Lawrence Torcello Headshot

Lawrence Torcello

Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts

585-475-2327
Office Location

Lawrence Torcello

Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts

Education

BA, State University College at Brockport; MA, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo

Bio

Lawrence Torcello specializes in social and political philosophy, moral theory, and applied ethics. His current research interests focus on democratic theory, liberalism, and issues of climate justice. Recent work explores the moral implications of climate change denialism and other forms of science denial.

Go to Torcello’s Personal Home Page

585-475-2327

Currently Teaching

PHIL-403
3 Credits
An examination of some of the main problems of social and political philosophy through an analysis, comparison and critical examination of various views concerning the natures of individuality and society and the relations between them.
PHIL-103
3 Credits
The purpose of this course is to improve everyday reasoning skills. Critical thinking means evaluating the reasons for our actions and beliefs. Ideally, we think our actions are rational, not arbitrary. But one does not have to look far to discover disagreement and apparent irrationality. What accounts for this? This course investigates how to argue effectively, how to evaluate evidence and reasons, and how to marshal good evidence and reasons in order to arrive at reliable knowledge and justified action. It covers common mistakes that people make in causal, statistical, moral, and everyday reasoning, and it teaches how and when it pays to be skeptical, reflective, and critical.
PHIL-415
3 Credits
This course examines the theoretical basis of ethics and morality, namely the theoretical commitments that enter into any judgment that a particular action is right or wrong, with special emphasis on a particular thinker or theoretical approach. Topics may include different ways of understanding the concepts of right and wrong; the existence or non-existence of moral facts; different criteria of moral actions; different conceptions of the good life.
PHIL-416
3 Credits
Examines some area of philosophy at an advanced undergraduate level. The area examined may vary from semester to semester. The seminar is designed especially for those whose interest in philosophy goes beyond the requirements of the liberal arts curriculum.

Latest News

Select Scholarship

Invited Article/Publication
Torcello, Lawrence. "Singer, Peter." Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, 3rd edition. (2015). Print.
Journal Paper
Torcello, Lawrence. "Removing the Rubbish: Consensus, Causation, and Denial." Scientia Salon. (2015): online. Web.
Torcello, Lawrence. "The Pope as Philosopher: Faith, Climate Change and Public Reason." The Conversation. (2015): online. Web.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Making the Moral Case on Climate Change Ahead of the Paris Summit." The Conversation. (2015): online. Web.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Moral Agnosticism: An Ethics of Inquiry and Public Discourse." Teaching Ethics 14. 2 (2014): 3-16. Print.
Torcello, Lawrence. "What's the Harm? Why The Mainstreaming of Complementary and Alternative Medicine is an Ethical Problem." Ethics in Biology, Engineering & Medicine-An International Journal 4. 4 (2014): 327-338. Print.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Is Climate Misinformation Criminally Negligent?" The Conversation UK. (2014): 1-2. Web.
Torcello, Lawrence and Michael E. Mann. "Limiting Global Warming to 2C: The Philosophy and the Science." The Conversation US. (2014): 1-2. Web.
Torcello, Larry. "The Trouble with Pseudoskepticism." Skeptical Inquierer 36. 3 (2012): 37-41. Print.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Sophism and Moral Agnosticism, Or, How to Tell a Relativist from a Pluralist." The Pluralist 6. 2 (2011): 87-108. Print.
Torcello, Lawrence. "The Ethics of Inquiry, Scientific Belief, and Public Discourse." Public Affairs Quarterly 25. 3 (2011): 197-215. Print.
Invited Keynote/Presentation
Torcello, Lawrence. "Contextualizing the Principles of Bioethics." Ethics Grand Rounds Series. Rochester General Hospital. Rochester, NY. 23 Sep. 2014. Lecture.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Animal Welfare and Ethics." Veterinary Practice: Ethics and Animal Care. Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine. Ithaca, NY. 16 Jan. 2013. Guest Lecture.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Personhood and Sentience." Obstetrics & Gynecology Residents Seminar. Rochester General Hospital. Rochester, NY. 3 Apr. 2013. Guest Lecture.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Ethics, Science Denialism, and Alternative Medicine." Ethics Grand Rounds Series. Rochester General Hospital. Rochester, NY. 25 Jun. 2013. Lecture.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Climate Change, Science Denialism, and Ethics." 54th Annueal Meeting of the Psychonomic Society. Psychonomic Society. Toronto, CA. 15 Nov. 2013. Conference Presentation.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Two Models of Disestablishing Marriage: A Response." American Philosophical Association, Eastern Conference. American Philosophical Association. Baltimore, MD. 29 Dec. 2013. Conference Presentation.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Ethics of Inquiry, Climate Change, and Public Discourse." Hale Ethics Series. Rochester Institute of Technology. Rochester, NY. 2 Feb. 2012. Lecture.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Ethics of Inquiry, Public Discourse, and The Moral Blameworthiness of Suffering Fools." Global Transformation and Public Ethics Lecture Series. The University of Western Australia, Institute of Advanced Studies. Perth, AUS. 4 Sep. 2012. Lecture.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Death and the Living: A Learning Community in Bioethics." Bioethics Reading Group. Center for Ethics, Humanities, and Palliative Care. University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY. 10 May 2011. Lecture.
Torcello, Lawrence. "A Philosophical Review of Passive and Active Euthanasia." Ethics Grand Rounds Series. Rochester General Hospital. Rochester, NY. 28 Jun. 2011. Lecture.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Ethics, Animal Rights, and Animal Welfare." Vetrinary Practice: Ethics and Animal Care. College of Vetrinary Medicine, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY. 7 Nov. 2011. Guest Lecture.
Invited Paper
Torcello, Lawrence. "L'Aquila Earthquake Scientists Freed but Political Lessons Remain." The Conversation UK. (2014). Web.
Book Chapter
Torcello, Lawrence and Stephen Wear. "The Commercialization of Human Body Parts: A Reappraisal from a Protestant Perspective." The International Trafficking of Human Organs: A Multidisciplinary Approach ed. : CRC Press, 2011. 227-243. Print.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Animal Rights." Encyclopedia of Global Justice. Ed. Deen Chatterjee. London: Springer, 2011. 40-43. Print.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Liberal Pluralism." Encyclopedia of Global Justice. Ed. Deen Chatterjee. London: Springer, 2011. 647-650. Print.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Separation of Church and State." Encyclopedia of Global Justice. Ed. Deen Chatterjee. London: Springer, 2011. 995-999. Print.
Torcello, Lawrence. "Singer, Peter." Encyclopedia of Global Justice. Ed. Deen Chatterjee. London: Springer, 2011. 1005-1009. Print.
Formal Presentation
Torcello, Lawrence. “Death and the Living: A LearningCommunity in Gross Anatomy and Bioethics.” 12th International Conference on Ethics Across the Curriculum, Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum, Union College, Schenectady, NY. 8 Oct. 2010. Presentation.