Practical Ethics provides a daily ethical analysis of the latest developments in science, technology and other current affairs.




Graduated Students

Matthew Baum

Matt BaumMatthew Baum was a D.Phil. student at Balliol College, University of Oxford.  His thesis work, which addressed the bio-prediction of brain-based disorder, was co-supervised by Professor Julian Savulescu (Neuroethics) and Dr Mark Sheehan (Public Health) and was supported by the Rhodes Trust. Prior to joining the Centre for Neuroethics, Matt completed a bachelors and masters combined degree program in Molecular Biology at Yale University, where he conducted laboratory research on the molecular basis of learning & memory and Fragile X Syndrome. He also earned an M.Sc. in Neuroscience at Trinity College, Dublin, where he investigated cellular models of Schizophrenia. Matt is currently in an MD-PhD training program at Harvard and MIT, where he is pursuing both medical training and laboratory research related to the genetics and molecular mechanisms of schizophrenia. He is also a 2013-2014 student fellow at Harvard Law School's Petrie Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Bioetechnology and Bioethics, and student/post-doc representative to the International Neuroethics Society.

Kyle Edwards

Kyle Edwards

Kyle Edwards is a DPhil student in Public Health at St Cross College, Oxford, supervised by Prof. Julian Savulescu, Dr. Imogen Goold, and Dr. Michael Dunn.  She graduated from Princeton University in 2012 with a BA in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies, where her thesis focused on the conception and consideration of ‘the public’ by national ethics committees that regulate assisted reproductive technologies.  Kyle’s research interests focus specifically on the national regulation of assisted reproductive technologies in the UK and US, and more generally on the processes by which democratic societies regulate emerging medical technologies.

Michelle Hutchinson

Michelle HutchinsonMichelle Hutchinson is a doctoral student in Philosophy at Exeter College. She graduated with an MPhysPhil in Physics and Philosophy from Exeter College in 2008. Between 2008 and 2010 she was the Ethics Scholar at St Anne's, where she received a BPhil in Philosophy. Her research interests are in theoretical and practical ethics. Her doctoral thesis investigates the ethics of life-extension from a utilitarian perspective. She has also written on the morality of home-birth.

Alexandre Erler (Lincoln College, Oxford (until October 2012)

Alexandre ErlerAlex Erler was a DPhil candidate in Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and a Research Associate at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. He did his undergraduate studies in Switzerland, after which he completed the BPhil in Philosophy at the University of Oxford. His doctoral thesis considered the question whether the use of so-called “enhancement technologies”, such as psychopharmaceuticals, threatens our authenticity. Beyond this particular question, Alex has a more general interest in ethical issues raised by enhancement technologies, such as distributive justice. With a group of Swiss colleagues, he recently launched NeoHumanitas (, a think tank aiming to stimulate the public debate, in Switzerland and surrounding countries, on the ethical implications of new technologies.

William MacAskill

Will MacAskill

William MacAskill is a DPhil student at St Anne's College, Oxford.  Prior to that, he did the BPhil at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and was an undergraduate at Jesus College, Cambridge. His research interests are within practical ethics, theoretical ethics, and decision theory.  His DPhil research addresses questions concerning what one ought to do when one is uncertain between different moral perspectives.  He also works on the ethics of choosing a career and on issues related to the prioritization of global problems.  He is President of 80,000 Hours, a community for people who aim to pursue those careers that enable them to do the most to help other people. He will spend the academic year 2012-13 in the USA as a Fulbright Scholar at Princeton University.  CV and papers.

Jonathan Pugh, St Anne's College (Oct 2011- 2013) 

Jonathan PughJonathan has joined the Uehiro Centre as a DPhil student in Philosophy. Prior to arriving in Oxford, he completed an undergraduate degree in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh in 2010, and an Msc by Research degree in Philosophy at the same institution in 2011. 

His research interests lie in normative and applied ethics. In the latter area, he is particularly interested in questions concerning emerging medical technologies such as therapeutic cloning and germline enhancement.

G. Owen Schaefer

Owen Schaefer

Owen Schaefer recently received his DPhil in Philosophy from Oxford University and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics. His main academic interests lie in applied ethics, broadly construed.  He has previously written on the obligation to participate in research, the nature of the right to withdraw, embryonic stem cell research, in vitro meat and (for his dissertation) moral enhancement.  On-going research topics include analysing modes of moral enhancement, developing a framework for procedural moral reliability, addressing when to disclose incidental findings in research and analysing the permissibility of imprisonment in light of prohibitions against torture.  Website

Sylvia Terbeck

Alexandre Erler received my Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kiel University [Germany] in 2003, my ‘Magistra rer. nat.’ from Vienna University [Austria] in 2008 and I have submitted my DPhil in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University in April 2013. I previously worked as a research assistant in the psychiatric department at the Universities of Bangor [Wales], and Bern [Switzerland]. I have been a psychology tutor for Oxford University, teaching biological and social psychology.  My research interests center around the scientific study of pro-and antisocial behaviour. In particular, I have investigated the role of emotional arousal in moral as well as social judgments. I have applied interdisciplinary research approaches; combining psychology, with neuroscience, as well as neuroethics. Additionally, I am interested in investigating novel methodological approaches [technologically, as well as neuroscientific, and behaviourally] to the study of emotion and social/moral concepts.