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Professor Fiona Woollard BA Oxford, M.Litt St Andrews, PhD Reading


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Professor Fiona Woollard is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton.

I am happy to supervise students in normative and applied ethics, in the philosophy of pregnancy and motherhood, in the ethics of artificial intelligence, and in the philosophy of sex.

Fiona Woollard 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. 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 monograph on the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing is available from Oxford University Press.

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. For more detail on Fiona’s work on the Philosophy of Pregancy, Birth and Early Motherhood, click here or here.

Fiona’s second current research project, with Will McNeill, explores philosophical and ethical issues surrounding autonomous systems, particularly the ethics of driverless cars. To find out more about this research project, click here.

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 is a member of the Analysis Trust Committee and of the Executive Committee of the British Philosophical Association.

Follow Fiona on Twitter here for further updates on her work.

If you would like to discuss your research ethics application, you can book a Research Ethics Application Surgery by going to my Outlook F.Woollard

Advice and Feedback Hours

Tuesday 14:00-14:45
Thursday 13:00-13:45

Hours are via Microsoft Teams so email Fiona to arrange a meeting.

Research interests

Fiona's main research interests are in normative and applied ethics, in particular exploration of the nature and moral significance of deontological distinctions such as the distinction between doing and allowing harm, obligations to aid, body-ownership and philosophical issues surrounding pregnancy and motherhood. Her other research interests include the ethics of driverless cars and other autonomous systems, and the philosophy of sex.

Fiona is happy to supervise research students in normative and applied ethics, in philosophy of pregnancy and motherhood, in the ethics of artificial intelligence and in the philosophy of sex. Particularly appropriate topics include: deontological distinctions (doing vs allowing harm, intended vs foreseen harm), body-ownership, moral demandingness, obligations to aid, the non-identity problem, the rights and duties of pregnant women, euthanasia, abortion, surrogacy, organ donation and famine relief, monogamy and pornography.

Affiliate research group


Research project(s)

Philosophy of Pregnancy and Early Motherhood

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Review of Sexual Solipicism by Rae Langton, Times Literary Supplement (forthcoming)

PHIL1005 Ethics
PHIL2012 Moral Philosophy
PHIL2030 Applied Ethics
PHIL3034 Phil Sex
PHIL6045 Classic Texts: Value
CIP - Ethics in a Complex World

Professor Fiona Woollard
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton SO17 1BF, United Kingdom

Room Number : 65/1027

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