portrait of me by Caspar.jpg

About Me

I’m an Associate Professor at the ANU, head of the School of Philosophy, lead CI on the ARC grant ‘Ethics and Risk’, and project lead of the Humanising Machine Intelligence Grand Challenge Program.

I write on topics in political philosophy, and normative and applied ethics. I have two current research projects.

The first focuses on how those who care about rights and duties can make decisions under risk and uncertainty. I’m working on a book, to come out with Oxford University Press, called Duty Under Doubt: Deontological Decision-Making with Imperfect Information.

Together with a group of philosophers, computer scientists, and social scientists, I'm also leading a new project on Humanising Machine Intelligence. Read about that at hmi.anu.edu.au

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. The book is the subject of a symposium in Law and Philosophy, available online now. 

I've published papers in many top journals, including Ethics (2009, 2015, 2017), Philosophy & Public Affairs (2010, 2012, 2018), Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2015), Nous (2017), Philosophical Quarterly (2018), Philosophical Studies (2017), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy (2017), and others. See 'Research' for more. I'm also an Area Editor at Ergo, an editor of Philosophers' Imprint, and on the editorial board of Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy

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. Sometimes the nice people at Samyang send me lenses to play with. You can see those pictures here. I exhibit my night sky work, which you can also buy here.




c2021   Duty Under Doubt: Deontological Decision-Making with Imperfect Information, under contract with Oxford University Press

2015    Sparing Civilians. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 


Edited Books and Symposia

2018    Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, now in print. (Co-Editor, with Helen Frowe)

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

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

2019     ‘Duty and Doubt', Journal of Practical Ethics, accepted 3/11/2018

2019     ‘Deontological Decision Theory and the Grounds of Subjective Permissibility’, Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, accepted 22/10/2018

2019     ‘Self-Ownership and Agent-Centred Options’, Social Philosophy and Policy, accepted 26/8/2018

2018     ‘Moral Status and Agent-Centred Options’, Utilitas, online now | preprint

2018     ‘Limited Aggregation and Risk’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 46/2,117-159 | preprint

2018     ‘Accommodating Options’, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, online now | preprint

2018     ‘Moral Sunk Costs’, Philosophical Quarterly, 68/273, 841-861 | preprint

2018     ‘Strengthening Moral Distinction’, Law and Philosophy, 37/3, 327-349 | preprint

2018     ‘In Dubious Battle: Uncertainty and the Ethics of Killing’, Philosophical Studies 175/4, 859-883 | preprint 

2017     ‘Axiological Absolutism and Risk’ (with Chad Lee-Stronach), Noûs, online now | preprint 

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

2017     ‘Deontological Decision Theory and Agent-Centred Options’, Ethics 127/3, 579-609 | preprint

2017     ‘Proxy Battles in the Ethics of War’ (with Laura Valentini), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy Volume 3 | preprint

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

2017     ‘Just War Theory: Revisionists Vs Traditionalists’, Annual Review of Political Science vol 20, 37-54 | preprint

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

2017    ‘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

2016  ‘Authorization and the Morality of War’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 94/2, 211-226 | preprint

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


2018   ‘The Ethics of War’, with Helen Frowe, Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War, Seth Lazar & Helen Frowe (eds.), New York: Oxford University Press | preprint

2018    ‘Method in the Morality of War’, Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War, Seth Lazar & Helen Frowe (eds.), New York: Oxford University Press | preprint

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

2016    ‘War’, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford | preprint

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


2018     ANU Grand Challenge Program (Up to $8m)

'Humanising Machine Intelligence'. Project Lead. Other team members: Jenny Davis, Toni Erskine, Marcus Hutter, Colin Klein, Idione Meneghel, Katie Steele, Sylvie Thiébaux, Bob Williamson, Lexing Xie. 

2016     ARC DP17 Award ($335,000)

'Ethics and Risk'. Lead CI. Other CIs and PIs: Buchak (Berkeley); Steele (ANU); Hájek (ANU); Jackson (ANU); Pettit (ANU).  

2013     ARC DECRA13 Award (2013: $119,000, 2014: $122,000, 2015: $125,000)

'Justifying War'. Sole CI.