I studied philosophy here at York a long time ago, being taught by, among others, Tom Baldwin and Andrew Ward.
Later, but still a long time ago, I did research work at UC Santa Barbara. My supervisor there was Nathan Salmon. I’ve taught in both places, still teach at one of them, and have taught as well as St Martin’s College, Lancaster, Lancaster University, University of Leeds and the Open University.
- 1994 to 2015: Open University, Staff Tutor (Arts)/Senior Lecturer (Philosophy)
- 1989 to 1993: University of California, Santa Barbara, Lecturer (Philosophy)
- 2005 to 2007: University of Leeds, Project Leader – Medical School (Ethics)
- 1998 to present: University of York, Visiting Lecturer – one to two courses per year (Philosophy)
- 1994: Lancaster University, Lecturer – one course (Philosophy)
- 1983 to 1987: University of California, Santa Barbara, Teaching Assistant (Philosophy)
- 1980 to 1982: University of York, Tutor (Philosophy)
- 2011 to present: University of York, Teaching Fellow in Philosophy
- 2013: University of St Andrews, Visiting Fellow – Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs
I wrote my dissertation on Hume, and for some years my primary interests were in epistemology and history of philosophy. But though I am still interested in Hume, both as a man and a philosopher, I began to develop interests elsewhere, reading and being utterly captivated by Parfit’s Reasons and Persons and thereafter wanting to pursue an interconnected range of contemporary philosophical problems.
So current concerns are with the theoretical side of applied ethics – questions about the values of life and death, the nature of a person, animal minds, and so on – and with related questions in aesthetics, metaphysics and environmental philosophy.
I enjoy teaching, and giving talks to, a wide variety of audiences including students, academics, schoolkids, as well as various gatherings of people in the wider world.
In recent years I’ve taught modules on the value and meaning of life, life and death, and environmental philosophy.
Invited talk highlights
- ‘Death’s Badness’ to Nottingham University, 1997
- ‘Identity and Disability’ to (a) St George’s Medical School, (b) Manchester Metropolitan University, both in 1998
- ‘Identity Matters’ to (a) University of Glasgow, 1998, (b) University of California, Santa Barbara, 1999
- ‘Future People’ to (a) University of York, 2002, (b) S Martin’s College, Lancaster, 2002, (c) Royal Institute of Philosophy, Cardiff, 2003
- ‘Intrinsic Value’ to University of Liverpool, 2004
- ‘The Value of Life’ to Gibraltar Philosophical Society, 2010
- ‘Animalism and What we Are’ to University of York, 2011
- ‘The Language of Harm’ to University of Glasgow, 2011
- ‘Is it Bad for us to Die?’ to University of York (Public Lecture Series), 2011
- ‘A New Argument for Anti-Natalism’ to University of Johannesburg, 2011
- ‘Pleasure, Happiness and the Evil of Death’ to OU Ethics Centre, 2012
- ‘The Good Death’ The Wellcome Institute, London, 2013
- ‘Death, Pain and Animal Life’ to University of St Andrews, 2013
- ‘Immortality’ to The London Month of the Dead, London, 2014
- ‘Procreative Beneficence and Procreative Asymmetry’ to Oxford University, 2015
- ‘What’s Wrong with Anthropocentrism?’ to University of Sussex, 2015
- ‘Extinction’ to University of Malta, 2015
- ‘Immortality, Memory and Imagination’ to UC Riverside, 2015
- ‘Procreative Beneficence and Procreative Asymmetry: Some Tensions’ to University of Lisbon, 2016
- ‘Weight and Compensation’ to University of Liverpool, 2019
- ‘In Love with Animals?’ to How the Light Gets In (online festival), 2020