


  1. “Comments on Ishtiyaque Haji, ‘Luck, Compatibilism, and Libertarianism’”, Canadian Philosophical Association Congress, University of Ottawa, 2015.
  2. “Distinguishing Virtue from Social Intelligence,” 7th Annual UAPA Graduate Conference, University at Albany, 2014.
  3. “Reframing Moral Intuitions: Primary Intuitions and Hard Cases,” Brown Bag Lecture Series, Western Michigan University, 2012.
  4. “Evolutionary Psychology and the Limits of Moral Intuitions,” Graduate Philosophy Workshop, Western Michigan University, 2012.
  5. “Comments on Barry Maguire, ‘Defending the Additive Theory of Weighing Reasons,’” 6th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference, Western Michigan University, 2012.


  1. Category Editor, Justifications of Human Rights on PhilPapers,  <>, 2017-present.
  2. Submission Reviewer, Canadian Philosophical Association Congress, 2015-2016.
  3. Assistant Organizer, Metaphysics Meets Philosophy of Physics Workshop, University of Rochester, 2014.
  4. Co-organizer, 5th & 6th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference, Western Michigan University, 2012-2013.

Contact Me

You can email me here: Micah [dot] Richey @

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