Department of Philosophy

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Christopher Woodard

Professor of Moral & Political Philosophy, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I came to Nottingham from the University of Warwick in 2002. I am currently Associate PVC for Education and Student Experience in the Faculty of Arts, and President of the British Society for Ethical Theory.

Expertise Summary

My research interests are in normative ethics and political philosophy.

In normative ethics I have a distinctive theory of 'pattern-based' reasons. These are reasons to contribute to patterns of action that are good or right; such patterns might be extended plans, or collective actions. In my first book, Reasons, Patterns, and Cooperation, I argued that pattern-based reasons exist even when other agents necessary to realise the relevant pattern are unwilling to play their parts.

My second book, Alexander Dietz, that any plausible account of the strength of pattern-based reasons requires accepting a 'willingness requirement'. In addition to incorporating this change to my earlier view, the new book develops a distinctive utilitarian theory that addresses many important topics in moral and political philosophy: reasons, rightness, well-being, moral rights, justice, equality, democracy, legitimacy, and virtue.

I have also published several articles on well-being, and edit the category 'Hybrid Accounts of Well-Being' at PhilPapers.

Teaching Summary

My teaching interests are in moral and political philosophy. I am especially interested in normative ethics (general views about right and wrong), theories of welfare or wellbeing, theories of… read more

Research Summary

I have recently finished a

Recent Publications

My teaching interests are in moral and political philosophy. I am especially interested in normative ethics (general views about right and wrong), theories of welfare or wellbeing, theories of distributive justice, theories of virtue, and theories of state legitimacy.

My approach to teaching is always to try to communicate two main things: why the issue under discussion matters, and how one might try to make progress in thinking about it. This motivates students to think for themselves and gives them the tools to do so.

In July 2016 I was honoured to receive a Lord Dearing Award for my teaching. I am also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

In Spring Semester 2021 my drop in hours will be Mondays and Fridays 12-1.

Past Research

I have worked on theories of distributive justice, pattern-based reasons, actualism and possibilism in deontic logic, and well-being. I continue to be interested in these areas.

Future Research

I plan to develop further my outline utilitarian account of virtue. I plan in particular to work on civic or political virtue.

Department of Philosophy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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