Ramona Ilea, PhD

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Ethics and Society

First-Year Seminar: Meaning, Origins, Identity

Environmental Ethics

Animal Ethics

Language and Logic

Ethics, Medicine, and Health Care

Ethics and Civic Engagement

Philosophy of Mathematics

Topics in Moral Philosophy (a 400-level course focused on one topic, e.g., it was focused on Sympathy and Empathy in 2012)

Research Interests

There is a common conception that philosophy is interesting and deep, but it does not make much of a difference in the real world. This is in part because in the 20th century, philosophers in the Anglo-American, or analytic, tradition aspired to the objectivity of the sciences; and this aspiration led philosophers to think that they needed to be neutral on controversial social/political issues. My work fits within a growing movement to reverse this trend. I argue that it is possible for philosophical work to contribute to public debates and social issues in ways that do not undermine our roles as philosophers. Through systematic and rigorous thinking about our distinctive roles, skills, and knowledge, philosophers will be better able to make valuable contributions to important social issues. Philosophers' engagement in the world, collaboration with others, and the motivation to search more deeply for new and innovative ideas will enrich and further issues of public concern.

My most recent research includes work done during my 2012-2013 sabbatical:

  • I set up a website on civic engagement in philosophy classes, Engaged Philosophy 
  • I co-edited a book, Consequentialism and Environmental Ethics, published by Routledge in December 2013
  • I did 15 conference presentations and wrote an article on utilitarianism and sympathy


PhD Philosophy, University of Minnesota, 2006

MA Philosophy, University of Minnesota, 2003

BA Philosophy, University of Toronto, 2000

Selected Service

Department Chair, Philosophy Department, Summer 2013-present

Pacific University Sustainability Committee, Chair: Fall 2010-Spring 2012, Chair Elect: Fall 2009-Spring 2010

Member, Advisory Board, Pacific Center for Civic Engagement, Fall 2009-Spring 2012

Faculty adviser for the Philosophy Club, Fall 2007-2012

Faculty adviser for the Animal Ethics Club, Spring 2009-Present

Faculty Representative in the Undergraduate Community Council (PUCC) and the Campus Life subcommitee, Spring 2007-Spring 2009

Member of the Feminist Studies Curriculum Committee, Fall 2006-Fall 2008

Member of the Pacific University Art Committee, Fall 2007-Spring 2008

Publications and Presentations

“Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach and Non-Human Animals: Theory and Public Policy” (in the Journal of Social Philosophy), "Beyond Service Learning: Civic Engagement in Ethics Classes" (in Teaching Philosophy), “Intensive Livestock Farming: Global Trends, Increased Environmental Concerns, and Ethical Solutions" (in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics), “The ‘Mutant’ Cure or Social Change? Debating Disability and the X-Men” (in X-Men and Philosophy), "Hume and Singer on Sympathy," "Publicly Engaged Philosophy,""Biotechnologies of Gender: Coercive or Liberatory?" “The New Green: When Pigs Fly … Off Our Plates,” "Gender Identity Disorder: A Disorder?" "Parmenides' Two Routes of Inquiry: Reassembling the Jigsaw Puzzle," and "Women and Art: Embodiment and Self-Representation."

Teaching Interests

My teaching and my research are highly connected. When I teach, I aim to show students that studying philosophy is not just intellectually stimulating but also a powerful tool that can enable us to understand, analyze, and change the world.


I like to make crafts out of recycled materials. For example I made a dress and jewelry made out of 27 containers of Purely Decadent ice cream (the best ice cream ever)! It was an outfit I wore on Halloween and it was part of Junk to Funk, a fashion show of outfits made from recycled materials. Right now, I'm into making things with little bits of fabric and modifying clothes (real clothes, not ice cream container ones!). I'm also into crocheting with plarn (yarn made from torn/useless plastic bags), making rugs, purses, etc. Plarn is an awesome material to work with (google it if you want to know more. I also make wallets from soy milk and juice containers as well as beads/jewelry from all kinds of scrap paper and other "trash." Unlike other kinds of activism I do, this is not a social justice project. It's just relaxing!

Office Location: 
Drake House 201 (Forest Grove)