Fred Frohock, Ph.D.


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Fred M. Frohock (Ph.D., Political Science and Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is professor of political science at the University of Miami with academic concentrations in political philosophy, law, and bioethics. He is the author of eleven books and numerous papers, reviews, and articles in scholarly journals that include The American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Political Studies, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Journal of Religion, Religion, Polity, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Social Theory and Practice, and Human Rights Quarterly.  This work often combines theory and field work. Special Care is an ethnographic account of decision-making in an intensive care neonatal nursery (University of Chicago Press, 1986). In 1992 he published Healing Powers (University of Chicago Press), a study of alternative medicine and spiritual healing. Public Reason: Mediated Authority in the Liberal State (Cornell University Press, 1999) delineates public reasoning on post-Wittgenstein theories of language. Lives of the Psychics (University of Chicago Press, 2000) examines anomalous and mystical experiences. Bounded Divinities: Sacred Discourses in Pluralist Democracies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) is a treatment of religion and politics that uses Santería as a case study in a general theoretical examination of the two practices. In his latest book, Beyond: On Life After Death (University Press of Kansas, 2010), Frohock critically scans the evidence for life after death, a study that supports again a variation on the thesis that evidence underdetermines theory, or, roughly put, that rival theories can be consistent with the same data set and rank ordered only by relying on background conditions. He has twice been a Social Science Research Council Fellow (the second time for a year’s study in London), served for eight years on the University Hospital Ethics Committee in Syracuse, NY, and was one of the founders and vice presidents of the Institute for Ethics in Health Care, a nonprofit institute that served central New York for almost a decade. He originated and was an on-site director of Syracuse University’s Madrid program, and he created and chaired for 20 summers Syracuse University’s “Politics and Media” program in London. He organized and has directed “Security, Globalization, and Human Rights: Ideals and Realities,” a summer study abroad program in London for the University of Miami. In 2002 he was awarded a Chancellor’s Citation by Syracuse University for Exceptional Academic Achievement.


My current research interests seem to require a summoning of work I did at the beginning of my career.  I refer here to the work I did in normative political theory in papers, articles, and books.  The difference now is that there has been a substantial amount of new work done in normative theory and the fields of political theory/philosophy, and I am sufficiently confident (arrogant?) to think that the level of my work in both theory and methods is much improved after a lifetime of effort.  I know that the distinctions are sharper, the focus is more precise on power and morality, and I am more inclined now to rely on empirical events and practices to expand the arguments in normative theory.  The two papers representing these research agendas are described in the abstracts below.  Note if you have a chance to read the second paper on “moral inflections” that I rely on General Petraeus’ Rules of War to expand on the possibility of fusing the normative and empirical in productive (and unproductive) ways.  (Abstracts for both papers are below.  Put simply I am now looking for values in words and things rather than transcendent realms.  The “Slouching” paper is currently under review at a philosophy journal.)  I am revising (and revising) the second paper with thoughts and hopes of publishing it in a journal. Recent publications include "Slouching Toward Realpolitik: Public Reason as Political Morality" (Abstract), "Moral Inflections: Freestanding Political Languages (Abstract), and "Pathways to Eden" (Synopsis).