Accessibility statement

Chris Belshaw
Honorary Fellow



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.


Full time

  • 1994 to 2015: Open University, Staff Tutor (Arts)/Senior Lecturer (Philosophy)
  • 1989 to 1993: University of California, Santa Barbara, Lecturer (Philosophy)

Part time

  • 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)

Honorary positions

  • 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.


Other teaching

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


Selected publications


  • Environmental Philosophy: Reason, Nature and Human Concern, Acumen and McGill-Queens, 2001, pp. 322 + xiv
  • 10 Good Questions about Life and Death, Blackwell, 2005, pp.178 +vii
  • Annihilation: The Sense and Significance of Death, Acumen and McGill-Queens, 2009, pp. 258 + xii
  • The Value of Life, The Open University, 2014, pp. 204 + viii
  • The Value and Meaning of Life, Routledge, 2020 pp. 254 + vi
  • 12 Modern Philosophers, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009 (with Gary Kemp), pp.254 + ix

Chapters in books

  • ‘Later Death/Earlier Birth’, MidWest Studies in Philosophy – Life and Death, Blackwell, 2000
  • ‘Death, Brains and Persons’, Suffering, Death and Identity, eds. Fisher, Prinozic, et al, Rodopi, 2002
  • ‘Landscape, Parks, Wilderness’, Contested Environments, eds. Belshaw, Bingham, Blowers, Wiley, 2003
  • ‘Death, Value and Desire’, The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death, eds. Ben Bradley, et al, OUP, 2012, pp. 274-297
  • ‘Death, Pain and Animal Life’, The Ethics of Killing Animals, eds. Tatanja Visak and Robert Garner, OUP, Oxford, 2015, pp. 32-50
  • ‘Meat’, The Moral Complexities of Eating Meat, eds. Ben Bramble and Bob Fischer, OUP, Oxford, 2015, pp. 9-29
  • ‘Victims’, Immortality and the Philosophy of Death, ed. Michael Cholbi, Rowman and Littlelfield, London and New York, 2016, pp.3-20
  • ‘Life', Death, Immortality and Eternal Life, ed. T Ryan Byerly, Routledge, (forthcoming)

Journal articles

  • ‘Hume and Demonstrative Knowledge’, Hume Studies, Vol. 15 No. 1, April 1989, pp.141-163
  • ‘Scepticism and Madness’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 67 No. 4, December 1989, 447-452
  • ‘Asymmetry and Non-Existence’, Philosophical Studies, Vol. 70 No. 2, April 1993, pp.103-116
  • ‘Abortion, Value and the Sanctity of Life’, Bioethics, Vol. 11 No. 2, April 1997, pp. 130-150
  • ‘Gold’, Theoria (Madrid), Vol. 13 No. 33, September 1998, pp. 415-426
  • ‘Death, Pain and Time’, Philosophical Studies, Vol. 97 No. 3, February 2000, pp. 317-341
  • ‘Identity and Disability’, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 17 No. 3, December 2000, 263- 276, also in: Routledge Encyclopedia of Bioethics, Routledge, 2002
  • ‘More People – Better People', Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 6 No. 2, June 2002, pp.127-141
  • ‘My Beginnings’, The Monist, Vol. 89 No. 3, July 2006, pp. 371-389
  • ‘Animals, Identity and Persistence’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 89 No. 3, September 2011, 401-419
  • ‘A New Argument for Anti-Natalism’, South African Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 31 No. 1, 2012, pp.117-127
  • ‘Harm, Change and Time’, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol. 37 No. 5, 2012, pp. 425-44
  • ‘What’s Wrong with the Experience Machine?’, European Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 22 No. 4, 2014, pp.573-592
  • ‘Immortality, Memory and Imagination’, Journal of Ethics, Vol. 19 No. 3-4, 2015, pp.323-348

Contact details

Chris Belshaw
Honorary Fellow
Department of Philosophy
Tel: 01904 324386