Vance Ricks '92

Departments and Positions:
Philosophy, Associate Professor of Philosophy
School Extension 316.2229
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Education:Teaching-Higher Education
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Education:Teaching-Higher Education
Stanford Univ, PHD
Guilford College, '92

Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, I've also lived or studied in Munich, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Minneapolis/St Paul.  Before going to graduate school, I worked as a technical writer and computer programmer at IBM in the Research Triangle Park.  I'm an enthusiastic bicycle rider, a decent alto sax player and an excellent uncle.

Research Interests and Questions

  • What can we learn about the value of friendship if we think of it as a kind of shared activity?
  • Did the 19th-century British philosopher John Stuart Mill believe that moral judgments and moral values were "objective" or "subjective"? Can we even apply those contemporary concepts to describe his views?
  • Can digital tools and technologies help us to achieve basic goods such as friendship, self expression and political engagement? Can they help us to lead good lives?

Courses Taught (A Partial List)

  • PHIL 100:  Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL 111:  Ethics
  • PHIL 200:  Informal Logic
  • PHIL 231:  Philosophy and Sexuality
  • PHIL 241:  Ethics in a Digital World
  • PHIL 320:  Modern Western Philosophy
  • PHIL 333:  John Stuart Mill
  • PHIL 401:  Senior Philosophy Capstone course (topic:  happiness)
  • IDS 401:  Digital Selves

Selected Recent Presentation and Publications

  • "Are Online Friends Really Friends?" presented to the Greensboro Lecture League, Greensboro, N.C., June 2015
  • "Naked On The Internet:  Ethics, Social Media, and (Self-)Exposure", presented at UNC-Greensboro, April 2015
  • "Gossip In The Digital Age", in Social Media and the Value of Truth, edited by Berrin Beasley and Mitchell Haney, 53-62. Lexington Books, 2012. Discussed in an interview on the Hearsay Cultuer podcast, June 13, 2013, here: