Bill Puka

Professor, Cognitive Science

Bill Puka teaches and researches in the areas of moral-political philosophy, psychology and moral development, applied ethics, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, applied cogsci research in problem solving (protocol task analysis), and democracy and anarchism.

He is the author of more than 50 essays and other publications, including Toward Moral Perfectionism,  and editor of seven volumes including Moral Development: A Compendium.  His recent work includes two entries in the Internet encyclopedia of philosophy, a project hosted by the University of Tennessee at Martin. The two entries are on "Moral Development," and “The Golden Rule.” An upcoming entry is titled "Anarchism."  

Puka has been honored as a Visiting Scientist at Wissenschaftzentrum-Berlin, a Visiting Scholar Lecturer at the Netherlands Five University Consortium, and a Beer Trust Research Grant recipient.

“I consider myself post-academic in that academics has become increasingly focused on careerism and success-oriented professionalism. Philosophy and psychology, by contrast, aim at wisdom and perspective, grounding one in what is really important and valuable, including trying to live and worthy life,” Puka said. “Ethics originally concerned how to flourish as a person in life--how to develop an admirable personality and character, a circle of excellent relationships, and a socially contributing lifestyle. It concerned how to be excellent as a person and create a life masterpiece. The aim was to become expert in one's thinking (philosophy), one's emotional sensitivity to self and others (psychology) and the authentic, socially apt expression of one's understanding (community organizing and engagement). Promoting these original and perennial concerns is the focus of my teaching, and teaching—partnering with students in learning—is my focus.”

Puka's current book is entitled Like Honey In My Heart (An allegiance to Just-Folks Democracy, No-Flag Patriotism and Won’t-Stand-for-it Citizenship).  He is also working towards publication of his previous work, In The Steps of The King, which explores the use of civil right strategies from Martin Luther King in resolving conflicts in daily life.



Ph.D., Philosophy and Psychology, Harvard University

MA, Philosophy, Brown University

MA, Psychology, Rutgers University

BA, Psychology, New College (Hofstra)

Research Focus
  • Cognition, Cognitive Development, Moral Reasoning
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