Research Group: Ethics and Practical Reason

We have interests in a wide range of issues in metaethics, normative ethics and applied ethics.

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

Southampton philosophers have published on issues concerning instrumental rationality, the normativity of rationality, fitting-attitude accounts of value, the doing-allowing distinction, and the act-omission distinction, as well as various issues in applied ethics.

We also have strong interests in the history of moral philosophy (see 19th and early 20th century European philosophy).

We are presently hosting a series of workshop on the theme of ‘Aims and Norms’, investigating the relationship between the norms governing subjects’ actions, thoughts and feelings and the aims those subjects have, a project supported by the British Academy. In addition, Fiona Woollard has been awarded a Research Fellowship by the Mind Association, during which she plans to develop further her defence of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, the claim that doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm.


Selected publications associated with this group from the University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints):


Way, Jonathan (2012) Explaining the instrumental principle. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 90, (3), 487-506. (doi:10.1080/00048402.2011.598174).
Way, Jonathan (2011) The symmetry of rational requirements. Philosophical Studies, 155, (2), 227-239. (doi:10.1007/s11098-010-9563-7).
Way, Jonathan (2010) The normativity of rationality. Philosophy Compass, 5, (12), 1057-1068. (doi:10.1111/j.1747-9991.2010.00357.x).
Way, Jonathan M. (2010) Defending the wide-scope approach to instrumental reason. Philosophical Studies, 147, (2), 213-233. (doi:10.1007/s11098-008-9277-2).
Way, Jonathan (2009) Two accounts of the normativity of rationality. Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy, 1-9.
Woollard, Fiona and Weaver, Bryan R. (2008) Marriage and the norm of monogamy. [in special issue: Marriage] The Monist, 91, (3 & 4), 506-522.
Woollard, Fiona (2008) Doing and allowing, threats and sequences. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 89, (2), 261-277. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-0114.2008.00320.x).

Research projects

No research projects are currently associated with this group.