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Hallvard Lillehammer


Hallvard Lillehammer is Professor of Philosophy and Assistant Dean in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy. He was educated at UCL and at Cambridge, where he taught for thirteen years before joining Birkbeck in 2013. At Cambridge he was at one time or other the Sidgwick Lecturer in Philosophy, Fellow and Director of Studies in Philosophy at King’s College, Senior Research Fellow at Churchill College, and Fellow of the Judge Business School. He has also held appointments at KCL and Reading University.

Research Activity

  • Hallvard’s research is mainly focused on the interpretation and criticism of basic ideas in contemporary moral and political thought, including reason, objectivity, impartiality, autonomy, and detachment. He is currently working on two projects.
  • The first project investigates some of the philosophical challenges presented by the existence of moral difference, disagreement and conflict; in particular the connection between aspirations to truth and objectivity on the one hand, and a commitment to pluralism and tolerance on the other.
  • The second project investigates the nature and ethics of indifference and detachment; in particular the ethical implications of the various ways in which states of indifference and detachment can be more or less dynamic and sensitive to the nature of their objects.
  • More information about these projects is available at


  • A sample of recent papers:
  • ‘Who Is My Neighbour? Understanding Indifference as a Vice’, Philosophy, 2014
  • ‘Minding Your Own Business? Understanding Indifference as a Virtue’, Philosophical Perspectives, 2014
  • ‘Confinement, Apathy, Indifference’, in D. Freeman & D. Matravers (eds.), Figuring Out Figurative Art. Routledge. 2014
  • ‘Who Cares Where You Come From? Cultivating Virtues of Indifference’, in T. Freeman, F. Ebtehaj, S. Graham & M. Richards (eds.), Relatedness in Assisted Reproduction: Families, Origins and Identities. Cambridge University Press, 2014
  • ‘Moral Testimony, Moral Virtue and the Value of Autonomy’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, 2014
  • ‘We Can Believe the Error Theory’ (with Niklas Moller), Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 2014
  • Downloadable versions of these and other papers are available at

Research Supervision

  • Topics of Ph.D students currently supervised include ethical theory, metaethics, political philosophy and the history of ethical thought.


  • ‘Moral Error Theory and Moral Scepticism’, podcast of a public debate with Bart Streumer & Hallvard Lillehammer, Forum for European Philosophy, London School of Economics, 24 February 2011.
  • ‘Moral testimony’, podcast of symposium with Hallvard Lillehammer and Roger Crisp, Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society & the Mind Association, Cambridge University, 12 July 2014.
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