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Dr Christopher Belshaw

BA (York), MA/C.Phil (California), PhD (California)

photo of Dr Christopher Belshaw

Profile summary

Professional biography

Christopher Belshaw studied philosophy at the University of York a long time ago, being taught by, among others, Tom Baldwin and Roger Woolhouse. Later, but still a long time ago, he did research work at UC Santa Barbara. His supervisor there was Nathan Salmon, with other teachers including Christine Korsgaard and Peter Hylton. Chris has taught in both places, still teach at one of them, and have taught as well as St Martin’s College, Lancaster University, The University of Leeds and The Open University.

Tertiary/Higher Education

1989 Ph.D: Philosophy,
University of California at Santa Barbara ‘Hume and Inductive Scepticism’

BA Hons 2(i):
Philosophy, University of York

Research interests

Chris’ major concerns are with the theoretical side of applied ethics – questions about the values of life and death, the nature of a person, animal minds, and so on – and with related questions in aesthetics, metaphysics and environmental philosophy. Work in this area has issued in a number of publications, including several books. And these – Environmental Philosophy: Reason, Nature and Human Concern (Acumen 2001), Annhilation: the Sense and Significance of Death (Acument 2009) and The Value and Meaning of Life (Routledge 2020), though not planned as such, might usefully be thought of as a trilogy. Another book, 10 Good Questions about Life and Death(Blackwell 2005) is differently styled and aims at a broader audience. It has been partnered by Julian Baggini with Nozick’s The Examined Life as a ‘fine examples’ of serious but accessible books asking what makes life worth living.

Teaching interests

In recent years Chris has taught modules on the value and meaning of life, life and death, and environmental philosophy to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of York. But teaching takes many forms and has many audiences. And Chris has enjoyed giving talks, lectures, seminars in various settings outside of universities, including the Wellcome Institute, the London Week of the Dead, and the ‘How the Light Gets In’ online festival.



1994 - 2015 Staff Tutor (Arts)/Senior Lecturer (Philosophy)
Open University
1989 - 1993 Lecturer (Philosophy)
University of California, Santa Barbara


2005 -2007 Project Leader –Medical School (Ethics)
University of Leeds
1998 Visiting Lecturer – 1-2 courses per year (Philosophy)
University of York
1994 Lecturer – 1 courses per year (Philosophy)
Lancaster University
1983 - 1987 Teaching Assistant (Philosophy)
University of California, Santa Barbara
1980 - 1982 Tutor (Philosophy)
University of York

Honorary Positions:

2001 Teaching Fellow In Philosophy
Univerisity of York
2013 (Spring)

Visiting Fellow - Centre of Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs
University of St Andrews

Some Invited Talks

‘Death’s Badness’ to Nottingham University, 1997

Identity and Disability’ to (a) St.George’s Medical School, (b) Manchester Metropolitan University, both in 1998

‘Identity Matters’ to (a) University of Glasgow, 1998, (b) University of California, Santa Barbara, 1999

‘Future People’ to (a) University of York, 2002, (b) S. Martin’s College, Lancaster, 2002, (c) Royal Institute of Philosophy, Cardiff, 2003

‘Intrinsic Value’ to  University of Liverpool, 2004

‘The Value of Life’ to Gibraltar Philosophical Society 2010

‘Animalism and What we Are’ to University of York 2011

‘The Language of Harm’ to University of Glasgow, 2011

‘Is it Bad for us to Die?’ to University of York  (Public Lecture Series) 2011

‘A New Argument for Anti-Natalism’ University of Johannesburg 2011

‘Pleasure, Happiness and the Evil of Death’  OU Ethics Centre, April 2012

‘The Good Death’ The Wellcome Institute, London 2013

‘Death, Pain and Animal Life’ to University of St. Andrews 2013

‘Immortality’ The London Month of the Dead, London 2014

‘Procreative Beneficence and Procreative Asymmetry’ to Oxford University 2015

‘What’s Wrong with Anthropocentrism?’ to University of Sussex 2015

‘Extinction’ to University of Malta 2015

‘Immortality, Memory and Imagination’  to  UC Riverside 2015

‘Procreative Beneficence and Procreative Asymmetry: Some Tensions’ to University of Lisbon 2016

‘Weight and Compensation’ to University of Liverpool 2019

‘In Love with Animals?’ to How the Light Gets In (online festival) 2020


Immortality, Memory and Imagination (2015)
Belshaw, Christopher
The Journal of Ethics, 19(3-4) (pp. 323-348)

What's wrong with the Experience Machine? (2014-12)
Belshaw, Christopher
European Journal of Philosophy, 22(4) (pp. 573-592)

A new argument for anti-natalism (2012-04)
Belshaw, Christopher
South African Journal of Philosophy, 31(1) (pp. 117-137)

Harm, change and time (2012)
Belshaw, Christopher
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 37(5) (pp. 425-444)

Animals, identity and persistence (2011)
Belshaw, Christopher
Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 89(3) (pp. 401-419)

Privacy, confidentiality and harm (2010-01)
Belshaw, Christopher
Nursing Ethics, 17(1) (pp. 133-134)

My Beginnings (2006-07)
Belshaw, Christopher
The Monist, 89(3) (pp. 371-389)

More lives, better lives (2003-06)
Belshaw, Christopher
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 6(2) (pp. 127-141)

Later Death/Earlier Birth (2000)
Belshaw, Christopher
Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 24 (pp. 69-83)

Death, Pain and Time (2000)
Belshaw, Christopher
Philosophical Studies, 97(3) (pp. 317-341)

Identity and Disability (2000)
Belshaw, Christopher
Journal of Applied Philosophy, 17(3) (pp. 263-276)

Gold (1998)
Belshaw, Christopher
Theoria, 13(3) (pp. 415-426)

Abortion, Value and the Sanctity of Life (1997)
Belshaw, Christopher
Bioethics, 11(2) (pp. 130-150)

Asymmetry and Non-Existence (1993)
Belshaw, Christopher
Philosophical Studies, 70(1) (pp. 103-116)

Hume and Demonstrative Knowledge (1989)
Belshaw, Christopher
Hume Studies, 15(1) (pp. 141-162)

Scepticism and madness (1989)
Belshaw, Christopher
Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 67(4) (pp. 447-451)

The Value and Meaning of Life (2020)
Belshaw, Christopher
Publisher : Routledge

The Value of Life (2014)
Belshaw, Christopher
Publisher : The Open University

Annihilation: the sense and significance of death (2009)
Belshaw, Christopher
ISBN : 9781844651351 | Publisher : Acumen Publishing | Published : Stocksfield, UK

10 good questions about life and death (2005-04)
Belshaw, Christopher
ISBN : 1405125772 | Publisher : Blackwell Publishing

Environmental philosophy: reason, nature and human concern (2001-10-01)
Belshaw, Christopher
ISBN : 190268320x | Publisher : Acumen and McGill-Queens University Press | Published : UK, Canada

Life (2021-05)
Belshaw, Christopher
In: Byerly, T. Ryan ed. Death, Immortality and Eternal Life (pp. 134-148)
ISBN : 9780367519919 | Publisher : Routledge

Victims (2016)
Belshaw, Christopher
In: Cholbi, Michael ed. Immortality and the Philosophy of Death (pp. 3-20)
ISBN : 9781783483839 | Publisher : Rowman & Littlefield

Death, Pain, and Animal Life (2015)
Belshaw, Christopher
In: Višak, Tatjana and Garner, Robert eds. The Ethics of Killing Animals (pp. 32-50)
Publisher : Oxford University Press

Meat (2015)
Belshaw, Christopher
In: Bramble, Ben and Fischer, Bob eds. The Moral Complexities of Eating Meat (pp. 9-29)
Publisher : Oxford University Press

Death, value and desire (2012)
Belshaw, Christopher
In: Feldman, Fred; Bradley, Ben and Johannsen, Jens eds. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death. Oxford Handbooks in Philosphy
ISBN : 9780195388923 | Publisher : OUP | Published : Oxford, UK

Teaching ethics in universities and teaching professional ethics (2009)
Belshaw, Christopher
In: Strain, John; Barnett, Ronald and Jarvis, Peter eds. Universities, Ethics and Professions (pp. 113-125)
ISBN : 9780415991193 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London/New York

Landscape, parks, wilderness (2003)
Belshaw, Chris
In: Bingham, Nick; Blowers, Andrew and Belshaw, Chris eds. Contested Environments
Publisher : Wiley

Death, brains, and persons (2002)
Belshaw, Christopher
In: Fisher, Robert N.; Primozic, Daniel T.; Day, Peter A. and Thompson, Joel A. eds. Suffering, Death and Identity. Value Inquiry Book Series/Personalist Studies (135) (pp. 141-154)
ISBN : 978-90-420-1173-1 | Publisher : Rodopi | Published : Amsterdam/New York

12 Modern Philosophers (2009)
Belshaw, Christopher and Kemp, Gary eds.
ISBN : 9781405152617 | Publisher : John Wiley and Sons Ltd | Published : Chichester