Professor Fiona Woollard is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton.
She has research interests in normative ethics, applied ethics, epistemically transformative experiences and the philosophy of sex and pregnancy. She has published on topics including the distinction between doing and allowing harm, climate change and the non-identity problem, the moral significance of numbers, pornography and the norm of monogamy.
Fiona’s main current research is in the Philosophy of Pregnancy, Birth and Early Motherhood. Fiona shows that pregnancy, birth and early motherhood can challenge traditional ways of thinking about morality and knowledge. Fiona also identifies ways in which philosophical mistakes in our thinking about motherhood can influence the treatment of pregnant women and mothers, often leading to harmful consequences for these vulnerable groups. Fiona has worked with the NCT and the Breastfeeding Network to produce a website and animated video drawing on her research to explore why many mothers feel judged for decisions about how to feed their babies and how we can have better conversations about infant feeding decisions.
Fiona's monograph Doing and Allowing Harm is available from Oxford University Press.
Advice and Feedback Hours
Semester 2 2021-2022: Tuesdays and Thursday 2pm-2.45pm on Microsoft Teams.
- Normative Ethics.
- Applied Ethics.
- Philosophy of Sex.
- Philosophy of Pregnancy, Birth and Early Motherhood.
- The Ethics of Driverless Cars.
My current research explores:
The Philosophy of Pregnancy, Birth and Early Motherhood. For more information click here.
The Ethics of Driverless Cars. For more information click here.
I also continue to be interested in the moral difference between doing and allowing harm. To find out more, click here.
I currently teach Ethics and Philosophy of Sex.
Ethics is a compulsory module for students taking Single or Combined Honours Philosophy. It can also be taken as an optional module by students doing other degrees. It is a first year UG module and introduces and explores key issue in moral philosophy.
Philosophy of Sex is a third year optional UG module. It can also be taken as an optional MA module. It explores key philosophical issues surrounding human sexuality.
I also often teach Individually Negotiated Topics (INTs) for our MA. I have taught INTs on Pregnancy and Motherhood, Gender, Killing vs Letting Die, Abortion and other topics.
I have supervised MA and UG dissertations in many areas, but mostly in normative and applied ethics, pregnancy and the philosophy of sex.
I am currently supervising PhD students working on the Philosophy of Sex, the Ethics of Antinatalism, and the Moral Status of Animals.
External roles and responsibilities
Fiona joined Philosophy in September 2010. She completed her PhD at the University of Reading in 2008 and then held a temporary lectureship at the University of Sheffield for two years.
Fiona held a Non-Residential Fellowship in Philosophy of Transformative Experience at the Experience Project (Templeton Foundation, University of Notre Dame, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) from September 2016 to February 2017 and a Mind Association Early Career Fellowship from October 2011 to April 2012. She was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University from October to December 2011. She was a research fellow on the BUMP (Better Understanding the Metaphysics of Pregnancy) during 2020 and 2021. The BUMP Project is an ERC funded project led by Elselijn Kingma.