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David Phillips

Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy

I'm a Professor of Philosophy, and Chair of the Philosophy Department. I specialize in ethics; my research interests are primarily in the history of ethics and metaethics, with a particular focus on British moral philosophers. My most recent book, is Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics: A Guide (Oxford University Press, 2022; NDPR Review here). My previous books (both also published by OUP) are: Rossian EthicsW.D. Ross and Contemporary Moral Theory (2019, NDPR Review here), and Sidgwickian Ethics (2011).


  • Lincoln College, Oxford University, 1983-6
    • B. A. with first class honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, July 1986.
  • Cornell University, 1986-93
    • M. A. in Philosophy, September 1989.
    • Ph. d in Philosophy, May 1993.

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Selected Publications


  • Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics: A Guide (Oxford University Press, May 2022)
  • Rossian Ethics: W.D. Ross and Contemporary Moral Theory (Oxford University Press, July 2019)
  • Sidgwickian Ethics (Oxford University Press, October 2011)


  • "Sidgwick''s Kantian Account of Moral Motivation," in Paytas and Henning, eds., Kantian and Sidgwickian Ethics (Routledge 2020)
  • "Sympathy for the Error Theorist: Parfit and Mackie," Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 2014.
  • "Joseph Butler," in International Encyclopedia of Ethics 2013.
  • 'Mackie on Practical Reason,' Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 2007, reprinted in A World Without Values: Essays on John Mackie's Moral Error Theory (Philosophical Studies Series), ed. Richard Joyce and Simon Kirchin (Springer: Jan 2010)
  • "Hume on Practical Reason: Normativity and Psychology in Treatise 2.3.3," Hume Studies, November 2005
  • "Thomson and the Semantic Argument against Consequentialism," Journal of Philosophy, September 2003.
  • "Butler and the Nature of Self-Interest," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, March 2000.
  • "Sidgwick, Dualism and Indeterminacy in Practical Reason," History of Philosophy Quarterly 1998.

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