About Us

Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics square purple and white logo

In 2002 the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education, chaired by Mr Eiji Uehiro, established the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford. The following year, the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics was created within the Philosophy Faculty. Generous support by the Uehiro Foundation enabled the establishment of an annual series of three lectures, The Uehiro Lectures in Practical Ethics.

The goal of the Centre is to encourage and support debate and deeper rational reflection on practical ethics. The Centre as a whole will not promote a particular philosophy, approach, solution or point of view, though its individual members may give an argument to a substantive conclusion as a basis for dialogue, engagement and reflection. It is the method of rational analytic practical ethics that we aim to advance. The vision is Socratic, not missionary. We seek to be inclusive, encouraging debate between different approaches to ethics, aiming to resolve disagreements and identifying key areas of consensus.

Practical ethics should not only advance knowledge by deeper, rational ethical reflection and dialogue, it should change people’s hearts and so better their own lives and the lives of others.

Humanity has flourished and transformed its planet, creating ever more powerful technology with unprecedented potential for great immediate benefit but also for ultimate harm. Its success creates novel problems and challenges, for which its traditional institutions and norms were not developed: climate change, environmental destruction, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, global inequality and poverty, inter-continental migration and multiculturalism, overuse of antibiotics and the world-wide spread of infectious disease, genetic engineering, and biomedical means of life extension and cognitive and moral enhancement, and artificial intelligence. The fate of humanity in the 21st Century and following centuries will to a greater extent than ever before be determined by the choices made by human beings, the leaders and citizens of nations. It is the values, principles and wider ethics of these people that will determine their choices. We aim to enable practical ethics to develop and more effectively guide human choice.

Media, Consultancy & Policy

Members of the centre are available to provide ethics advice and consultancy for a wide variety of research projects and areas. This includes novel biotechnology, medicine, AI, professional ethics and other areas involving challenging or conflicting ethical considerations. It could include one-off consultation, teaching, written ethical analysis, or commissioning of ethics research.

Please direct enquiries to Liz Sanders.

01865 286928 | liz.sanders@philosophy.ox.ac.uk

More Information

Parfit Library

Parfit Library

Professor Derek Parfit

We are honoured to have been entrusted with Derek Parfit’s Library by his wife, Professor Janet Radcliffe Richards. We are currently preparing the collection to be made available as a standalone library that will be a resource for Parfit scholars for generations to come. We would like to thank Professor Radcliffe Richards on behalf of the University for her generosity. 

Further information on the Library, its launch, and how to access the collection will follow.

Derek Parfit 1942-2017

Derek Parfit was one of the founders of practical ethics as a discipline. His books, Reasons and Persons, and On What Matters, are the leading texts of the field. 

We were privileged and were enormously grateful to receive advice and support from Derek throughout the Centre’s life. Even more so, we were privileged to be working in Oxford alongside him. His memory and his work will live on for generations. 

For many of us at the Centre, Derek was not only an inspirational colleague, but also a teacher, mentor, and most importantly, friend. He will be greatly missed throughout Oxford, and far beyond in the international philosophical community, many of whom gathered in June for a celebration of his life and work. 


Speeches from Derek Parfit’s memorial service can be viewed here.

Members of the Centre discuss Derek’s impact on practical ethics on our YouTube channel. See playlist below.


Oxford Uehiro St Cross Visiting Programme
St Cross College Oxford, main doorway with a bicycle beside it

This Visiting Programme has been established by the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education with a view to providing opportunities for graduate students, postdoctoral and senior academics who are ordinarily resident in Japan to study or conduct research at the University of Oxford for nine or twelve months as a Visiting Scholar. The award is available in the field of practical ethics. A successful graduate student candidate will normally be supervised by a Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre and academic staff at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and a successful postdoctoral or senior academic candidate will conduct their own relevant research at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.  Successful candidates in either case will reside at St Cross College enabling him/her to benefit from the true Oxford college experience. The Visiting Programme aims to provide career development opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers.

Oxford Uehiro-St Cross Visiting Programme 2023/2024


To be eligible for the award a candidate must:

(a)  be a graduate student, postdoctoral researcher or Lecturer/Professor at a university in Japan in the field of bioethics, practical ethics, medical ethics, or applied ethics. If no suitable candidate from within these disciplines presents him/herself, applications from other Humanities and Social Sciences may also be considered, as long as the applicant’s research pertains to or has relevance to practical ethics

(b)  be adequately proficient in English to satisfy UK Border Agency visa requirement (target IELTS 7 or TOEFL iBT100)

(c)   provide a report on returning to Japan

(d)  the award is available to individuals who are ‘ordinarily resident in Japan’ and planning to return home after their period of study or research in Oxford

(e)  be an individual whose native language is Japanese


For nine or twelve months, beginning in October; requests to begin an award in April will be considered depending on circumstances. 

Number of awards available

Up to two awards in total will be available for each academic year.

Applications for 2023/24 academic year are to be submitted between 17 February and 16 March 2023. 

Amount of Award

Up to £30,000 per award as required to cover the following expenses:

Course fee (for graduate students); College fee; Living costs; One round trip airfare to/from the UK; Visa application cost and NHS surcharge.  

Application materials (all in English)

  • One-page research proposal
  • CV
  • Three academic references (for graduate students one should be from your academic supervisor)
  • Academic essay or other writing sample
  • IELTS English language proficiency certificate - target IELTS 7 (overall band score) or TOEFL iBT100) 

All the application documents should be submitted between 17 February and 16 March 2023 by email to: University of Oxford Japan Office at info@oxfordujapan.org under the heading "Oxford Uehiro-St Cross Visiting Programme".

Academic references should be sent directly to the Japan Office by post or by email to info@oxfordujapan.org under the heading "Visiting Programme Reference for NAME OF APPLICANT". If sent by email, the referee should send directly from his or her university/institution domain. If sent by post, the referee should send directly to University of Oxford Japan Office, Sanbancho UF Building 1F, 6-3 Sanbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0075.

Selection process

(a) screening of application materials by Oxford Uehiro Centre academic staff
(b) interview(s) by Oxford Uehiro Centre academic staff (via skype and/or telephone)

The final decision will be made by a Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. 

The expectation is that successful graduate student candidates will have Recognized Student status at the University of Oxford.

The successful candidate will be asked to supply the one-page research proposal and the CV in Japanese when the offer is made.

For information see: https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/new/recognised

Other sources of information that may be of interest:

Please note that in the highly unusual circumstances whereby an award is offered and accepted but the recipient cancels or significantly postpones their research visit, depending on the reasons for this decision the individual may be responsible for expenses undertaken in preparation for their visit.

Oxford Uehiro Centre Ethos and Purpose

The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics is a group of academic researchers in practical (or applied) ethics. We undertake research, teach, and engage with policy and public debates. In all of these, the Centre’s aim is to use, develop, and present philosophical methods in practical ethics. We strive for clarity and precision in our work, and welcome scrutiny and critical discussion of our arguments.

We often differ in the philosophical views we defend. We welcome staff, students, and visitors from a range of different philosophical, religious, and ethical approaches. What we have in common is a commitment to addressing issues in practical ethics through the application of philosophical methods and a commitment to academic freedom: for academics to be able to decide which topics to address and how to approach them.

Practical ethics engages with some of the most sensitive issues that we face as a society, and as individuals. We don’t expect everyone to agree with the arguments that we put forward. Arguments, ideas, and views expressed by individual researchers at the Centre are not those of the Centre itself, and our arguments are not put forward as advocacy or activism. Our aim is to provide an environment where staff, students, and visitors with a variety of views and approaches can engage in constructive debate and collaboration of academic and public value. To achieve this, we expect all of our members to participate in our academic work in a responsible way: by presenting arguments that are well informed, reasoned, and respectful to all involved and affected, and by being open to criticism on the same basis. Likewise, wherever possible, our public engagement materials and events include a mechanism for comment, discussion, and criticism within the bounds of civil discourse.

Link to other relevant statements

University Statement on Freedom of Speech 
Department of Politics and International Relations