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Personal profile

Research interests

Bob Brecher is a moral and political philosopher with special interests in the philosophical issues surrounding conflict, torture and medicine, and in the ethics of education.

Scholarly biography

Having initially started his career as a philosopher of religion, Bob Brecher moved into moral and political philosophy, in response partly to developing teaching duties, partly to the trajectory of actually existing neo-liberalism. During his tenure as a professor he has focused on applying the rationalist ethics he began to develop theoretically in Getting What You Want? A Critique of Liberal Morality (1998) in both his research and his institutional activities, a trajectory recognized by his Research Fellowship in the Centre for Philosophy & Public Affairs at St Andrews University.

Brecher founded the journal Res Publica in 1995; Torture and the Ticking Bomb was published by Blackwell in its Public Philosophy series in 2007; and he serves on a variety of NHS and other research and clinical ethics committees, editorial boards and other ventures combining academic research and teaching with public engagement and dissemination.

On the basis of his earlier remit to develop ethics in the Faculty of Health, he has founded the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics & Ethics (CAPPE) and lead the current development of an innovative MA Programme in Applied Ethics, a cross-Faculty, University-wide initiative, validated in July 2007, as well as developing the Centre’s range of activities both in the public arena and the University.

Brecher is an external advisor for Edgehill University Research Ethics and Governance Committee and is the organiser of CAPPE's Public Controversies series.

Supervisory Interests

I supervise PhD students in moral philosophy and metaethics; applied philosophy and ethics; history of ideas; and interdisciplinaryareas.  Particular interests include torture, so-called terrorism, medical and healthcare ethics, and neoliberalism. 

Over the past few yers I have supervised to successful completion more than ten students.

Approach to teaching

My approach to both postgraduate and undergraduate teaching is conversational, so as to be to help build the confidence that's necessary for the development of critical, and self-critical, capacities


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