About Me

I'm an Associate Professor, and Head of the School of Philosophy, in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. I write on topics in political philosophy, and normative and applied ethics. My current research project focuses on how deontologists (roughly, people who think that morality is fundamentally about rights and duties, rather than realising the best consequences) can make decisions under risk and uncertainty. I'm working on a book, provisionally called 'Duty Under Doubt: Deontological Decision-Making with Imperfect Information'.

In my last book, Sparing Civilians (Oxford, 2015), I tried to preserve the protection of civilians in war against political and philosophical threats that have arisen in recent years.

Most of my work has been on the ethics of war, self-defence, and risk, but I have also written on corrective justice, the nature of rights, and associative duties. I've published papers in Ethics (2009, 2015, 2017), Philosophy & Public Affairs (2010, 2012), Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2015), and other leading moral and political philosophy journals. See 'Research' for more.

In 2011 I was awarded the Frank Chapman Sharp Prize, the American Philosophical Association's prize for the best unpublished monograph on the philosophy of war and peace, and in 2016 I was one of three recipients of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia's Early career commendations. I'm a Global Ethics Fellow of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and have written op-eds for Boston Review, and recorded interviews with philosophy podcasts such as Public Ethics Radio, Examining Ethics, and Philosophy Bites. In 2013, I was awarded a $366,000 DECRA grant, by the ARC. In 2016, I was lead CI on a Discovery Grant of $335,000, on Ethics and Risk. 

I'm also a photographer. All the pictures on this site are my own (except the portrait—that's by Caspar Hare). You can see more of my photos here.


portrait of me by Caspar.jpg


Published Work


2015    Sparing Civilians. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 


Edited Books and Symposia

2017    Symposium on Ethics, Uncertainty, and Decision Theory. Ethics (guest editor). 

2015    Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, all chapters online now. (Co-Editor, with Helen Frowe)

2014    The Morality of Defensive War. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Co-Editor, with Cécile Fabre)

2011    Symposium on Jeff McMahan’s Killing in War. Ethics (guest editor)


Journal Articles

2017     ‘In Dubious Battle: Uncertainty and the Ethics of Killing’, Philosophical Studies  

2017     ‘Risky Killing: How Risks Worsen Violations of Objective Rights’, Journal of Moral Philosophy preprint

2017     ‘Response: Limiting Defensive Rights’, Journal of Applied Philosophy 34:1, 19-23 | preprint

2017     ‘Deontological Decision Theory and Agent-Centred Options’, Ethics | preprint

2017     ‘Proxy Battles in the Ethics of War’ (with Laura Valentini), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy | preprint

2017     ‘Just War Theory: Revisionists Vs Traditionalists’, Annual Review of Political Science | preprint

2017    ‘Evaluating the Revisionist Critique of Just War Theory’, Daedalus 146:1, 113-124 | preprint

2016    ‘Anton’s Game: Deontological Decision Theory for an Iterated Decision Problem’, Utilitas 29:1, 88-109 preprint

2016    ‘Complicity, Collectives, and Killing in War’, Law and Philosophy 35:4, 365-389 | preprint 

2016    ‘The Justification of Associative Duties’, Journal of Moral Philosophy13:1, 28-55 | preprint

2015    ‘Risky Killing and the Ethics of War’, Ethics, 126:1, 91-117 | preprint

2015    ‘Authorization and the Morality of War’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, forthcoming in print, available online now | preprint

2015    'Authority, Oaths, Contracts, and Uncertainty in War’, Thought, 4:1, 52–58 | preprint

2014    ‘Necessity and Noncombatant Immunity’, Review of International Studies, 40:1, 53-76 | preprint

2013    ‘Associative Duties and the Ethics of Killing in War’, Journal of Practical Ethics, 1:1, 3-48 | preprint

2012    ‘Necessity in Self-Defense and War’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 40:1, 3-44 | preprint

2010    ‘A Liberal Defence of (Some) Duties to Compatriots’, Journal of Applied Philosophy, 27:3,  246-57 | preprint

2010    ‘The Responsibility Dilemma for Killing in War: A Review Essay’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 38:2, 180-213 | preprint

2009    ‘Responsibility, Risk, & Killing in Self-Defense’, Ethics, 119:4, 699-728 | preprint

2009    ‘Debate: Do Associative Duties Really Not Matter?’, Journal of Political Philosophy, 17:1, 90-101 | preprint

2009    ‘The Nature & Disvalue of Injury’, Res Publica, 15:3, 289-304 | preprint

2008    ‘Corrective Justice & the Possibility of Rectification’, Ethical Theory & Moral Practice, 11:4, 355–68 | preprint


2017    ‘Travel, Friends, and Killing’, in Philosophers Take on the World, Edmonds (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press. Accepted 20/1/2016

2017   ‘The Ethics of War’, with Helen Frowe, Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War, Seth Lazar & Helen Frowe (eds.), New York: Oxford University Press | preprint

2016    ‘The Associativist Account of the Ethics of War’, Global Political Theory, David Held and Pietro Maffettone (eds.), Cambridge: Polity | preprint

2016    ‘Method in the Morality of War’, Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War, Seth Lazar & Helen Frowe (eds.), New York: Oxford University Press | preprint

2016    ‘War’s Endings and the Structure of Just War Theory’, The Ethics of War, Sam Rickless and Saba Bazargan (eds.), New York: Oxford University Press | preprint

2016    ‘Liability and the Ethics of War: A Reply to Strawser and McMahan’, The Ethics of Self-Defence, Christian Coons and Michael Weber (ed.), New York: Oxford University Press | preprint

2014    ‘National Defence, Self-Defence, and the Problem of Political Aggression’, in The Morality of Defensive War, Lazar and Fabre (eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 9-37 | preprint

2014    ‘Introduction’, with Cécile Fabre, in The Morality of Defensive War, Lazar and Fabre (eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1-8 

2013    ‘War’, International Encyclopaedia of Ethics, Hugh Lafollette (ed.), Wiley-Blackwell | preprint

2013    ‘Just War Theory’, Oxford Companion to Comparative Politics, Joel Krieger (ed.), Oxford University Press 

2012    ‘Scepticism about Jus Post Bellum’, Morality, Jus Post Bellum, and International Law Larry May and Andrew Forcehimes (eds.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 204-22 | preprint

2012    ‘The Morality and Law of War’, Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law, Andrei Marmor (ed.), London: Routledge, 364-79 | preprint


2016   ‘Should Civilians be Spared?' Examining Ethics, podcast available at http://examiningethics.org/2016/09/12-seth-lazar-sparing-civilians/. 

2015    Volunteer Service, Oxford Practical Ethics 

2014    On Human Shields, Boston Review 

2014    ‘Sparing Civilians in War’ Philosophy Bites, interview by Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds, over 85,000 downloads as of July 2016

2013    The Moral Responsibility of Volunteer Soldiers: Response to McMahan, Boston Review 

2012    'Self-Defense in War', Public Ethics Radio


2016    Academy of Social Sciences of Australia Early Career Award

2011    American Philosophical Association Frank Chapman Sharp memorial prize for the best unpublished monograph on the philosophy of war & peace

Biennial prize ($1500). Awarded for monograph derived from unpublished chapters of thesis. 

2009    Res Publica Postgraduate Essay Prize for 2008

2008    Society for Applied Philosophy Annual Conference Postgraduate Essay Prize

2007    Social Science Division Teaching Excellence Award (Category A)

Award funded by Higher Education Funding Council for England, for outstanding teaching. Only 5 awards in the department of politics, only one to graduate student