Over the years a number of researchers have participated in our work, but have now continued to other positions.

Research fellows

Rebecca Roache
Rebecca Roache’s research at the FHI centred around ethical issues in human enhancement and new technology. Topics of particular interest included human nature and the relationship between humans and other species; the extent to which human values are products of the sort of beings we are, biologically, and the extent to which our values might change if we became different sorts of beings; rationality (and the lack of it) in popular thought about risk; and the role of intuition in philosophical reasoning.

Rebecca studied Philosophy at the universities of Leeds and Cambridge, receiving a Ph.D. from the latter in 2002. She then spent three and a half years working in IT, and a short spell teaching Philosophy at the University of London, before joining the Future of Humanity Institute in 2006.

Dr Roache is currently a Research Fellow with the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics.

Rafaela Hillerbrand
Rafaela Hillerbrand’s research at FHI dealt with global catastrophic risk. Her research interests traverse epistemological problems related to the interpretations of probabilities, quantitative modelling, and foundational questions of statistical mechanics as well as ethical questions specific for decisions under risk or under uncertainty. The unifying question behind her research is the improvement of current risk assessments, with a particular focus on the unique problems of catastrophic risks.

Rafaela studied physics (with a minor in fluid mechanics) and philosophy (minor in political sciences) at the Universities of Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany) and Liverpool. She received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the former in 2003 for a work on the ethics of technology. The work covered aspects of applied ethics as well as genuine theoretical normative ethics, and was awarded the Lilli-Bechmann-Rahn-Preis in 2005. Rafaela has completed a Ph.D (2007) in Theoretical Physics at the University of Münster and the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in Nice (France). The thesis was on hydrodynamic turbulence.

Rafaela left FHI for a Juniorprofessur at RWTH Aachen University where she was  head of the interdisciplinary research group eet-ethics for energy technology at the Human Technology Centre. She has since then left to join the Department of Values, Technology & Innovation at the Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management, TU Delft.

Eric Mandelbaum
Eric’s interests include the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of psychology, moral psychology, and cognitive science. His work has examined issues in moral psychology (particularly focusing on people’s paradoxical responsibility judgments), the nature of beliefs (and ‘aliefs’), and belief fixation. He has also written papers on numerical modularity, the psychology of political extremism, how the advance of neuroscience will affect the law, and John Locke’s psychological theories.

Eric left FHI for a position at Yale University Departments of Philosophy and Department of Cognitive Science.

Nicholas Shackel
Nicholas Shackel’s research at FHI was focused on the ethics of human enchancement, with a particular interest in developing our ‘Smarter and Wiser’ program and in epistemic ethics. His philosophical research has been mainly on rationality. He has conducted research into the kinds of obligations there are to be rational in belief and in action, the relations between practical and theoretical reason, paradoxes of rational decision, philosophy of probability, intentionality, and deontic logic. More recently, he has extended his research into the areas of neuroethics and neuroepistemology. His publications include papers in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Erkenntnis, Metaphilosophy and Mind. Prior to joining FHI he was at the Oxford Centre for the Science of the Mind, and before coming to Oxford he lectured in Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen.

Nicholas left FHI for a senior lecturer position at Cardiff University.

Alumni research associates

Peter Taylor
Peter Taylor concentred on the area of risk with the Future of Humanity Institute and James Martin School. Peter spent 25 years working in the Lloyd’s insurance market where he has managed IT and loss modelling departments and led and participated in many projects. He has been a director of insurance broking and underwriting companies and market organisations, and helped to establish the Lighthill Risk Network, a non-profit organisation that brings together the business and scientific communities for their mutual benefit.

Peter is still an active consultant in the City of London. Peter has a long-standing interest in all aspects of risk, whether in insurance or in science generally, particularly the practical application of the theory of risk, and the analysis of emerging risks. Peter has a background in the foundations of quantum theory for which he was awarded his D. Phil at Oxford, and in July 2007 organised the Everett@50 Conference at the Philosophy Centre in Oxford. Peter makes regular conference speeches to the insurance industry on the subject of risk. His interests include chemistry, physical geography, mathematics, physics, climate change, literature, art, cricket, and philosophy.

Guy Kahane
Dr Kahane became the Deputy Director of the Uehiro Centre in 2006. He is also Deputy Director of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and Research Fellow at Pembroke College. Kahane is a recipient of a Wellcome Trust University Award, and will be University Lecturer in Practical Ethics at Oxford from 2014. He has a B.A. in philosophy and psychology from Tel Aviv University, and B.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees from Oxford University. Kahane’s research interests include practical ethics, neuroethics, meta-ethics and value theory. Kahane is particularly interested in evolutionary, psychological and neuroscientific accounts of morality, and their possible ethical implication. He is also actively engaged in using neuroimaging and other empirical methods to study moral cognition.

Jason G. Matheny
Jason’s research at FHI focused on technology forecasting and risk assessment. He previously worked for the World Bank, the Center for Biosecurity, the Center for Global Development, and on national security projects for the US government. He is a Sommer Scholar and PhD candidate in Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University. He holds an MPH from Johns Hopkins, an MBA from Duke University, and a BA from the University of Chicago. He has published on biotechnology, neurotechnology, risk analysis, demography, health economics, and bioethics. He’s the cofounder of New Harvest, which supports the development of new agricultural biotechnologies. His work was called one of the “ideas of the year” by The New York Times and has been featured in The Washington Post, Nature, The Economist, Scientific American, New Scientist, NOVA, and Wired Magazine, among others.



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