James Lenman


Personal Homepage

My Personal Homepage


BA (Oxford), MPhil, PHD (St Andrews)


I am a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. Before coming here, I was a schoolboy in Dundee, Scotland; then an undergraduate student at St Catherine's College, Oxford University reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics; then a graduate student at St Andrews University studying for an M.Phil. and then a PhD in Moral Philosophy; then a Lecturer at Lancaster University and lastly a Lecturer then Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow. In 2002-2003 I was a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Ethics and the Professions at Harvard University. When not at work, I can sometimes be found wandering around the Peak District and other hilly places. (There are some pictures here.)

Research Interests

I work mainly on ethics and especially metaethics. My recent work has dealt with issues relating to moral realism, moral expressivism, moral psychology, moral epistemology, and moral responsibility, compatibilism, consequentialism, contractualism, constructivism and contingency.

I find some other bits of philosophy quite interesting too.

Professional Activities and Distinctions

  • Secretary, British Society for Ethical Theory, 1996-2002.
  • President, British Society for Ethical Theory, 2002-2008.
  • Peer Review College Member, Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • Editorial Board, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

Current Projects

  • The Possibility of Moral Community.

Key Recent Publications

  • “Contractualism and Risk Imposition” in Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7, 2008, pp. 99-122.
  • "Against Moral Fictionalism" in Philosophical Books 49, 2008, pp. 23-32.
  • “Reasons for Action: Justification vs. Explanation” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reasons-just-vs-expl/), posted February, 2009.
  • "Naturalism Without Tears" in Ratio 22, 2009, pp. 1-18. Reprinted in Jussi Suikkanen and John Cottingham (eds.): Essays on Derek Parfit’s On What Matters (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)
  • “The Politics of the Self” in Lisa Bortolotti (ed.): Philosophy and Happiness (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), pp. 183-199.
  • "Achieving Objectivity" in Philosophical Perspectives 23, 2009, pp. 293-304
  • "Humean Constructivism in Moral Theory" in Oxford Studies in Metaethics V, 2010, pp. 175-193.
  • “Uggles and Muggles: Wedgwood on Normative Thought and Justification” in Philosophical Studies, 2010151, 2010, pp. 469-477.
  • "Pleasure, Desire and Practical Reason", in Ethical Theorty and Moral Practice14, 2011, pp. 143-149.
  • "Science, Ethics and Observation" in Havi Carel and Darian Meacham (eds.): Phenomenology and Naturalism, Supplement to Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp.261-274.

Postgraduate Students


  • Stephen Ingram, Metaethics
  • Carl Fox, Contractualism
  • Jonathan Parry, War
  • Ivar Hannikainen, Metaethics
  • David Ekstrand, Political Justification
  • Heather Arnold, Justice and the Family
    (AHRC funded). Completed, 2010
  • Jonathan Smith, Moral Realism
    (AHRC funded). Completed, 2009
  • Paul Sludds, Wellbeing and Death
    (AHRC funded).
    Completed, 2008.
  • Jules Holroyd, Autonomy
    (AHRC funded). Completed, 2008.
    Completed, 2008.
  • Anna Wilkinson: Moral Naturalism
    (AHRC funded)
    Completed, 2007.

Office Hours:

By appointment. (On leave, semester 1, 2013-2014.)


j dot lenman at sheffield dot ac dot uk

Publications in Detail

See detailed list.