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 on hills.

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 interesting too.

Professional Activities

  • Secretary, British Society for Ethical Theory, 1996-2002.
  • President, British Society for Ethical Theory, 2002-2008.
  • Editorial Board, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
  • Editorial Committee, Utilitas

Current Projects

  • The Possibility of Moral Community.

Key Recent Publications

  • “Contractualism and Risk Imposition” in Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7, 2008, pp. 99-122.
  • "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.
  • "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.
  • "Ethics Without Errors" in Ratio 26, 2013, pp. 391-409. Reprinted in Bart Streumer (ed.): Irrealism in Ethics (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014)
  • "Deliberation, Schmeliberation: Enoch's Indispensibility Argument" in Philosophical Studies 168, 2014, pp. 835-842.
  • "Gibbardian Humiility: Moral Fallibility and Moral Smugness" in Journal of Value Inquiry 48, 2014, pp. 235-245 (issue edited by Sabine Roeser and Joel Rickard).
  • Scepticism about Intuition" in Sophie Grace Chappell: Intuition, Theory and Anti-Theory in Ethics (Oxford: OUP, 2015), pp. 24-39.
  • "Moral Inquiry and Mob Psychology" forthcoming in The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods, edited by Christopher Daly.

Postgraduate Students


  • Brendan Kelters, Ethics
  • Lewis Brooks, Metaethics
  • Jingbo Hu, Moral Responsibility
  • Graham Bex-Priestley, Metaethics
  • Josh Thomas, Ethics
  • Stephen Ingram, Metaethics Completed 2016
  • Carl Fox, Contractualism Completed 2014
  • Jonathan Parry, War (AHRC funded), Completed 2014
  • David Ekstrand, Political Justification, Completed 2011
  • 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.


j dot lenman at sheffield dot ac dot uk

Publications in Detail

See detailed list.