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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

Research Summary

I work in Moral Philosophy, understood in the broadest sense. I am interested in whether we can think systematically about value, obligation and reason. For a full list of my publications see my cv.

I have spent much of the last few years working on a manuscript about the moral error theory: the view that all moral judgments are mistaken. It is entitled Moral Judgment and Epistemic Judgment: The Argument from Analogy. It will be published by Oxford University Press. You can read the introduction here. Contact me if you would like to read a full draft.

I also work in population axiology. I am currently finishing up a manuscript entitled The Repugnant Conclusion: A Philosophical Inquiry, due to be be published by Routledge. It is about how we should evaluate outcomes in which both the distributon of welfare and the number of people are varied. A summary is available here. I have also just finished co-editing a collection on methodology in metaethics (with Richard Rowland), Companions in Guilt Arguments in Metaethics, to be published by Routledge. 

Over the next few years I would like to think about: whether our extinction will be a bad thing, how, if at all, we should think about 'absolute' quality of life, and 'first order' arguments for the moral error theory. I would also like to organise a Philosophy Department football team. I probably can't manage all of these, but I've got research leave next year so I'll do my best.

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, including a visiting scholarship at Princeton. Whilst at Cambridge I was also, briefly, a post-doc for Sir Prof Partha Dasgupta

Upcoming Talks

- Morality and Epistemic Judgment. Colloqium Talk. University of Zurich. April 2019. 

- The Repugnant Conclusion and Quality of Life. British Society for Ethical Theory. Univeristy of Glasgow. July 2019.

- Title TBC. Department Seminar. University of Nottingham. 2019/20.

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

Edited book

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

Journal Article