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The Australian National University

Seth Lazar

Position: Head of School

School or Centre: School of Philosophy

Phone: 61 2 6125 8995
Location: HC Coombs Building, Room 1107

Website: My profile website


DPhil (Oxon)

MPhil (Oxon)

BA(Hons) (Oxon)


Seth Lazar has worked on a wide range of topics in political philosophy, applied ethics, and normative ethics. He has written on corrective justice, the nature of rights, associative duties, the ethics of war and self-defence, the ethics of risk, and moral decision-making under risk and uncertainty. His current project is a monograph on deontological decision theory, working title: Of Doubt and Duty: Deontological Decision-Making with Imperfect Information.

His papers appear in Ethics (2009, 2015, 2017), Philosophy & Public Affairs (2010, 2012), Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2015), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy (2017), and other leading moral and political philosophy journals, as well as political science journals such as Review of International Studies (2014) and Annual Review of Political Science (2017). He is author of Sparing Civilians (OUP, 2015), and co-editor of The Morality of Defensive War (OUP, 2014), and  The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War (OUP, 2017). In 2017, Law and Philosophy will publish a symposium on Sparing Civilians.

In 2011 Seth was awarded the Frank Chapman Sharp Prize, the American Philosophical Association's prize for the best unpublished monograph on the philosophy of war and peace. He is a Global Ethics Fellow of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and has written op-eds for Boston Review, and recorded interviews with philosophy podcasts such as Public Ethics Radio, Philosophy Bites, and Examining Ethics. In 2013, he was awarded a $366,000 DECRA grant, by the ARC, for his work on justifying war. In 2016 he received one of  three Early Career Awards from the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia, and was Lead CI on a $335,000 Discovery Projects grant, from the ARC, on ethics and risk.


Research Interests

Moral and political philosophy, especially ethics of war, self-defence, risk, associative duties, corrective justice, rights.



2015 Sparing Civilians. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Edited Volumes and Symposia

2017 Symposium on Ethics, Uncertainty, and Decision Theory. Ethics (guest editor), accepted 12/10/2016
2015  The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War. Oxford: Oxford University Press (Co-Editor, with Helen Frowe). (Print version expected 2017)
2014 The Morality of Defensive War. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Co-Editor, with Cécile Fabre)
2011 Symposium on Jeff McMahan’s Killing in War. Ethics (guest editor)

Journal Articles

2017 ‘Deontological Decision Theory and Agent-Centred Options’, Ethics, accepted 12/10/2016
2017  ‘Proxy Battles in the Ethics of War’ (with Laura Valentini), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, accepted 12/4/2016
2017  ‘Evaluating the Revisionist Critique of Just War Theory’, Daedalus, accepted 1/2/2016
2017 ‘Just War Theory: Revisionists Vs Traditionalists’, Annual Review of Political Science, accepted 12/5/2016, to appear in 2017 volume
2016 ‘Anton’s Game: Deontological Decision Theory for an Iterated Decision Problem’, Utilitas, online now
2016 ‘Complicity, Collectives, and Killing in War’, Law and Philosophy, online now
2016 ‘The Justification of Associative Duties’, Journal of Moral Philosophy, 13:1, 28-55
2015 ‘Risky Killing and the Ethics of War’, Ethics, 126:1, 91-117
2015 ‘Authorization and the Morality of War’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, forthcoming in print, available online now
2015 'Authority, Oaths, Contracts, and Uncertainty in War’, Thought, 4:1, 52–58
2014 ‘Necessity and Noncombatant Immunity’, Review of International Studies, 40:1, 53-76
2013 ‘Associative Duties and the Ethics of Killing in War’, Journal of Practical Ethics, 1:1, 3-48
2012 ‘Necessity in Self-Defense and War’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 40:1, 3-44
2011 ‘Introduction’, Ethics, 122:1, 8-9
2010 ‘A Liberal Defence of (Some) Duties to Compatriots’, Journal of Applied Philosophy, 27:3,  246-57
2010 ‘The Responsibility Dilemma for Killing in War: A Review Essay’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 38:2, 180-213
2009 ‘Responsibility, Risk, & Killing in Self-Defense’, Ethics, 119:4, 699-728
2009 ‘Debate: Do Associative Duties Really Not Matter?’, Journal of Political Philosophy, 17:1, 90-101
2009 ‘The Nature & Disvalue of Injury’, Res Publica, 15:3, 289-304
2008 ‘Corrective Justice & the Possibility of Rectification’, Ethical Theory & Moral Practice, 11:4, 355–68

Chapters in Peer-Reviewed Edited Volumes

2016 ‘The Ethics of War’, (with Helen Frowe) The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and War, Seth Lazar & Helen Frowe (eds.), New York: Oxford University Press. Accepted 1/5/2016
2016 ‘Method in the Morality of War’, The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and War, Seth Lazar & Helen Frowe (eds.), New York: Oxford University Press. Online now
2016 ‘War’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Zalta (ed.), Spring 2016 edition:
2016 ‘War’s Endings and the Structure of Just War Theory’, The Ethics of War, Sam Rickless and Saba Bazargan (eds.), New York: Oxford University Press
2016 ‘Travel, Friends, and Killing’, in Philosophers Take on the World, Edmonds (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 25-27
2016  ‘The Associativist Account of the Ethics of War’, Global Political Theory, David Held and Pietro Maffettone (eds.), Cambridge: Polity, 158-179
2016 ‘Liability and the Ethics of War: A Reply to Strawser and McMahan’, The Ethics of Self-Defence, Coons and Weber (ed.), New York: Oxford University Press, 292-304
2014 ‘National Defence, Self-Defence, and the Problem of Political Aggression’, in The Morality of Defensive War, Lazar and Fabre (eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 9-37
2013 ‘War’, International Encyclopaedia of Ethics, Lafollette (ed.), Wiley-Blackwell (8000 words)
2013 ‘Just War Theory’, Oxford Companion to Comparative Politics, Joel Krieger (ed.), Oxford University Press (3,500 words)
2012 ‘Scepticism about Jus Post Bellum’, Morality, Jus Post Bellum, and International Law" Larry May and Andrew Forcehimes (eds.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 204-22
2012 ‘The Morality and Law of War’, Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law, Andrei Marmor (ed.), London: Routledge, 364-79

Book Reviews

2014 Cécile Fabre’s Cosmopolitan War, Ethics, 124:2, 406-412, (3,500 words)
2011 ‘War: Essays in Political Philosophy’, Review, Mind, 120:479, 895-901 (3,000 words)


Academy of Social Sciences of Australia Early Career Award (2016)

American Philosophical Association Frank Chapman Sharp memorial prize for the best unpublished monograph on the philosophy of war & peace. Biennial prize awarded for monograph derived from unpublished chapters of thesis. (2011)


American Philosophical Association, Australasian Association of Philosophy, Global Ethics Fellow of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

Projects and Grants

2013 ARC DECRA13 Award (2013: $119,000, 2014: $122,000, 2015: $125,000)
‘Justifying War’. Sole CI.

2017 ARC DP17 Award ($335,000). Lead CI. With Buchak, Hàjek, Jackson, Pettit, Steele.


Guest lectures on normative ethics and the ethics of war.

Updated: 4 July 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher