Michael Pakaluk received his Ph.D. in philosophy at Harvard University, where he studied philosophical logic with W.V. Quine, Burton Dreben, and Warren Goldfarb, philosophy of science with Hilary Putnam, and political philosophy with John Rawls. Rawls directed his dissertation, “Aristotle’s Theory of Friendship,” and Sarah Broadie (then at Yale) also served on the thesis committee.
Pakaluk counts as his main philosophical influences: Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Reid, and John Henry Newman. He encountered all four as a Marshall Scholar at the University of Edinburgh, where he wrote a thesis on Hume's Dialogues ("Hume's Naturalism and the Argument from Design"), became an expert in the main figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, and studied Aquinas and Newman under the guidance of the Dominican fathers there.
Pakaluk’s main work as a researcher has been in ancient philosophy, as he has authored many papers and three books concerned with Aristotelian ethics: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, books VIII and IX (Oxford); Aristotle’s Ethics: An Introduction (Cambridge); and (with Giles Pearson) Moral Psychology and Human Action in Aristotle (Oxford). His work is typified by the drawing of philosophical consequences from careful attention to philological considerations. His deeper concern is the recovery of a just appreciation of the classical outlook.
But his interests span many areas of philosophy, including political philosophy, philosophy of psychology and professional ethics. His anthology of philosophical essays on friendship, Other Selves (Hackett), has played an important role in the recent revival of interest in the philosophical study of friendship. His groundbreaking work in accounting ethics, which is also highly technically informed, approaches the subject through the viewpoint of virtue ethics. His work in accounting ethics won extraordinary recognition for a philosopher when in 2009 he was invited to give a seminar for the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on issues in accounting professionalism and ethics.
Pakaluk has held appointments of Associate Professor at Clark University in Massachusetts--where he also served in a long and distinguished tenure as the Director of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy--and as full Professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences and at Ave Maria University.
He has been Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Brown University and at Santa Croce (Rome), Visiting Scholar in Classics at Cambridge University, and Visiting Scholar in Public Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews. His blog, Dissoi Bloggoi, currently inactive, has been influential in classical philosophy. His opinion pieces have appeared in First Things, Crisis, and the Boston Pilot. The account of his conversion and life with his late wife, Ruth, is found in the best-selling book, The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God, published by Ignatius Press.
In 2011 he was appointed an Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Pakaluk's avocations include golf, tennis, hiking, the french horn, espresso drinks and single malt scotch. His skill in mixing cocktails has won him among friends the moniker, "Cardinal Martini."
“I have loved coming to the Busch School for the talented and creative colleagues I have found here, with fine human qualities; the competent and pleasant staff; and the delightful students. Besides that, the School is part of an historic research university, with a coherent and admirable mission, located in Washington, DC!”