Dr. François Coté-Vaillancourt, Assistant Professor at the University of Sudbury, specializes in Political philosophy, Ethics, and Metaethics, with a special interest in Metaethical constructivism, moral pluralism, moral deliberation, and most contemporary ethical and political issues. In addition to his teaching and research, he is the Director of the Ethics Center at the University of Sudbury, where he always enjoys welcoming students and faculty to participate in invigorating discussions.
According to Professor Coté-Vaillancourt, “Philosophy is opening yourself to think critically about the world around you, to consider relationships, facts and values that might have stayed hidden otherwise. Amongst the many philosophical discourses, Ethics is a field in which we, as individuals and as members of a collectivity, are evaluating the world and our actions in terms of right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust, etc. As we construct, revise and discuss our moral judgments with others, we might not come closer to some external and universal truth, which might not exist in ethics as it does in physics, but we do achieve a greater coherence between our values, our laws and our actions, allowing us to make our society better from our own point of view. Ethics might not be about discovering independent truths, but it sure plays an essential role in establishing a working and satisfying collectivity.”
He encourages students to take his classes so that they can develop critical thinking skills which will help them live a richer and fuller life: “It is easy to see education as simply getting a skill or trade, but if you never try to think critically, then you are missing the complexity of the social world, and therefore are missing a whole part of your life as a member of society. Living life to the fullest is about understanding the world around you just as much as it is about experiencing that world and trying new things. Simply rushing through life, from one bungee jump to the other, never taking the time to question the meaning of your actions is quite an impoverished life.”
Recently he contributed an article on L’encyclopédie philosophique, an online encyclopedia, written and published by French specialists. Dr. Coté-Vaillancourt’s article on Metaethical Constructivism gives some insights on his wider researches on the nature of ethics and on how to reach common moral principles despite the diversity of values and opinions. In addition to abstract questions over the groundings of ethics, Dr. François Coté-Vaillancourt is also interested in applied issues of diversity and pluralism, as demonstrated in his recent article entitled “Le multiculturalisme est-il relativiste?” which will be published as part of a larger work in the near future.
You can be sure that discussions with Professor Coté-Vaillancourt will always be interesting, stimulating, and eye-opening!