Milton Fisk was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. Following the example of both of his parents, he became an academic. He received a BS in chemistry from Notre Dame and a PhD in philosophy from Yale. Prior to coming to Indiana University in Bloomington, he held faculty positions at Notre Dame and at Yale. He is the author of a number of books, including Nature and Necessity (1973), Ethics and Society (1980), The State and Justice (1989), and Toward a Healthy Society (2000).
Early in his career, he concentrated on a realist interpretation of physical science, which led him to develop a theory of causality based on a notion of natural necessity. An engagement with movements for social change led to his writing on issues in social philosophy and in political morality. In this work, one of his constant themes is that social divisions place a burden of proof on moralists who advocate universalism in ethics that they have not met. His recent study of health care reform led him to appreciate the important role public goods should play in political morality.
He served as a board member of the American Philosophical Association-Central Division, and is serving on the steering committee of the Radical Philosophy Association. He was a member of the Indiana Health Care Campaign and was active with Jobs with Justice, serving as a director of its Workers Rights Board for south-central Indiana. He is currently working on a living wage campaign in Bloomington.
At present, he is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Indiana University. His favorite activity is mountain walking, and his most difficult task is remembering the birthdays of his eight grandchildren.
Marble Hill Indiana Nuclear plant protest 1978
image by Graham Fisk