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The University of Southampton
PhilosophyPart of Humanities

Research Group: Ethics

Currently Active: 

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

Current areas of research include, but are not limited to, the nature of reasons, rationality, value, and normativity; the relationship between desires and judgments about value; deontological distinctions such as the doing-allowing distinction and the act-omission distinction; the non-identity problem; moral responsibility; and philosophical issues related to sex and pregnancy.

We also have strong interests in the history of moral philosophy (see History of Philosophy)

Ethicists at Southampton are part of a vibrant, interdisciplinary and international research community:

In 2013, the Southampton Ethics Centre (SEC) was launched to bring together the large community of researchers working on ethics and ethics-related issues across the University. Each year, the SEC hosts a number of events, several co-organised with existing research centres.

Southampton is a founder member of both the European Normativity Network and the Southern Normativity Group. These networks aim to bring together philosophers working on normativity from across Europe and the South of England respectively. Both networks hold an annual conference and host blogs to facilitate online discussion of topics concerning normativity.

In 2014, we will begin an AHRC funded project on Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. The project will explore how the norms which govern our behaviour and practical activities relate to the norms which govern our beliefs and intellectual inquiry. The project will foster collaborative research on these issues involving an international team of philosophers through a series of workshops and will conclude with a major international conference.

Also in 2014, we will host a series of workshops on Taking Pregnancy Seriously in Ethics, Metaphysics and Epistemology. This is envisaged as the start of a larger project on the topic.

Southampton's ethicists also contribute to the LGBT Research Community.

Current Master's Student Profile: Lizzy Ventham

The staff here at Southampton have been very supportive of my research in ethics. I have a keen interest in normative ethics and moral obligations, particularly looking at Philippa Foot's work on morality and Bernard Williams' work on internal reasons. I am also a fan of consequentialism and hope to defend the theory as part of my PhD thesis.  I previously studied at Southampton for both my undergrad​uate and masters degrees. I wrote dissertations on rule- vs act- consequentialism and the demandingness objection, both topics of which still interest me today. 

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