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Dr Cristian Constantinescu

  • Overview



    Cristian is Lecturer in Philosophy in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy at Birkbeck. He was educated at Cambridge, Oxford, and the University of Bucharest. He was a scholar of the Dulverton Trust at Oxford and of the Isaac Newton Trust at Trinity College, Cambridge. He also taught philosophy for one year at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest. 


    • PhD in Philosophy, University of Cambridge, 2014
    • BPhil in Philosophy, University of Oxford, 2006

    Web profiles

    Administrative responsibilities

    • MA/MRes Exams Chair in Philosophy
  • Research


    Research overview

    My main research is in ethics and metaethics. I also have longstanding interests in philosophical debates around naturalism, expressivism, evolutionary accounts of morality, Humeanism about motivation, and generally all things Hume. More widely, I am also interested in the philosophy of language, and in particular in theories of vagueness. My research so far has focused on moral indeterminacy.

    One line of enquiry within this project concerns the metaethical implications of moral vagueness. I have argued in a published paper that moral vagueness poses a dilemma for non-naturalist versions of metaethical realism. I am currently working on two more papers exploring related matters: in one I investigate the prospects of a quasi-realist account of moral vagueness in terms of ambivalence; in the other I explore the specific ways in which naturalists can account for vagueness, focusing on the proposed analogy between moral predicates and natural kind terms.

    A second line of research concerns the links between vagueness and incommensurability. One view I seek to defend is that comparative predicates (e.g., ‘better than’, or ‘kinder than’) exhibit a sui generis form of vagueness I call ‘comparative vagueness’, which has interesting implications for the way in which we make comparative judgments. I have recently published a paper in which I try to clarify the notion of comparative vagueness and its bearing on how we think about incommensurability. I have also drafted a paper in which I argue that comparative vagueness undergirds Parfit’s argument for the so called ‘repugnant conclusion’, and am currently working on a longer paper in which I try to shed light on the question of whether evaluative predicates like ‘good’ are reducible to their comparative forms.

    Recently, I have become very interested in philosophical accounts of discrimination, and in particular in whether, and if so how, such accounts can apply to less conspicuous discriminatory acts, such as those occurring in the private sphere (e.g. in sexual preferences, as well as in other types of intimate relationships, such as friendship). I am currently working on a paper in which I seek to develop an account of intimate discrimination based on the notion of disrespect.

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I am happy to supervise research students in any of the areas of my research interests. Topics on which I am currently supervising include: evolutionary accounts of ethics, ethical naturalism, internalism/externalism about reasons, consequentialism, virtue ethics, contractualism, value incommensurability and moral dilemmas.

    Current doctoral researchers


    Doctoral alumni



    Teaching modules

    • Morality and Society (SSPL009H4)
    • Morality, Nature, and Evolution (Level 7) (SSPL123H7)
    • Ethics (Level 7) (SSPL177H7)
  • Publications



    Book Section