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This conference is now fully booked but do have a waiting list, please email us (contact details below) to be added to the waiting list.

It is often assumed that human moral status is an all-or-nothing affair. Philosophical debate about the moral status of foetuses and the severely cognitively impaired is typically between those who argue that full moral status is possessed and those who argue that moral status is altogether lacking. The difficulty of knowing how to regard the moral status of a range of beings that we have recently created, or may soon be able to create, and which seem to blur the boundary between human and non-human, pushes us to reconsider widespread assumptions that we have made about human moral status. What is the moral status of a chimera, a cyborg or a brain organoid? What moral status should we attribute to post-humans, human minds that have been uploaded into a computer, or artificial intelligence that is designed to be similar to human intelligence? How are we to respond to this challenge? Should we rethink our assumptions about what it is to be human? Should we abandon the widespread assumption that there can be no humans with partial moral status? Should we accept that there will be many instances in which we will be unable to determine whether or not moral status is present? Or should we reconsider the very idea of moral status? If we are to revise our thinking about moral status, in response to these emerging challenges, then how should we now think about the moral status of foetuses, severely cognitively impaired humans, and also non-human animals?

In this two-day workshop, leading philosophers and bioethicists from a range of different backgrounds are brought together to attend to the task of rethinking moral status. The conference is supported by the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities and the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, at the University of Oxford.


Steve Clarke & Julian Savulescu
Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities and Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics


Françoise Baylis, Dalhousie University
Tom Beauchamp, Georgetown University
Sarah Chan, University of Edinburgh
David DeGrazia, George Washington University
Thomas Douglas, University of Oxford
Ruth Faden, Johns Hopkins University
Elizabeth Harman, Princeton University
John Harris, University of Manchester
Frances Kamm, Rutgers University
Ingmar Persson, University of Gothenburg and the University of Oxford
Jason Robert, Arizona State University
Ben Sachs, University of St. Andrews
Udo Schuklenk, Queen’s University
Josh Shepherd, Carleton University and the Universitat de Barcelona
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Duke University


Steve Clarke (contact),
Christa Henrichs (registration),

Conference attendance is free of charge (incl. refreshments, & lunch) but registration is required. We recommend early registration as places are limited.


Conference audio recordings

Following the conference, we have published a series of audio recordings from the presentations. See our news page for more information.


Uehiro-St Cross