Dr Sarah Otten

Programme Director BA and BA Hons Humanities & Lecturer in Philosophy


Dr Sarah Otten is a lecturer at Carlow College where she teaches on the Humanities, Social Care and Social, Political and Community Studies degree programmes. She teaches courses in ethics, as well as political and feminist philosophy. She completed her doctorate on justice in the writings of Adam Smith at Trinity College Dublin in 2016. She is also a graduate of Bowling Green State University where she completed her Masters in Moral and Political Philosophy in 1999. She spent four years in Africa working on development projects in Namibia and Malawi. Her research interests encompass social justice, feminism and animal ethics.

Research Interest

Sarah’s areas of interest are the in the moral philosophy of Adam Smith and David Hume, feminist philosophy, the critical theory of Horkheimer, applied ethics and social care policy. In ethics her focus is on punishment and rights, care ethics and our relation to animals.


Book review:

  • Ryan Patrick Hanley, (Ed.) Adam Smith: His Life, Thought, and Legacy for ID: International Dialogues, a multi-disciplinary e-journal on world affairs, 2017. https://unomaha.app.box.com/s/mg52tt6o9lxt2q6pktdk3x7gh10vh9v3
  • ‘A “System of Natural Liberty”: An Examination of Liberal Principles in the Writings of Adam Smith’, in Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society, 2007.
  • Review of Manus Charleton’s Ethics for Social Care in Ireland, www.socialstudies.ie, webpage for the Irish Association of Social Care Educators, 2007.


  • 8/5/2018, ‘Adam Smith’s Social Individual’, paper presented at the Philosophy & Economic Forum, University of Bayreuth.
    3rd & 4th /11/2017, Co-organised Irish Philosophical Society’s annual conference, Carlow College. Conference Theme: ‘Humans & Other Animals’.
  • 9/12/2016, ‘Smith and Sociability’, paper presented at the Early Modern Philosophy Conference, All Hallows, Dublin.
  • 26/3/2016, ‘Gender and the 1916 Proclamation: Incompatible perspectives of women’s citizenship’ a paper co-written and presented with Helen Maher at the Carlow College Conference, theme ‘Under the Protection of the Most-High God’, Ethical and Theological Perspectives of the 1916 Rising’.
  • 16/11/2013, ‘Adam Smith’s Notion of Justice: Some Hints Towards Reframing the Justice Problem in Care Ethics’, paper presented at the SWIP Ireland Autumn Conference, Trinity College Dublin.
  • 11/5/2021 FESET webinar, Sarah Otten and Francis Gahan, ‘More than minding oneself: Educating social care workers to identify and combat the causes of occupational burnout’
  •  11/10/2021 SCI annual conference, Sarah Otten and Francis Gahan, ‘More than minding oneself: teaching social care workers to identify and combat the causes of moral distress’.


PhD in Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin, 2017
MA in Moral & Political Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, Ohio, 1999
MA in International Studies, University of Limerick, 1994
BA in Philosophy & English, University College Galway, 1993