“Ethics & Values” to be fourth theme of research focus at Reuben

We’re pleased to announce a fourth research theme around which Reuben College will be able to generate new interdisciplinary collaboration and create research links across all academic Divisions of the University. 

Our new theme, “Ethics & Values” will be co-led by Katrien Devolder and Angeliki Kerasidou – both philosophers who apply their research to ethical issues and difficult questions arising from advances in new technologies and biomedical research. 

Ethics and Values is a theme that leads us to think about the principles that underpin people’s decisions and behaviours, and the choices we make both in undertaking research and applying our findings to real world problems. It strongly links with all three existing Reuben College themes – for example around the ethics of artificial intelligence, environmental ethics, and biomedical ethics related to ‘cellular life’ – and connects perspectives and expertise across these themes. 

Initially, the theme unites several current Fellows in developing programmes of academic enrichment for the Reuben College community. Along with Katrien and Angeliki, Anders Sandberg (who has a background in computer science, neuroscience and medical engineering) will be part of the initial group of Official Fellows among the cluster of academics in the Ethics and Values theme. Other Official Fellows associated with this theme include Timothy Clack (who is an anthropologist working on human responses to environmental and climatic change) and Catriona Cannon, who is our GLAM Liaison, making links with the University's Gardens, Libraries and Museums. Over the coming months, three or four more academics from the Humanities will be recruited to join the College Fellowship and help coordinate activities within the theme.

Katrien Devolder

On the announcement of the new theme of Ethics and Values, Katrien Devolder said:

“I believe that Reuben is the first college in Oxford with such a strong and explicit focus on addressing ethical questions that arise from new developments in science, medicine and technology. The 21st century will be dominated by global problems, such as climate change, environmental destruction, weapons of mass destruction, and spread of infectious disease. The fate of humanity not only depends on what we CAN do, but also on what we decide SHOULD be done.  And the right decisions require critical reflection on the ethical challenges that lie ahead. With this theme, we aim to encourage and support such critical reflection.”




Angeliki Kerasidou

Angeliki added:

“I am hugely excited about the new theme of Ethics and Values in Reuben College. This theme will provide opportunities for the College to attract greater representation from researchers and students in the Humanities, and increase diversity among our collegiate community. The theme openly demonstrates the importance of ethics and ethical reflection in resolving the complex, novel challenges presented by the 21st Century. Research, innovation, policy-making: all rely on value judgements. These are ethics in action.”




Ethics & Values research theme