Hilary Greaves' home page

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About me

I am a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. Currently (2022-23), I am also a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm.

My research interests range fairly widely across moral philosophy, though with some skew towards more formal ethics and (relatedly) that which intersects more closely with economics. My existing publications in ethics include work on foundational issues in consequentialism ('global' and 'two-level' forms of consequentialism), "cluelessness", interpersonal comparisons of well-being, interpersonal aggregation (utilitarianism/prioritarianism/egalitarianism/etc.), population ethics (pure and applied), moral uncertainty, healthcare prioritisation, climate change and existential risk.

Recently, I have been thinking especially about the extent to which every plausible moral theory has to include something very close to a theory of the good (an axiology), and about artificial intelligence.

From 2017 to 2022, I served as founding Director of the Global Priorities Institute (also at the University of Oxford). Even longer ago than that, I wrote two papers in formal epistemology, and several in the philosophy of physics.

Contact information

Email: hilary dot greaves at philosophy dot ox dot ac dot uk.
Mailing address:Faculty of Philosophy, Radcliffe Humanities Building, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG.


Papers in ethics

  • 'On the desire to make a difference.' With Will MacAskill, Andreas Mogensen and Teruji Thomas. Under review.
  • 'Concepts of existential catastrophe.' Under review.
  • ''The case for strong longtermism' (book chapter). With Will MacAskill. Forthcoming in Barrett, Greaves and Thorstad (eds.), Essays on longtermism, Oxford University Press 2024.
  • 'A bargaining-theoretic approach to moral uncertainty' (with Owen Cotton-Barratt). Forthcoming in Journal of Moral Philosophy.
  • 'Comparing existence and nonexistence.' InMcMahan, Campbell, Goodrich and Ramakrishnan (eds.), Ethics and existence: The legacy of Derek Parfit, Oxford University Press 2022.
  • 'Optimum population size' (book chapter). In Arrhenius, Bykvist and Campbell and Finneron-Burns (eds.), Oxford handbook of population ethics, Oxford University Press.
  • 'Discounting future health' (book chapter). In Norheim, Emanuel, Jamison, Johansson, Millum, Otterson, Ruger and Verguet (eds.), Global health priority-setting: Cost-effectiveness and beyond, Oxford University Press.
  • 'Global consequentialism and the ethics of war' (book chapter). In Kuosmanen, McDermott, Roser and Akande (eds), Human rights and 21st century challenges. Forthcoming with OUP (2019).
  • 'Against 'the badness of death'' (book chapter). In Gamlund and Solberg (eds.), Saving lives from the badness of death. Forthcoming with OUP (2019).
  • 'Climate change and optimum population'. The Monist 102(1):42-65, 1 January 2019. Video of associated public lecture
  • 'Discounting for public policy: A survey' (survey article). Economics and Philosophy 33(3), pp. 391-439. Published online 31 May 2017. Online publication
  • 'Extended preferences and interpersonal comparisons of well-being'. With Harvey Lederman. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Published online 7 November 2016. Online publication
  • 'Population axiology' (survey article). Philosophy Compass 12(1), November 2017. Online publication
  • 'Moral uncertainty about population ethics'. With Toby Ord. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12(2), pp. 135-167, November 2017. Online publication
  • 'A reconsideration of the Harsanyi-Sen-Weymark debate on utilitarianism.' Utilitas 29(2), pp. 175-213, June 2017. Online publication
  • 'Aggregating extended preferences.' With Harvey Lederman. Philosophical Studies 174(5), pp. 1163-1190, May 2017. Online publication
  • 'Cluelessness'. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society CXIV, part 3, December 2016. Audio podcast of associated talk Slides for this talk. Online publication
  • 'Antiprioritarianism'. Utilitas 27(1), pp.1-42, March 2015. Online publication
  • 'The social disvalue of premature deaths' (book chapter). In Weighing and reasoning: Themes from the philosophy of John Broome, Oxford University Press, 2015. Publisher's Page

    Papers in formal epistemology

  • 'Epistemic decision theory'. Mind 122 (488): pp.915-952, October 2013. Online publication
  • 'Justifying conditionalization: Conditionalization maximizes expected epistemic utility'. With David Wallace. Mind 115(459): pp.607-632, July 2006. Online publication

    Papers in philosophy of physics

  • 'On the CPT theorem'. With Teruji Thomas. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 45: pp.46-65, February 2014. Online publication
  • 'Empirical consequences of symmetries'. With David Wallace. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65(1): pp.59-89, January 2014. Online publication
  • 'In search of spacetime structuralism'. Philosophical Perspectives 25(1): pp.189-204, December 2011. Online publication
  • 'Towards a geometrical understanding of the CPT theorem'. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1): pp.27-50, January 2010. Online publication
  • 'Everett and Evidence' (book chapter). With Wayne Myrvold. In Many Worlds? Everett, Quantum Theory, & Reality, ed. Saunders, Barrett, Kent and Wallace, Oxford University Press, 2010. Publisher's page
  • 'Time reversal in classical electromagnetism'. With Frank Arntzenius. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3): pp.557-584, September 2009. Online publication
  • 'On the Everettian epistemic problem'. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38(1): pp.120-152, March 2007. Online publication
  • 'Probability in the Everett interpretation' . Philosophy Compass 2(1): pp.109-128, January, 2007. Online publication
  • 'Understanding Deutsch's probability in a deterministic multiverse'. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35(3): pp.423-456, September 2004. Online publication


    The following are materials from talks I have given that have not been written up in paper form, i.e. the slides/handout notes/etc. below are the most detailed form in which this material exists.

  • 'The normative-theoretic implications of reductionism about personal identity', June 2017. Slides
  • 'The collectivist critique of effective altruism', April 2017. Slides
  • 'Primitivist prioritarianism', June 2016. Slides
  • 'Extinction risk and population ethics', June 2016. Slides Video
  • 'Saving parrots and cancer care', March 2016. Slides Video available from this page
  • 'Doublethink in global prioritisation', July 2015. Slides
  • '"Overlapping consensus" on deaths early in life', June 2015. Slides
  • 'The tradeoff problem and two-level epistemic consequentialism', November 2014. Handout
  • 'Interpersonal utility comparisons: Evaluative or descriptive?', March 2014. Handout


    This section of my website archives teaching materials from my past courses, largely for the benefit of any interested parties who were not students on those courses.

    Graduate teaching: Seminar handouts

  • Topics in Ethics, Michaelmas Term 2017 (co-taught with Teru Thomas).
  • Philosophical Foundations of Effective Altruism, Hilary Term 2017 (co-taught with Frank Arntzenius).
  • Population Ethics, Trinity Term 2015 (co-taught with Toby Ord and Theron Pummer).
  • Value Theory, Hilary Term 2014 (co-taught with Ralf Bader).

    Undergraduate teaching: Lecture notes/slides/handouts

  • Moral philosophy, first year undergraduate lectures, Michaelmas Term 2013
  • Epistemology, second year undergraduate lectures, Hilary Term 2013
  • Intermediate philosophy of physics: Special Relativity (handouts only, full course), second year undergraduate lectures, Hilary Term 2011
  • Frege and Russell, second/third year undergraduate lectures, Michaelmas Term 2010
  • Intermediate philosophy of physics: Special Relativity (full lecture notes for second half of course only), second year undergraduate lectures, Hilary Term 2010

    Undergraduate reading lists (for Oxford Prelims and Finals papers in Philosophy)

  • General Philosophy
  • FHS 102: Knowledge and Reality
  • FHS 103: Ethics
  • FHS 117: Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein
  • FHS 120: Intermediate Philosophy of Physics: Philosophy of Special Relativity
  • FHS 120: Intermediate Philosophy of Physics: Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics
  • FHS 124: Philosophy of Science
  • FHS 128: The philosophy and economics of the environment

    Unsolicited advice to students

  • Some advice for tackling Oxford Finals in philosophy.
  • Some tips for giving good presentations in philosophy.

    Popular Pieces

    These are short articles intended for a non-specialist and/or non-academic audience.

  • 'A new lease of life'. In Edmonds (ed.), Ethics and the contemporary world, Routledge 2019.
  • 'Population as a global priority?' Written August 2017; unpublished.
  • 'An unfortunate state of affairs'. In Edmonds (ed.), Philosophers Take On the World, Oxford University Press, 2016. Online publication. Publisher's page
  • 'Being right on the money'. The Philosophers' Magazine 73: pp.71-76, 2016. Online publication

    Last updated: 16 May 2023