Jeff McMahan (philosopher)

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Jeff McMahan (/məkˈmən/; born 30 August 1954) is White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and taught previously at Rutgers University (2003–2014) and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1986–2003).[1]


He completed a BA degree in English literature at the University of the South (Sewanee), then did graduate work in philosophy at Corpus Christi College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He studied first under Jonathan Glover and Derek Parfit at the University of Oxford and was later supervised by Bernard Williams at the University of Cambridge, where he was a research fellow of St. John’s College from 1983 to 1986 and received his doctorate in 1986. He has written extensively on normative and applied ethics.

His publications include The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life (Oxford University Press, 2002), Killing in War (OUP, 2009), which argues against foundational elements of the traditional theory of the just war, The Morality of Nationalism (co-edited with Robert McKim, OUP, 1997), and Ethics and Humanity (co-edited with Ann Davis and Richard Keshen, OUP, 2010).

McMahan has written on the subject of factory farming as a major ethical problem and is one of the main contributors in the ethical debate on wild animal suffering. He argued for a strong negative duty to stop the suffering inflicted on animals through modern industrial agriculture and made a case for intervening in nature to alleviate the suffering of wild animals.[2][3]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life (Oxford University Press 2002) (ISBN 0-195-16982-4)
  • Killing In War (Oxford University Press May 2009) (ISBN 0-199-54866-8)

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ McMahan, Jeff (19 September 2010). "The Meat Eaters". New York Times Opinionator. Retrieved 2017-07-10. 
  3. ^ McMahan, Jeff (2014). "The Moral Problem of Predation". In Chignell, Andrew. Philosophy Comes to Dinner: Arguments on the Ethics of Eating (PDF). London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415806831. 

External links[edit]