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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Dr Christopher Cowie

Personal web page

Assistant Professor/Admissions Officer in the Department of Philosophy

(email at

Departmental Roles

  • Admissions Tutor (UG)
  • Co-Director of Ethics Research Cluster

Office Hours

In term time, Tuesdays 2-5pm, or by appointment. Rm 004 Old Elvet 50-51.

Research Summary

I work in Moral Philosophy. I am interested in the nature of moral norms and standards. Why we should care about them? How, if at all, can we think systematically about them?

I have just finished a manuscript on the relationship between morality and epistemology: Moral Judgment and Epistemic Judgment: The Argument from Analogy, now under contract with OUP. If you would like to read it, please email me. I'm happy to send a draft. Many of the issues are discussed in prior pieces in Philosophical Quarterly, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Synthese and in collections (see below).

 I am also currently co-editing a collection on a similar theme – Companions in Guilt Arguments in Metaethics – with Richard Rowland. This will be forthcoming shortly. For a summary of the kinds of issues discussed in that collection see my Philosophy Compass piece (below).

I also work on more traditional issues in Moral Philosophy. I have published on measures of welfare – in Sustainable Development - and on axiology – in Philosophical Studies. I will be focusing on this side of things a bit more over the next few years: I am currently writing a book on The Repugnant Conclusion for Routledge’s Focus on Philosophy series. I am especially interested in how traditional questions in population and axiology interact with questions about the quality of human life: Are our lives, on balance good for us or bad for us? How would you tell? Do these questions even make sense? If so do they help us to resolve the paradoxes of population?

Prior to coming to Durham, I was a Research Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. I took my PhD at Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Hallvard Lillehammer, graduating in 2014.

Upcoming Talks (2018/19)

- Morality, Epistemic Judgmentand Kinds of Probability. Invited Seminar. University of Cyprus. September 2018.

- Moral Theory and Population Axiology. Santa Fe Institute Workshop on Demography and Applied Population Ethics. October 2018.

- Welfare and the Repugnant Conclusion. Pre-Read Seminar. University of Edinburgh. November 2018.

- Title TBC. Departmental Seminar. University of Sheffield. March 2019.

- Title TBC. Colloqium Talk. University of Zurich. April 2019. 

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2019: University of Zurich Seminar: Invited speaker at Swiss Universities Ethics colloqium at Zurich

Research Interests

  • Epistemology
  • Metaethics
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Political Philosophy

Teaching Areas

  • Ethics (MA)
  • Moral Theory
  • Political Philosophy


Authored book

  • (Forthcoming). Moral and Epistemic Judgment: The Argument from Analogy. (Under Contract with Oxford University Press).
  • (Forthcoming). The Repugnant Conclusion (Under contract with Routledge).

Chapter in book

  • Jussi Suikkanen (Forthcoming). Metanormativity as a Method. In Methodology and Moral Philosophy. Routledge.
  • Cowie, Christopher & Greenberg, Alexander (2018). Constitutivism about Epistemic Normativity. In Epistemic Realism and Antirealism: Approaches to Metaepistemology. McKenna, Robin & Kyriacou, Christos Palgrave Macmillan.

Edited book

  • Christopher Cowie & Richard Rowland (Forthcoming). Companions in Guilt Arguments in Metaethics (Under contract with Routledge).

Journal Article