Joseph Wagner | Colgate University - Faculty Directory

Colgate Directory



BS (1967), MA (1971), University of Illinois; PhD, Syracuse University, 1980

Teaching Experience

University of Illinois


Philosophy and psychology of politics


My chief interests involve philosophical, linguistic analysis concerning the sources of normative authority, i.e., beliefs about what makes choices, acts, consequences, and persons good or right and what are the grounds on which we could validly think beliefs or values are either true or justified. My empirical research uses survey and experimental studies to investigate how these features of thought affect political choices, behavior, ideologies, and interactions.


Written works include studies of mass media's impact on elections; the role of moral values on political tolerance; conceptual treatments on the relationship between justice and affirmative action; critical essays about multiculturalism, feminism, moral and scientific relativism, the nature of objectivity and subjectivity, and the ideals of a liberal arts education.

Publications have appeared in journals including American Journal of Political Science, Political Behavior, Political Psychology, Polity, Soundings, Interchange, and Philosophy in the Contemporary World.