Meet our new philosopher - Hallvard Lillehammer

We had a chat with Hallvard, who will be joining us in January 2025.

Hallvard Lillehammer smiling at the camera

We asked Hallvard a few questions to get to know them:

What are your key areas of research?

Most of my research is focused on the interpretation and criticism of basic ideas in moral and political thought, such as reason, objectivity, impartiality, autonomy, indifference and responsibility. Partly through thinking about the last of these ideas I have recently become interested in the ethics of praise, on which topic I am currently editing a volume of new essays to be published by Cambridge University Press.

Your publications?

Over the years, I have written a series of papers about how the same philosophical arguments keep reappearing at different points in history, sometimes without any awareness that this is happening. A number of these papers have focused on so-called debunking arguments in metaethics. I have also written about the extent to which the objective credentials of value judgments are distinctively problematic as compared to other judgments with which they are sometimes said to be companions in guilt.

Favourite topics to teach?

My philosophical curiosity has pushed me to constantly teaching new things. One thing I find especially rewarding, though, is finding ways to connect the abstract and theoretical with the concrete and practical, for example on questions about personal autonomy and responsibility in political epistemology.

What drew you to the University of Sheffield?

The outstanding strength of Sheffield Philosophy. The staff and students at Sheffield are also among the most friendly and welcoming group of philosophers I have met.

Do you know Sheffield well? If so, what's your favourite thing about the city? If not, what are you most looking forward to about being in the city?

I am excited about working in a university located close to the heart of a city that is easily accessible by foot, cycling and public transport. And - believe it or not - as someone who grew up in a mountainous part of the world, I look forward to taking on the hills!

What are your hobbies outside of work?

There are few things that beat a good walk in beautiful countryside. I hope that being living near the Peak District will offer plenty of opportunities for that.

How did you become a philosopher?

I have been prone to doubting and questioning things for as long as I can remember, so maybe there is an element of fate about becoming a philosopher. On reflection, though, that is arguably an after-the-fact rationalization that covers up a series of accidents and moments of exceptional fortune. (There’s me doubting and questioning things again…).