Department of Philosophy
   
   
  

If you wish to get in touch with our administrative staff, please see the admin staff contact page

Image of Christopher Woodard

Christopher Woodard

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts

Contact

Biography

I came to Nottingham from the University of Warwick in 2002. I have been Head of the Department of Philosophy and Director of Teaching for the School of Humanities. I am currently the Director of the British Society for Ethical Theory, and Director of Teaching for the Department of Philosophy.

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, Taking Utilitarianism Seriously, reverses this earlier claim. I now accept an argument made by 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 book defending a novel form of utilitarianism. It is intended to present a rich and rounded version of utilitarianism, incorporating novel views about well-being, reasons,… read more

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.

In Autumn Semester 2018 my drop in hours will be Mondays 3-4 and Thursdays 11-12.

Current Research

I have recently finished a book defending a novel form of utilitarianism. It is intended to present a rich and rounded version of utilitarianism, incorporating novel views about well-being, reasons, rightness, moral rights, justice, democracy, decision-making, virtue, and praise and blame. I am very interested in collaborating with others, including research students, on any of these topics.

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.

  • WOODARD, C, 2020. Hybrid Theories of Well-Being. In: LAFOLLETE, HUGH, ed., International Encylopedia of Ethics John Wiley and Sons. (In Press.)
  • WOODARD, C., 2020. "Subjective Theories of Well-Being". In: LAFOLLETTE, HUGH, ed., International Encyclopedia of Ethics John Wiley and Sons. (In Press.)
  • WOODARD, C., 2019. Taking Utilitarianism Seriously Oxford University Press. (In Press.)
  • WOODARD, C., 2017. Three Conceptions of Group-Based Reasons Journal of Social Ontology. Online first,
  • WOODARD, C., 2017. What Good is Meaning in Life? De Ethica. 4(3), 67-79
  • WOODARD, C., 2015. Hybrid Theories. In: GUY FLETCHER, ed., The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being Routledge. 161-74
  • WOODARD, C., 2013. Classifying theories of welfare Philosophical Studies. 165(3), 787-803
  • WOODARD, C., 2013. The common structure of Kantianism and act-utilitarianism Utilitas. 25(2), 246-265
  • WOODARD, C., 2013. Collective Utilitarianism. In: JAMES E. CRIMMINS, ed., The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism Bloomsbury Academic. 82-83
  • WOODARD, C., 2011. Rationality and the unit of action Review of Philosophy and Psychology. 2(2), 261-277
  • WOODARD, C., 2009. Pedro's significance The Southern Journal of Philosophy. XLVII(3), 301-319
  • WOODARD, C., 2009. What's wrong with possibilism Analysis. 69(2), 219-226
  • WOODARD, C., 2008. Reasons, patterns, and cooperation New York: Routledge.
  • WOODARD, C., 2008. A New Argument Against Rule Consequentialism Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. 11, 247-261
  • WOODARD, C., 2005. Egalitarianism Philosophical Books. 46(2), 97-112
  • WOODARD, C., 2003. Group-based reasons for action Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. 6(2), 215-229
  • WOODARD, C., 2000. The Concept of Acquiescence Journal of Political Philosophy. VOL 8(PART 4), 409-432
  • WOODARD, C., 2000. Cohen and the Basic Structure Objection Acta Politica. VOL 35(PART 3), 275-301
  • WOODARD, C., 1998. Egalitarianism, Responsibility and Desert Imprints; a journal of analytical socialism. 3(1), 25-48
  • WOODARD, C., 1997. The Practice of Political Theory. In: BURNHAM, P., ed., Surviving the Research Process in Politics London: Pinter.
  • WOODARD, C., 1997. Responsibility, Desert and Liberal Theories of Justice In: Contemporary Political Studies. 1161-1168

Department of Philosophy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact details