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Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Each year graduate and undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Oxford in any subject are invited to enter the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics by submitting an essay of up to 2000 words on any topic relevant to practical ethics.  Eligibility includes visiting students who are registered as recognized students, and paying fees, but does not include informal visitors.  Two undergraduate papers and two graduate papers will be shortlisted from those submitted to go forward to a public presentation and discussion, where the winner of each category will be selected.  

The winner from each category will receive £300, and the runner up £100. Revised versions of the two winning essays will be considered for publication in the Journal of Practical Ethics, though publication is not guaranteed.

Finalists may also have the opportunity to present their papers at the Festival of arguments: ethics fit for the 21st century. 

Entry is now open for 2020.  Please submit your written papers by the end of Monday 10th February 2020 to Finalists will be notified in mid February of selection. The public presentation will take place in 8th Week, Hilary term 2020, on Tuesday 10th March. Please save this presentation date, as you will need to attend if selected as a finalist. If asked to present at The Festival of Arguments: Ethics Fit fot the 21st Century will be this will take place on the 24th March. Full details are available here.

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Date: Tuesday 10th March 2020

Venue: To be confirmed



All details TBC 

The 5th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation and Reception

HT19 Week 8, Wednesday 6th March, 4:30 – 5:45 pm.

The Presentation was held in St Luke’s Chapel, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Oxford OX2 6HT, followed by a drinks reception until 7:00 pm.


Undergraduate Category:

Winner: Harry Lloyd with his essay “What, if anything, is objectionable about gentrification?”

Runner Up: Angelo Ryu with his essay “Do Jurors Have a Moral Obligation to Avoid Deadlock?”


Graduate Category:

Winner: Tena Thau with her essay “Love Drugs and Expanding the Romantic Circle”

Joint Runners Up: Miles Kellerman with his essay “The Ethical Dilemma of Disclosing Offshore Accounts” and Brian Wong with his essay “Should We Contact Uncontacted Peoples?: A Case for a Samaritan Rescue Principle”


Honourable Mentions in the Graduate category

Maximilian Kiener: “Consent and Causation”

Michelle Lee:  “Practical Ethics of Machine Learning and Discriminatory Lending”

Robert Underwood:  “Killing to Communicate”


The 4th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation and Reception

HT18 Week 6, Thursday 22nd February, 4.00 – 5.50 pm.

The Presentation was held in Seminar Room 1, Oxford Martin School (corner of Catte St and Broad St), followed by a drinks reception in Seminar room 2 until 7:00 pm.

Undergraduate Category:

Winner: Jonathan Latimer with his essay ‘Why we Should Genetically ‘Disenhance’ Animals Used in Factory Farms’

Runner Up: Brian Wong with his essay ‘On Relational Injustice: Could Colonialism Have Been Wrong Even if it Had Introduced More Benefits Than Harms?’

Graduate Category:

Winner: Miles Unterreiner with his essay ‘The Paradox of the Benefiting Samaritan’

Runner Up: James Kirkpatrick with his essay ‘When is Sex With Conjoined Twins Permissible?’

Honorable Mention: Tena Thau with her essay ‘Should Cryonics be Compulsory?’

The 3rd Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation and Reception

HT17 Week 7, Wednesday 1st March, 4.00 – 5.50 pm.

The Presentation was held in Seminar Room 1, Oxford Martin School (corner of Catte St and Broad St), followed by a drinks reception in Seminar room 2 until 7:00 pm.


Undergraduate Category:

Winner: Paul de Font-Reaulx, with his essay ‘What Makes Discrimination Wrong?’

Runner up: Andreas Masvie with his essay ‘The Ethical Dilemma of Youth Politics’.

Honourable Mention: Isabel Canfield: ‘Secondary Intention in Euthanasia’.


Graduate Category:

Winner: Romy Eskens with her essay Is Sex With Robots rape? On the Permissibility of Cosentless Sex With Robots’.

Runner up: Jonas Haeg with his essay ‘Should We Completely Ban “Political Bots”?’

Honourable Mention: 


Simon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette: Prostitution: You Can’t Have Your Cake and Sell It.’

Fergus Peace: ‘Global Warming and Vegetarianism: What should I do, when what I do makes no difference?’

Rebecca Buxton: ‘In It To Win It: Is Prize Giving Bad for Philosophy?’


The 2nd Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation and Reception

HT16 Week 7, Wednesday 2nd March, 4.00 – 5.50 pm.

The Presentation was held in Seminar Room 1, Oxford Martin School (corner of Catte St and Broad St), followed by a drinks reception in Seminar room 2 until 6.45 pm.

Undergraduate Category:

Joint Winners:  Carolina Flores Henrique, with her essay ‘Should feminists in rich countries shift their focus to international development?’ & Thomas Sittler with his essay ‘How should vegetarians actually live? A reply to Xavier Cohen’.

Undergraduate Honourable Mentions:

Mahmoud Ghanem “Should we take moral advice from our computers?” 

Raphael Hogarth “Are offensive jokes permissible if they’re funny?” 


Graduate Category:

Winner: Joseph Bowen with his essay ‘Necessity and liability’.

Runner up: Benjamin Lange with his essay ‘Should you switch to an altruistic career?’

Graduate Honourable Mentions:

Sofiane Croisier “Brexit and morality” 

Benjamin Koons “Justice of punitive war” 

Areti Theofilopuolou “Is graffiti morally permissible?” 

Carissa VelizOn holding ethicists to higher moral standards” 

The 1st Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation and Reception

HT15 Week 8, Thursday 12th March 2015 4:30 – 5:50pm.

The Presentation was held in Seminar Room 1, Oxford Martin School (corner of Catte St and Broad St), followed by a drinks reception in Seminar room 2 until 6.45 pm.

Undergraduate Category:

Winner: Xavier Cohen with his essay: How Should Vegans Live?

Runner Up: Dillon Bowen with his essay “The Economics of Morality”

Undergraduate Honourable Mentions:

Benedict Hardwick: Can a Contractarian Rationally Donate to Charity?

Fionn O’D0novan: In light of the value of personal relationships, is immortality desirable?


Graduate Category:

Winner: Jessica Laimann with her essay:  Is prohibition of breast implants a good way to undermine harmful and unequal social norms?

Runner Up: Miles Unterreiner with his essay “Going Viral: Contagion and the Limits of Free Speech”

Graduate Honourable Mentions:

C’zar Bernstein: Arguing About Guns

Catrin Gibson:   If one is genuinely concerned with the welfare of non-human animals, should one seriously consider the disenhancement of intensively-farmed livestock as a possible method of reducing animal suffering?

Callum Hackett: Giving Ourselves Away.

Podcast of the final presentations is available here:

Uehiro Conference Proceedings

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International treaties, including Conferences of the Parties, have been signed and global warming countermeasures are being proposed all over the world. Resources on this page are drawn from the Uehiro-Carnegie-Oxford Conference, 'Global Warming-Environmental Ethics and Its Practice', which took place in New York in October 2015, with an international group of participants seeking to address the following questions: Is it possible to establish an environmental ethics to combat global warming?

  • Are there any major differences in environmental philosophies between Eastern and Western thought?
  • What are the key values that are necessary to make people recognize the importance of sustainability?
  • How can ethics solve obstacles to prevention of global warming?
  • How can we get bystanders and free riders to feel a sense of responsibility?
  • What should be our role in helping to preserve sustainable environment? Is environmental education helpful for sustainability?

Programme [PDF]

Stephen Gardiner (Professor of Philosophy and Ben Rabinowitz Endowed Professor of Human Dimensions of the Environment, University of Washington)
'Accepting Collective Responsibility for the Future'

Toshio Kuwako (Graduate School of Decision Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology)
'Theory and Practice of Environmental Ethics Facing the Benefits and Risks from Complex Interaction between Human Activities and Dynamics of the Globe'

Evan Berry (Associate Professor, Philosophy and Religion, American University)
'Is Climate Change One Problem? Culturally Particular Notions of Harm in a Warming Planet'
Audio | Transcript

Guy Kahane (Deputy Director, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics)
'Climate Change and Human Moral Psychology'
Audio | Transcript

Peter Higgins (University of Edinburgh)
'Global Intimacy: How do we cultivate a care for ‘place’ when the place is the planet? '
Audio | Transcript

Narumi Yoshikawa (Assistant Professor, Institute for Waseda Environmental Science)
'TEIKEI Movement and Agricultural Ethics'

Dale Jamieson (Professor of Environmental Studies, New York University)
'How to Live in the Anthropocene'
Audio | Transcript

Mitsuyo Toyoda (Associate Professor at Niigata University, Center for Toki and Ecological Restoration)
'Re-constructing Democratic Culture at the Age of Environmental Crisis'

Ingmar Persson (Professor of Practical Philosophy, University of Gothenburg)
'Climate Change – The Hardest Moral Challenge'
Audio | Transcript

Gustaf Arrhenius (Professor of Practical Philosophy, Stockholm University)
'Population Ethics in the Time of Global Warming'

Takako Takano (Waseda University)
'Ethical Consequences of 'Educations' Linked to Sustainability'

Julian Savulescu (Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics)
'The Psychology and Ethics of the Tragedy of the Commons'
Audio | Transcript

Paul Gallay (President, Riverkeeper)
'Defending New York's Hudson River'
Video and Transcript

20-21 June 2013, Oxford

Many people and countries are now beginning to evaluate the success of their lives or society not purely in terms of money or gross domestic product. The currency of traditional economics – preference satisfaction - has fallen into question as an ethical value. The global financial crisis is seen by many as a failure of capitalism. Some countries have proposed a Gross Happiness Index to replace GDP as the measure of the productivity of a country. What is of intrinsic value in human lives? How should we measure how good a human being’s life is? What is happiness and what constitutes well-being? What can we learn from religion, philosophy, economics and the cognitive sciences about happiness and well-being? Are happiness and well-being relative to culture? What roles do pleasure and happiness play in ethics? Should we aim to maximise happiness and pleasure? How should the views of people with disability be incorporated into an ethics of well-being?

The Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education, Tokyo
The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, New York
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford

Krister Bykvist (Oxford); Brad Hooker (Reading); Thomas Hurka (Toronto); Satoshi Kodama (Kyoto); Morten Kringelbach (Oxford); Seiji Kumagai (Kyoto); Kazunobu Narita (Keio); Ingmar Persson (Gothenburg); Raffaele Rodogno (Aarhus, Denmark); Anthony Skelton (Toronto and Oxford); Edward Skidelsky (Exeter); Valerie Tiberius (Minnesota)

Roger Crisp (Oxford), Kei Hiruta (Carnegie Council and Oxford), Julian Savulescu (Oxford) and Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics

Photos (Flickr)
Audio Files (iTunes) | Oxford Podcasts (link)

Recent advances in the life sciences have posed profound and unsettling ethical questions. We now have an unprecedented understanding of the nature of life on this planet. This has brought us new powers. These powers will change us; our lives going forward will be different than ever before. We now have the technology to regenerate existing life forms, and even to generate new life forms. The science of stem cells, cloning, genetic engineering, artificial reproduction and synthetic biology provides powerful tools to change and create new life. What is the value of these new powers and what is its meaning? What does the ability to create and change life mean for human beings, other life forms and the world? How far should we go? Or have we already gone too far? What possibilities and challenges lie ahead for our medicine and health? What roles can justice and religion play in managing the incessant output of cutting-edge research in the life sciences?

This publication is the outcome of the international conference under the theme ‘Life: Its Nature, Value and Meaning – No Turning Back? Ethics for the Future of Life’ held on 17th and 18th of May 2012, sponsored by the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.

The world’s leading scholars gathered to discuss the possibility and nature of practical ethics for the future of life, chaired by Professor Tetsuro Shimizu and Professor Julian Savulescu.

Download entire book: Print-format PDF  |  iPad-format PDFOrder printed copy


1. Karuoko Aita: The family-oriented priority organ donation clause in Japan—Fair or unfair?   pp 1-8.
Print-format PDF
  |  iPad-format PDF

2. Akira Akabayashi & Misao Fujita: The Present and Future of Stem Cell Therapy in Japan   pp 9-19
Print-format PDF  |  iPad-format PDF

3. Tom Beauchamp: Common Morality, Human Rights, and Multiculturalism in Japanese and American Bioethics   pp 20-36
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4. Roger Crisp: Future Generations, Sufficiency, and Biotechnology   pp 37-46
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5. Ruth Faden & Madison Powers: Biotechnology, Justice and Health   pp 47-59
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6. Masaki Ichinose: Hybrid Nature of Causation   pp 60-80
Print-format PDF | iPad-format PDF

7. Guy Kahane: Designing Children and Respect for the Given   pp 81-88
Print-format PDF | iPad-format PDF

8. Satoshi Kodama: Tsunami-tendenko and morality in disaster situations pp 89-96
Print-format PDF | iPad-format PDF

9. Masahiro Morioka: Why is It Hard for Us to Accept Moral Bioenhancement? : Comment on Savulescu’s Argument   pp 97-108
Print-format PDF | iPad-format PDF

10. Ingmar Persson & Julian Savulescu: The Meaning of Life: Science, Equality and Eternity   pp 109-124
Print-format PDF | iPad-format PDF

11. Susumu Shimazono: Risk Assessment of Severe Nuclear Power Plant Accidents and Ethics in Science and Technology   pp 125-133
Print-format PDF | iPad-format PDF

12. Tetsuro Shimizu: The Ethics of Unity and Difference   pp 134-143
Print-format PDF | iPad-format PDF

13. Tetsuhiko Shinagawa: The Status of the Human Being: Manipulating Subject, Manipulated Object, and Human Dignity   pp 144-154
Print-format PDF | iPad-format PDF

14. Shinya Yamanaka: Induction of Pluripotency by Defined Factors   pp 155-158
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The 2010 Uehiro/Carnegie/Oxford Conference addressed the relationships and interconnections between information and technology, law, ethics and society. A highly interdisciplinary group of leading international experts were brought together to address the theme, leading to a vigorous and fruitful discussion that traversed disciplinary boundaries with ease. The presentations could be described as broadly falling into the following three main areas:

1) Legal and Empirical 
Dr Fumio Shimpo (Keio) described the nature of "life-logs" - computer archives of personal everyday life - and discussed the technical and legal issues that arise in relation to them; Dr William Dutton (Oxford) used empirical data about internet usage and attitudes to argue that moral panics over the internet produce a threat of over-regulation that we must resist; Professor Johannes Britz (Wisconsin) described the nature of an information-poor society and the problems it causes for development. A particular highlight in this area was the presentation of Dr David Erdos (Oxford), which gave an overview of UK law on data protection and - with great clarity and insight - went on to describe some of its difficulties and ethical shortcomings.

2) Ethical problems in information ethics
Professor Tadashi Takenouchi (Tokyo) argued that information theory reveals double standards in our treatment of free speech cases. Dr Anders Sandberg (Oxford) discussed the ethical implications of new technologies that extend the self and provide for collective intelligence. Another highlight was the presentation of Professor Helen Nissenbaum (New York), which led to a particularly spirited discussion. It brought a theoretical perspective on the regulation of information flows, setting out Nissenbaum's theory of privacy as contextual integrity and arguing that it need not be taken to imply moral relativism.

3) Broader reflection on how attention to technology, information ethics and systems science can teach us about ethics and the humanities
Professor Wolfgang Hofkirchner (Vienna University of Technology) argued that by adopting the framework of sustainability, we might better understand an apparently diverse range of ethical values. Professor Lucas Introna (Lancaster) argued with admirable clarity that online encounters with virtual Others are of hitherto unrecognized significance for thinking about ethics and the nature of ethical commitment. Professor Rafael Capurro (Steinbeis University Berlin) offered historically-informed reflections on what it means to go beyond humanism, arguing that the angeletic theory of messengers and messages - and the thought of our modern selves as a humanity linked by our communication of messages - can lead us toward an ethics of openness and situatedness. A highlight was the keynote speech that kicked off the conference by Professor Toru Nishigaki (Tokyo). Nishigaki contrased Japanese (relational) and Western (hierarchical) attitudes towards technology and robots, then diagnosed some of the differences in Japanese attitudes as connected with a failure to appreciate the nature and importance of autonomy, as the concept is understood in western philosophy.

The opening and closing addresses by Professor Julian Savulescu (Oxford) and by Mr Hisateru Onozuka (Director, Uehiro Foundation) respectively, and the dinner speeches by Dr Noboru Maruyama (The Secretary-General, Uehiro Foundation), Dr Joel Rosenthal (President, The Carnegie Council) and Professor Andrew Hamilton (The Vice-Chancellor, Oxford University), sounded notes of great appreciation for our generous funders, and for the lasting importance of the scholarship and collaboration that they have provided for.

Wednesday, 8 December



KEYNOTE SPEECH: Is the Society of Cohabitation with Robots Possible?
Professor Toru Nishigaki (The University of Tokyo)



Beyond Humanisms
Professor Rafael Capurro (Steinbeis University Berlin)



The Virtual Other: Thinking about virtuality and the future of ethics
Professor Lucas Introna (Lancaster University)



Ethical challenges of information poverty
Professor Johannes Britz (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)



Sustainability and self-organization: sustainability seen in the perspective of complexity and systems science and ethical considerations
Professor Wolfgang Hofkirchner (Vienna University of Technology)



The fuzzy brain: extended minds, neural interfaces and collective intelligence
Dr Anders Sandberg (Research Fellow, Oxford Uehiro Centre)



Life-Log and Privacy
Dr. Fumio Shimpo (Keio University)



Thursday, 9 December



Data Protection: An Appropriate Framework for Personal Information Ethics?
Dr. David Erdos (University of Oxford)



Moral Panics Over the Internet
Dr. William H. Dutton (University of Oxford)



Humanity and Freedom from the Viewpoint of Information
Dr. Tadashi Takenouchi (The University of Tokyo)



Does Privacy in Context endorse Moral Relativism?
Professor Helen Nissenbaum (New York University)



Past events
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