Ben Sachs (Director)
Ben Sachs’s main research areas at the moment are (1) the ethics of how we treat animals and (2) contractarianism. In the past he has worked a fair amount on the ethics of coercion, the ethics of using humans as medical research subjects, and the distribution of health care resources, and he still thinks about those things from time to time.
- Read Ben’s 2018 and 2019 articles in The Conversation, part of CEPPA’s Exoplanet Ethics project
- Also, Ben is the organiser of The John Stuart Mill Cup, falling under the Knowledge, Democracy, and Public Discourse project
- Finally, Ben has contributed to the Effective Altruism project through his chapter in the Effective Altruism anthology, edited by Hilary Greaves and Theron Pummer.
Theron Pummer (Director, on research leave in 2019-20)
Theron Pummer works on problems in ethical theory, metaphysics, and practical ethics. He is currently writing a book on non-consequentialist views about nearby rescue cases and their implications for charitable giving (focusing on the moral significance of distance, optionality, and optimization). He is also working on a book titled *Hypersensitive Ethics: Much Ado About Nearly Nothing*. Both are under contract with OUP. He has contributed to CEPPA’s Effective Altruism project.
Adam Etinson (Assistant Director)
Adam Etinson’s work explores topics in ethics, political philosophy, moral psychology, and social epistemology. He recently edited a book on the philosophy of human rights. At the moment, he is working on projects on human dignity, moral failure, conversational breakthroughs, and the communicative roots of the desire for retribution. Alongside Adam’s academic scholarship, he also writes for public audiences. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, and Dissent.
John Haldane (Senior Fellow)
Sarah Broadie’s research is mainly on ancient Greek philosophy, but she is interested in a wide range of philosophical subjects, including of course ethics and the theory of action, and in a wide range of historical philosophers. Her main publications include Ethics with Aristotle (OUP 1991) and a commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics (OUP 2002).
Within epistemology, she works on our knowledge of our own minds and our ability to reason, as well as the closure and transmission of knowledge and warrant, scepticism, fallibiism versus infallibilism, evidence, the debate between contextualists and invariantists, the epistemic norms of assertion and practical reasoning, blameworthy belief, epistemic blame, group belief and action
Within responsibility, she’s interested in both epistemic and moral responsibility, blame for beliefs and actions, as well as the moral responsibility of groups and how it relates to the moral responsibility of group members.
Wtihin philosophical methodology, she’s interested in a range of methodological issues including the nature of philosophy (its subject matter and evidence); the role of ordinary language, linguistics and conceptual analysis in philosophy; thought experiments; intuitions; and, sources of scepticism about philosophy (disagreement, evolutionary debunking worries, experimental philosophy).
Sophie Grace Chappell is Professor of Philosophy at the Open University, UK, Leverhulme Major Research Fellow 2017-2020, Visiting Fellow in the Department of Philosophy, St Andrews 2017-2020, and Erskine Research Fellow, University of Canterbury NZ, Spring 2020. She was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, and Edinburgh University. She was Director of the Scots Philosophical Association, 2003-2006. Since 2000 she has been Reviews Editor of The Philosophical Quarterly and Treasurer of the Mind Association. In 2021 she will be a REF sub-panellist for Philosophy. She has published over a hundred articles on ethics, moral psychology, epistemology, ancient philosophy and philosophy of religion. Her books include Aristotle and Augustine on Freedom (Routledge, 1995), Understanding Human Goods (Edinburgh University Press, 2003), The Inescapable Self: an Introduction to Philosophy (Orion, 2005), Reading Plato’s Theaetetus (Hackett, 2005), Ethics and Experience (Acumen, 2009), and Knowing What to Do: Imagination, Virtue, and Platonism in Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2014). She has also edited or co-edited five collections of essays in ethics, most recently Intuition, Theory, and Anti-Theory in Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2015) and Ethics Beyond The Limits: Essays on Bernard Williams’ Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (Routledge, forthcoming). Her main current research is about epiphanies, immediate and revelatory encounters with value, and their place in our experience and our philosophical ethics. She is a Governor of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, a member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club (climbing new winter routes up to grade VII,7), an active poet and translator of the classical Greek dramatists, and an untalented but keen cyclist and pianist. She is the UK’s first openly transgender philosophy academic, having transitioned in 2014. She lives with her family in Dundee.
Ben Colburn is head of Philosophy at Glasgow University. His main research interests are in political philosophy and ethics. Most of his work (e.g. the monograph Autonomy and Liberalism) has explored the nature and value of individual autonomy and its relation to ideals of liberal neutrality. He also writes on related topics, including the nature of responsibility and its role in distributive justice, and the content and institutions of liberal education. He has recently also been working on the relationship between political philosophy and public policy, especially concerning migration policy, and palliative and geriatric care.
Rowan Cruft works on the nature and moral foundations of rights, paying particular attention to the ways in which different sorts of rights (e.g. natural moral rights, human rights, legal rights, property rights, contractual rights) can be justified. He is currently writing a book on the varied roles played by the individual right-holder’s interests in grounding different types of right. He is keen to demonstrate the legal and policy implications of his work, and has some experience – e.g. presenting at the Scottish parliament on the moral issues surrounding debts taken on by undemocratic states, or at the Leveson Inquiry on the moral foundations of the rights to freedom of expression and a free press.
Alex Douglas is interested in the history and philosophy of political economy. His most recent book, The Philosophy of Debt (Routledge, 2015), examines the concept of debt through the lenses of language, history, and political economy. His current research is on theories of desire in Spinoza and other early modern philosophers in relation to the development of political economy. He is also a Research Scholar at the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity. And check out Alex’s appearance on the BBC’s In the Balance in April 2019.
Katherine Hawley is interested in trust, distrust and competence in both ethics and epistemology, and is currently completing a monograph on this topic. This work develops her long-standing research into practical knowledge, considering it in the light of social and political challenges to the communication of trustworthiness. She has a related project on commitment and self-control. Finally, she works in metaphysics, and is planning a new project in the metaphysics of social groups and organisations.
Fay Niker’s main research interests are in political philosophy and ethics, though increasingly these are moving her towards exploring topics in moral psychology and social epistemology too. Her work focuses primarily on the ethics of influence, broadly understood. Within this, Fay has been working on: the political morality of nudging (i.e., behavioural public policy); how we might accommodate social embeddedness into our understanding of autonomy and paternalism (including some work on trust); salience and attention, and the ways in which these can be adjusted or curated for the purposes of epistemic and/or ethical ends; and the ethics and politics of “caring technologies”. Given the close relationship between her philosophical topics and public policy, Fay is keen to be involved in projects that reach beyond the academy. She also co-edits a collaborative blog, Justice Everywhere, about philosophy in public affairs.
Basil O’Neill is interested in moral and political aspects of Ancient Philosophy in relation to modern Continental Philosophy, especially Derrida and Levinas. Consequently, he is concerned with irony, indirect communication, and the incompleteness of human understanding in relation to the idea of the transcendent.
Justin Snedegar’s research is primarily in metaethics and practical reasoning. One strand of this research is to explore the ways in which how we think of the alternatives open to us may influence what we ought to do. Another is to explore the ways that contributory considerations, like reasons for and against different actions, interact and compete to determine what we ought to do, all things considered. His hope is that this work may serve as part of a theoretical background for investigation into deliberation and normative thinking more generally.
Jens Timmermann works on ethical theory, legal philosophy and applied ethics, mostly from a Kantian perspective.
Mara van der Lugt
Dr. Mara van der Lugt is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the School of History, University of St Andrews, working on intellectual history and the history of philosophy, with a special focus on pessimism and the problem of evil. Before coming to St Andrews, she spent two years as a research fellow at the Lichtenberg Kolleg—Göttingen Institute of Advanced Study, and completed a doctorate at the University of Oxford on the seventeenth-century philosopher Pierre Bayle, who was the focus of her first book: Bayle, Jurieu, and the Dictionnaire Historique et Critique (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). She has published several articles in leading academic journals, and has recently begun writing for a broader audience, for instance publishing an article on procreation and climate change in leading Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland. Her second monograph, Pessimism and the Problem of Evil, is forthcoming with Princeton University Press.