Dr Rob Lawlor

Dr Rob Lawlor


I joined the Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied centre in 2005 after completing my PhD, entitled "Gradability in Ethics", at the University of Reading in 2005 (supervised by Brad Hooker and Andrew Williams, and examined by Tim Mulgan and Philip Stratton-Lake). Before my PhD, I complete my MPhil at King's College London in 2003 (my thesis was on moral luck and punishment), and completed my Philosophy BA (also) at the University of Reading in 2001. Between failing my A-levels and going to university as a mature student, I worked as a white van man in London.

The majority of my undergraduate teaching involves teaching ethics to students in the Engineering Faculty (including Product Design and Aviation students). In addition, though, I also teach students in Chemistry, Environment, Media, Medicine, Dentistry and Business. At postgraduate level, I am involved in the MA in Biomedical and Health Care Ethics (online and campus), the MA in Applied and Professional Ethics (online), PhD supervision, and (some of) the Faculty of Engineering’s Doctoral Training Centres.


  • Deputy Director for Postgraduate Research

Research interests

Originally, my research was primarily focused on normative ethics and moral theories. Since starting at the IDEA centre, however, my research interests have shifted towards topics in applied ethics. In 2014, I received funding for an AHRC research fellowship (early career) to work on “Climate Change, Ethics and Responsibility: an interdisciplinary approach”.

Here I talk about the impact economists have had on our attempt to address climate change.

Here is an interview on radio 4, with Evan Davis, talking about the question of whether rationing could play an important role in the mitigation of climate change. (Starts at 44.25.)

Here I talk about corporations and climate change.

And in the following video I discuss  the analogy between climate change and slavery.

Watch more videos (by other presenters) on these and similar topics here.

I am continuing to work on climate change, but now with an increasing focus on the engineering profession.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Gradability in Ethics
  • MPhil Philosophy
  • BA Philosophy

Student education

I teach, and have taught, on a wide range of modules across a number of different schools, teaching ethics to undergraduates and postgraduates in various schools, and also teaching to IDEA’s own MA students and intercolating medical students.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Aesthetic, Moral and Political Philosophy
  • Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
  • Leadership Ethics, Persuasion and Public Reason
  • Healthcare Ethics
  • Professional Ethics

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>