Karen Stohr, MA, PhD

Senior Research Scholar,
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Stohr is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University and Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.

Karen has significant research interests in social conventions and the role they play in ethics. Her book, On Manners (Routledge, 2011), is a defense of the moral importance of manners, and she has given numerous lectures about manners and civility in a variety of forums. Lately, she has been writing about how social conventions structure our interactions and shape our moral relationships with each other in specific practical contexts (“Pretending Not to Notice: Respect, Attention, and Disability,” forthcoming in Disability in Practice: Attitudes, Policies and Relationships, Oxford University Press; “The Etiquette of Eating,” forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics). Her current book project, Minding the Gap, focuses on the task of individual and community moral improvement and the role of social practices in facilitating it.

Karen is also working on several projects about beneficence and friendship in the context of serious illness and death—how we aid and accompany our friends and family members through challenging and potentially traumatic health care situations. Her paper, “Aristotelian Friendship and Ignatian Companionship” (forthcoming in Spirituality and the Good Life: Philosophical Approaches) explores the moral demands of friendship in such circumstances and argues that the Ignatian spiritual tradition has important insights into how we can best meet those demands.

Karen routinely teaches introductory ethics and bioethics courses to undergraduates, in which she emphasizes the value of ethical reflection for everyday decision-making. For the past six years, she has been deeply involved with the Engelhard Project for Connecting Life and Learning. In those courses, she collaborates with mental health professionals on topics relevant to both the course material and the immediate well-being of students. Engelhard topics in her courses have included the following: the use of Adderall as a study aid; the challenge of preventing sexual assault on college campuses; alcohol abuse; inclusion and exclusion in campus social life.

Dr. Stohr holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, and graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Did you know?

Dr. Stohr's work on the relationship between morality and manners speaks to a broad audience, in ethics, philosophy, and beyond. Her book On Manners (Routledge, 2011) was the topic of a recent lecture at Georgetown University.

Learn more about the book »



  • Stohr, Karen. On Manners. New York: Routledge, 2011.


  • *“Virtuous Motivation,” forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Virtue, ed. Nancy Snow
  • *“The Etiquette of Eating,” forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics, ed. Anne Barnhill, Tyler Doggett, and Andy Egan
  • “Viewing Manners through a Wider Lens,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 15, no. 2 (June 2016): 273-90.
  • *“Feminist Virtue Ethics,” In The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics, eds. Lorraine Besser-Jones and Michael Slote, (New York: Routledge, 2015), 271-282.
  • “Keeping the Shutters Closed: The Moral Value of Reserve,” Philosophers’ Imprint 14, no. 23 (July 2014): 1-25.
  • On Manners. New York: Routledge, 2012.
  • *“Affective Transformation and the Kantian Moral Outlook: Commentary on Susan Stark.In Sex, Love, and Friendship: Studies of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love 1993 – 2003, edited by Adrienne McEvoy. Amsterdam: Rodopoi, 2011.
  • “Kantian Beneficence and the Problem of Obligatory Aid,” Journal of Moral Philosophy 8, no. 1 (Jan 2011): 45-67.
  • *“Honors, Awards, and the Catholic Moral Tradition,” Journal of Catholic Legal Studies 49, no. 2 (2010): 277-292.
  • *“Contemporary Virtue Ethics: Teaching and Learning Guide” Philosophy Compass 5, no. 1 (Jan 2010): 102-107.    
  • “Minding Others’ Business.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 90, no. 1 (2009): 116-139.
  • “Manners, Morals, and Practical Wisdom.” In Values and Virtues: Aristotelianism in Contemporary Ethics, ed. Timothy Chappell, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 189-211.
  • “Practical Wisdom and Moral Imagination in Sense and Sensibility. Philosophy and Literature 30, no. 2 (2006): 378-394.
  • *“Contemporary Virtue Ethics.” Philosophy Compass 1, no. 1 (January 2006): 22-27.
  • “Moral Cacophony: When Continence is a Virtue.” Journal of Ethics 7, no. 4 (2003): 339-363.
  • “Virtue Ethics and Kant’s Cold-Hearted Benefactor.” Journal of Value Inquiry 36, no. 2-3 (2002): 187-204.
  • “Recent Work in Virtue Ethics,” co-authored with Christopher H. Wellman. American Philosophical Quarterly 39, no. 1 (2002): 49-72.


  • Karen Stohr . "Manners, Morals, and Practical Wisdom." Values and Virtues: Aristotelianism in Contemporary Ethics. Ed. Timothy Chappell. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006: 189-211


  • Review of Christine Overall, Why Have Children? In the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 24, no. 2 (June 2014)
  • Review of Samuel Kerstein, How to Treat Persons, Ethics 124, no. 3 (April 2014): 626-631.
  • Review of E.M. Dadlez, Mirrors to One Another: Emotion and Value in Jane Austen and David Hume. In Hume Studies 36, no 1 (2010): 114-117.
  • Review of Leslie Paul Thiele, The Heart of Judgment: Practical Wisdom, Neuroscience, and Narrative. In Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (April 2007). 1777 words.
  • Review of Linda Zagzebski, Divine Motivation Theory. In Philosophical Quarterly 55, no 225 (2006): 629-632.
  • Review of Jonathan Jacobs, Choosing Character: Responsibility for Virtue & Vice. In Ethics 113, no. 3 (2003) 702-5.


  • Stohr, Karen. “Affective Transformation and the Kantian Moral Outlook: Commentary on Susan Stark,” forthcoming in Sex, Love, and Friendship: Studies of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love 1993 – 2003, ed. Patricia Marino, Value Inquiry Book Series (Amsterdam: Rodopoi).
  • Stohr, Karen and John Prendergast. "Similar Strategies, Devastating Results: Hunger and Unemployment in the U.S. and Africa", (Washington D.C.: Center of Concern, 1991).