Dr. Guy Axtell

Professor of Philosophy; Faculty Fellow, Radford University Honors Academy

Dr. Guy Axtell

Hemphill Hall 4205

Ph.D. University of Hawaii'i

Bio: Dr. Guy Axtell is Professor of Philosophy and Faculty Fellow of the Radford University Honors Academy. He received the Outstanding Scholar Award for 2012-2013 in the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences. His research addresses areas of epistemology and analytic and comparative philosophy of religion. When not teaching or writing, “Dr. Ax” often seeks his ataraxia* through biking, tennis, skiing, windsurfing, and curiously speaking about himself in the third person.

*Ataraxia: Ancient Greek term for psychic balance and “freedom from disquiet.”


In December 2018, Dr. Axtell published Problems of Religious Luck: Assessing the Limits of Reasonable Religious Disagreement.

Teaching interests: Epistemology and metaphysics, philosophy of science, “STS” or science, technology and society studies, and philosophy of religion. 

Research interests: Sampling of recent and forthcoming research included below.

Papers and abstracts are available at PhilPapers and Academia.edu.


  • 2022 NEH Fellow, Summer Institute (4 weeks) 2022: David Hume in the 21st Century: Perpetuating the Enlightenment. 
  • 2022 Hayek Travel Award, from George Mason University’s Institute of Humane Studies.


Papers and selected publications

  • 2022a. “Natural Thoughts and Unnatural ‘Oughts’: Lessing, Wittgenstein, and the ‘Ugly, Broad Ditch’” In Robert Vinten (ed.), Wittgenstein and the Cognitive Science of Religion. Bloomsbury, forthcoming
  • 2022b. “Wittgenstein and the ABC’s of Religious Epistemics.” In Wittgenstein and the Epistemology of Religious Belief, Duncan Pritchard and Nuno Carlos Venturina (eds.). Oxford University Press.
  • 2022c. “Partiality Traps and the Need for Risk-Aware Ethics and Epistemology” forthcoming in Virtuous and Vicious Partiality [Proceedings of conference, Christopher Newport U, Feb. 2022]
  • 2023a. “David Hume and the Evolution of Social Co-operation” (conference paper, under review)
  • 2023b. “How to Erase the ‘Enemy in the Mirror’: Phenomenology, Genealogy, and the Potential for ‘Reverse Engineering’ presented at Confronting Discrimination: Phenomenological and Genealogical Perspectives and Critical Genealogies Workshop, Oct 2022, Richmond VA]
  • “Navigating the Dialectics of Objectivity.” In The Future of Social Epistemology: A Collective Vision. James Collier (ed.) Rowman & Littlefield (2015), 97-106.  
  • “Moral Learning, Imagination, and the Space of Humor.” Draft for 11th East-West Philosopher’s Conference, Honolulu, U. of Hawaii,  East-West Center, 2016.
  • “William James on Pragmatism and Religion.” In William James, Moral Philosophy, and the Ethical Life: The Cries of the Wounded.  Jacob Goodson (ed.), Lexington Books (2016).
  • “The Emotions in James’ Principles of Psychology.” In William James, Moral Philosophy, and the Ethical Life: The Cries of the Wounded. Jacob Goodson (ed.), Lexington Books (2016).
  • “Possibility and Permission? Intellectual Character, Inquiry, and the Ethics of Belief,” in H. Rydenfelt and S. Pihlstrom, William James on Religion. Palgrave-MacMillan, 2013.
  • “Recovering Responsibility,” Logos and Episteme (2011).
  • “The Dialectics of Objectivity,” Philosophy of History (2012).
  • From Internalist Evidentialism to Virtue Responsibilism” in Evidentialism and its Discontents,Trent Dougherty (ed.) 2011. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • “Three Independent Factors in Epistemology” (with Phillip Olson, VTU’s ASPECT Program),Contemporary Pragmatism, 2010.
  • “Character-Trait Ascription in Ethics and Epistemology,” in H. Battaly (ed.) Virtue and Vice, Moral and Epistemic. Oxford: Wiley/Broadview Press, 2010 (reprinted from Metaphilosophy (2009).
  • “Virtue Theoretic Responses to Skepticism”, in Oxford Handbook of Epistemology, John Greco, ed., 2009.
  • “Epistemic Virtue,” in Routledge Encyclopedia of Epistemology, 2nd edition, 2009, M. Steup, ed.