Email: nstear@umich.edu

CV: Click here.

I am an instructor at the University of Auburn having recently been a visiting Research Fellow at Uppsala Universitet and the University of Southampton. Prior to this, I was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow directing the Art & Ethics project at Southampton and, earlier still, a postdoctoral fellow at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas at UNAM. I completed my PhD at the University of Michigan in 2016. From January 2022, I will be a Humboldt fellow at Universität Hamburg, where I will be completing a monograph, Beyond Moralism, under contract with Oxford University Press.


I was born in West Berlin and grew up both on England’s South Coast and in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Later, I studied philosophy at the University of Sheffield and returned there to complete an MA following a year teaching English in Valencia, Spain. I am the first in my family to attend university.

My research is principally in the fields of aesthetics and ethics. My dissertation ‘Problems to Appreciate: Aesthetics, Ethics, and the Imagination’, was supervised by Kendall Walton, Sarah Buss, Daniel Jacobson, and Gregg Crane. It consists of three papers that address some aspect of appreciation, all of which are now published (in Phil Imprint, the AJP, and JAAC). The first two of these have been honoured with prizes (here and here). Some of my other work has been cited widely, including by a report produced for the British Board of Film Classification. I have had the good fortune of being able to present research at venues across the world. You can read more about it here.

To encourage work at the intersection of aesthetics and ethics, I recently co-founded a research group, AERG. I’m also interested in many other questions in philosophy and beyond.

I am married to Fown (pronunciation: ‘phone’) with whom I have three kids: Katharina, Kaspar, and Axel. We have two dogs named Beverly and Matilda who are even cuter than they sound.

As for pronouncing my name, it rhymes with ‘pills, tennis, beer’, which sounds like a fun time. I go by ‘Nils’.