Prof.dr. M.R. (Mark) Alfano


My work in moral psychology encompasses subfields in both philosophy (ethics, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind) and social science (social psychology, personality psychology). I am ecumenical about methods, having used modal logic, questionnaires, tests of implicit cognition, incentivizing techniques borrowed from behavioral economics, neuroimaging, textual interpretation (especially of Nietzsche), digital humanities techniques (text-mining, archive analysis, visualization), and of course good old-fashioned intuition-mongering. I have experience working with R and Tableau Public.    


I have published two monographs, two journal editions, two edited volumes, over twenty journal articles, and over twenty chapters in edited volumes. I am currently working on a grant-funded project to map the topology of social media networks in order to understand the ways in which they support or undermine reasonable public discourse about controversial topics.    

  • Alfano, M., Higgins, A., & Levernier, J. (2018). Identifying virtues and values through obituary data-mining. Journal of Value Inquiry, 52(1): 59-79.
  • Christen, M., Alfano, M., & Robinson, B. (2017). A cross-cultural assessment of the semantic dimensions of intellectual humility. AI & Society.
  • Alfano, M., Iurino, K., Stey, P., Robinson, B., Christen, M., Yu, F., & Lapsley, D. (2017). Development and validation of a multi-dimensional measure of intellectual humility. PLoS ONE, 12(8): e0182950.
  • Alfano, M. & Robinson, B. (2017). Gossip as a burdened virtue.Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 20: 473-82.
  • Alfano, M. & Huijts, N. (2018). Trust and distrust in institutions and governance. In J. Simon (ed.), Handbook of Trust and Philosophy. Routledge.
  • Iurino, K., Robinson, B., Christen, M., Stey, P., & Alfano, M. (2018). Constructing and validating a scale of inquisitive curiosity. In I. Inan, L. Watson, D. Whitcomb, & S. Yigit, (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Curiosity. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Alfano, M. & Skorburg, J. A. (2018). Extended knowledge, the recognition heuristic, and epistemic injustice. In D. Pritchard, J. Kallestrup, O. Palermos, & J. A. Carter (eds.), Extended Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
  • Koralus, P. & Alfano, M. (2017). Reasons-based moral judgment and the erotetic theory. In J.-F. Bonnefon & B. Trémolière (eds.), Moral Inferences. 77-106. Routledge. 
  • Alfano, M. (2017). The topology of communities of trust. Russian Sociological Review, 15(4): 30-56.
  • Alfano, M. (2016). Moral Psychology: An Introduction. Polity.
  • Alfano, M. (2013). Character as Moral Fiction. Cambridge University Press.
  • Alfano, M. (2015). Placebo effects and informed consent. American Journal of Bioethics, 15(10): 3-12.
  • Robinson, B., Stey, P. & Alfano, M. (2015). Reversing the side-effect effect: The power of salient norms. Philosophical Studies, 172(1): 177-206.

Mark Alfano

Associate Professor

Values, Technology and Innovation

Ethics and Philosophy of Technology

Nathalie van den Heuvel 

Research interests:

Design for values
Management of responsible innovation

Moral Psychology

Additional information

M.R. (Mark) Alfano



Mark Alfano is associate professor of philosophy at Delft University of Technology. He received a doctorate from the Philosophy Program of the City University of New York Graduate Center (CUNY GC) in 2011, and he has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study and the Princeton University Center for Human Values, as well as assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Oregon.  

Mark works on moral psychology, broadly construed to include ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of psychology. He also maintains an interest in Nietzsche, focusing on Nietzsche’s psychological views. His papers have appeared in numerous journals, including Philosophical Quarterly, The MonistErkenntnisSynthese, and the British Journal for the History of Philosophy.


His first book, Character as Moral Fiction, argues that the challenge to virtue ethics spearheaded by John Doris and Gilbert Harman should be co-opted, not resisted. In 2015, he published Current Controversies in Virtue Theory, which contains new work by Ernest Sosa, Robert Roberts, Heather Battaly, and others. His second monograph, Moral Psychology: An Introduction, was published by Polity Press in 2016. He is currently writing a research monograph on Nietzsche and editing two volumes on virtue ethics and virtue epistemology. In more recent work, he has developed a multi-modal measure of intellectual humility. He is now exploring the generosity and integrity in collaboration with a neuroscientist, data-mining obituaries to extract patterns of value judgments, and directing a series of edited volumes on The Moral Psychology of the Emotions, which will include books on contempt, anger, disgust, pride, compassion, and forgiveness.


Specializations: ethics, epistemology, Nietzsche, philosophy of mind, experimental philosophy


Competencies:   philosophy of science, applied ethics


01. Giving from the heart: The role of the heart and the brain in virtuous motivation and integrity (co-PI with Christina Karns) $190,000. (2015-17)

02. Congressi Stefano Franscini Fund for conference on “Moral Technology.” (co-PI with Markus Christen & Roberto Weber) 31,500 Swiss Francs. (2016)

03. Visiting fellowship, Australian National University. $10,000 AUS. (2016)

04. Intellectual humility: The elusive virtue. (co-PI with Daniel Lapsley & Paul Stey) John Templeton Foundation. $251,745. (2013-2015)

Publications in Pure
2016 - Ethics of Technological Risks
2016 - Ethics for Applied Mathematics
2017 - IT and Values
2017 - IT and Values
2016 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2018 - Ethics for Applied Mathematics
2018 - Ethics for Applied Mathematics
2016 - Ethics for Applied Mathematics
2018 - IT and Values
2018 - IT and Values
2017 - Ethics for Applied Mathematics
2017 - Ethics for Applied Mathematics