Professor Darin Senestraro's Biography

I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Santa Cruz and then earned an MA in philosophy at New York University. After that, I spent a few years teaching at Los Angeles area Community Colleges, including ELAC. In 2000, I decided to go back to grad school at UC Santa Barbara. I advanced to Doctoral Candidacy in 2004 with an essay on the ethics of killing. At UCSB, I designed and taught two lower-division and one upper-division course. While living in Santa Barbara, I also taught at several colleges and universities in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. I moved back to the LA area in 2007, and Iíve been teaching at ELAC and other LA area colleges ever since. Outside of class, I like to play golf, eat inexpensive ethnic foods, read, and watch TV with my wife and our cats. I live a very exciting life.

My central philosophical interests are in ethics, both normative ethics and meta-ethics. Normative ethics is the branch of philosophical ethics that tries to explain why various types of actions are right or wrong or ok to do. The idea is that if we can understand, for example, what makes killing wrong in the non-controversial cases, we can apply that explanation to guide us in the controversial cases, like abortion, euthanasia and the killing of non-human animals.

Meta-ethics is the branch of philosophical ethics that tries to understand moral judgments: What exactly are we doing when we judge, for example, that killing humans for sport is wrong to do? Are we applying a principle or just expressing our emotional reactions? If we are applying a moral principle, where do these principles come from and how do we get knowledge of them? Does each society make-up moral principles? Or, do moral principles come from God? Or are they created (in some way) by our rational mind?