Alexandra King

Associate Professor


  • Ph.D. in Philosophy, Brown University 
  • B.A. in Philosophy with Honors, Minor in Mathematics, University of Chicago


My research is generally concerned with moral and aesthetic oughts, reasons, and normativity.

I have written extensively about the 'ought implies can' principle, according to which we (roughly) can do anything we are morally obligated to do. I have argued against this in a few articles and in my monograph, What We Ought and What We Can (Routledge, 2019).

Currently, I am thinking through what aesthetic normativity looks like: the shape it takes, its parallels and interactions with other varieties of normativity (like the moral and epistemic), and whether it can be said to exist at all.

Within aesthetics, I am also interested in an assortment of issues, including subtlety, high and low art, aesthetic/artistic agency, and applied arts.

I also own, run, and regularly write for the aesthetics and philosophy of art blog Aesthetics for Birds, which aims to make concepts and arguments in academic aesthetics accessible to a wide, public audience.



Below is a list of selected publications. For a full list, please see my website.


What We Ought and What We Can, Routledge, 2019


"The Culpable Inability Problem for Synchronic and Diachronic 'Ought Implies Can'", Journal of Moral Philosophy, 2019
"The Amoralist and the Anaesthetic", Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 2018
"'Ought Implies Can': Not So Pragmatic After All", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2018
"The Virtue of Subtlety and the Vice of a Heavy Hand", The British Journal of Aesthetics, 2017
"Actions That We Ought, But Can't", Ratio, 2014