Guy Kahane

Guy Kahane
Area of Specialisation:
Membership Type:

Deputy Director, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, 2006 – present

Fulford Junior Research Fellow, Somerville College, 2007-2010

D. Phil. in Philosophy, Oxford University
B. Phil. in Philosophy, Oxford University
B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology, Tel Aviv University


  1. Kahane, G. E. Kanterian, E., and O. Kuusela, eds., Wittgenstein and His Interpreters , Blackwells Publishers, 2007
  2. Savulescu, J., R. ter Meulen, and G. Kahane, eds., Enhancing Human Capabilities, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Meta-ethics and Value Theory

  1. Kahane, G. Pain, Dislike, and Experience. Utilitas, 21, 3: 327-336, 2009.
  2. Kahane, G. Feeling Pain for the Very First Time: The Normative Knowledge  Argument.Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 80,
    1: 20-49, 2010.
  3. Kahane, G. Evolutionary Debunking Arguments, in Noûs.45, 1: 103-125, 2011.
  4. Kahane, G. Should We Want God To Exist?, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 82: 3 774-696, 2011
  5. Chan, T. And G. Kahane. The Trouble with Being SincereThe Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 41, 2: 215-234, 2011.
  6. Kahane, G. The Value Question in MetaphysicsPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research, 85, 1: 27-55, 2012.
  7. Kahane, G. Must Metaethical Realism Make a Semantic Claim?The Journal of Moral Philosophy, 10, 2: 148-178, 2013.
  8. Kahane, G. ‘Evolution and Impartiality’Ethics, 124,2, 327-341.
  9. Kahane, G. Our Cosmic InsignificanceNoûs, 48, 4: 745-772, 2014
  10. Kahane, G. ‘If Nothing Matters’, Noûs. 2016

Moral Psychology

  1. Kahane, G. and N. Shackel. Do Abnormal Responses Show Utilitarian Bias? Nature, 452, 7185, 2008.
  2. Kahane, G. and N. Shackel, Methodological Issues in the Neuroscience of Moral JudgmentMind and Language, 25, 5:561-582, 2010.
  3. Kahane, G., K. Wiech, N. Shackel, M. Farias, J. Savulescu and I. Tracey, ‘The Neural Basis of Intuitive and Counterintuitive Moral Judgement’Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 7,
    4: 393-402, 2012.
  4. Terbeck, S., Kahane, G. McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Cowen, P., Hewstone, M. ‘Beta-Adrenergic Blockade Reduces Implicit Negative Racial Bias’Psychopharmacology,
    222, 3: 419-424, 2012.
  5. Terbeck, S., Kahane, G. McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Cowen, P., Hewstone, M. ‘Reply to Burchett, T. S. and Glenn, L. L., “Measurement Validity of Tests for Implicit Negative Bias”’, Psychopharmacology, 222, 4: 723-724, 2012 [letter to
  6. Kahane, G. ‘On the Wrong Track: Process and Content in Moral Psychology’Mind and Language, 25, 5: 519-545, 2012.
  7. Terbeck, S., Kahane, G. McTavish, S., Levi, N., Savulescu, J., Cowen, P., Hewstone, M.  ‘Beta-Adrenergic Blockade Reduces Utilitarian Judgment’Biological Psychology,
    92, 2: 323-328, 2013 [joint 1st author].
  8. Wiech, K., Kahane, G., Shackel, N., Farias, M., Savulescu J. and Tracey, I. ‘Cold or Calculating? Reduced Activity in the Subgenual Cingulate Reflects Decreased Aversion to Harming in Counterintuitive Utilitarian Judgment’Cognition 126:
    364-372, 2013 [joint 1st author].
  9. Kahane, G. The Armchair and the TrolleyPhilosophical Studies, 162, 2: 421-445, 2013.
  10. Caviola, L., Faulmüller, N., Everett, J., Savulescu, J. and Kahane, G. ‘The Evaluability Bias in Charitable Giving: Saving Administrative Costs or Saving Lives?’ Judgment and Decision Making, 9, 4: 303-313, 2014.
  11. Everett, J., Faulmüller, N., Caviola, L., Kahane, G., and Savulescu, J., ‘Doing Good by Doing Nothing: The Role of the Default Bias in Influencing Altruistic Attitudes and Behavior in the Context of Charity and Climate Change’, forthcoming in The European Journal of Social Psychology,
  12. Kahane, G., Everett, J., Earp, B., Farias, M. and Savulescu, J., ' 'Utilitarian' Judgment in Sacrificial Dilemmas Does Not Reflect Impartial Concern for the Greater Good’,Cognition,
    134: 193-209, 2015.
  13. Kahane, G. 2015. ‘Side-Tracked by Trolleys: Why Sacrificial Moral Dilemmas Tell Us Little (Or Nothing) About Utilitarian Judgment’, Social Neuroscience, 10, 5: 551-560.
  14. Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., McCutcheon, R., McTavish, S., Hewstone, M. , Savulescu, J., Chesterman, L., Cowen, P, and Norbury, R. 2015. ‘β‑Adrenoceptor Blockade Modulates Fusiform Gyrus Activity To Black Versus White Faces’, Psychopharmacology, 232:

Applied Ethics

  1. Wilkinson, D. G. Kahane and J. Savulescu. “Neglected Personhood” and Neglected Questions. The American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience, 8, 9: 31-33, 2008.
  2. Kahane, G. and J. Savulescu. Brain-Damaged Patients and the Moral Significance of Consciousness. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 33: 1-21, 2009.
  3. Savulescu, J. and G. Kahane. The Moral Obligation to Create Children with the Best Chance of the Best LifeBioethics, 23, 5: 274-290, 2009.
  4. Skene, L., D. Wilkinson, G. Kahane and J. Savulescu. Neuroimaging and the Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Treatment From Patients in the Vegetative State, Medical Law Review,  17, 2: 245-261, 2009.
  5. Wilkinson, D., G. Kahane, M. Horne, and J. Savulescu. Functional neuroimaging and Withdrawal of Life-sustaining Treatment from Vegetative Patients, The Journal of Medical Ethics, 35, 8: 508-511, 2009.
  6. Kahane, G. Non-Identity, Self-Defeat, and Attitudes to Future PeoplePhilosophical Studies, 145,
    2: 193-214, 2009.
  7. Kahane, G and Savulescu, J. The Value of Sex in Procreative Reasons, American Journal of Bioethics, 10, 7: 22-24, 2010.
  8. Savulescu J. and G. Kahane, 'Disability: A Welfarist Approach' Journal of Clinical Ethics 6, 1: 45-51, 2011.
  9. Kahane, G., ‘Mastery Without Mystery: Why there is no Promethean Sin in Enhancement’The Journal of Applied Philosophy, 28, 4: 355-368,
  10. Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J., ‘The Concept of Harm and the Significance of Normality’,The Journal of Applied Philosophy, 29, 4: 318-332, 2012.
  11. Gipson, J., Kahane, G., Savulescu, J., Attitudes of Lay People to Withdrawal of Treatment in Brain Damaged Patients,  Neuroethics, 7, 1,
    1-9, 2013.
  12. Pugh, J., Kahane, G., and Savulescu, J., 2013. ‘Cohen’s Conservatism and Human Enhancement’, The Journal of Ethics, 17, 4: 331-354.

  13. Earp, B. D., Sandberg, A., Kahane, G., and Savulescu, J., 2014. ‘When is Diminishment a Form of Enhancement?’, Frontiers in System Neuroscience, 8, 12: 1-8.

  14. Jefferson, W., Douglas, T., Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J.,  ‘Enhancement and Civic Virtue’Social Theory and Practice,
    40, 3, 499-527, 2014.
  15. Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J., 'Normal Human Variation: Refocusing the Enhancement Debate'Bioethics, 29, 2, 133-143, 2015.
  16. Schaefer, O., Kahane, G., Savulescu, J., ‘Autonomy and Enhancement’Neuroethics, 7: 123-136, 2014.
  17. Levi, N., Douglas, T., Kahane, G., Terbeck, S., Cowen, P., Hewstone, M., and Savulescu, J., ‘Are You Morally Modified? The Moral Effects of Widely Used Pharmaceuticals’, Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, 21, 2, 111-125, 2014.
  18. Levi, N., Douglas, T., Kahane, G., Terbeck, S., Cowen, P., Hewstone, M., and Savulescu, J., ‘Disease, Normality and Current Pharmacological Moral Modification’, Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, 21, 2, 135-137, 2014 [reply to commentators].
  19. Pugh, J., Kahane, G., Maslen, H., and Savulescu, J. 2015. ‘Lay Attitudes Towards Deception in Medicine: Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Evidence’, The American Journal of Bioethics: Empirical Bioethics, 7, 1: 31-38.
  20. Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J. 2016. ‘Disability and Mere Difference’, Ethics, 126, 3: 774-773.
  21. Pugh, J., Kahane, G., and Savulescu, J., 2016. ‘Bio-Conservatism, Partiality, and The Human Nature Objection to Enhancement’, The
    Monist, 99, 4: 406-422.

Other Neuroscience and Psychology 

  1. Wiech, K., M. Farias, G. Kahane, N. Shackel, W. Tiede and I. Tracey. An fMRI Study Measuring Analgesia Enhanced by Religion as a Belief System. Pain, 139, 2: 467-476, 2008.
  2. Farias, M., Newheiser, A.-K., Kahane, G., and de Toledo, Z., 2013. ‘Scientific Faith: Belief in Science Increases in the Face of Stress and Existential Anxiety’The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Invited Articles and Book Chapters

  1. Kahane, G. 'Pain, Ethical Significance of,' in Borchert, D., ed., The Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2nd Edition, Macmillan (2006).
  2. Kahane, G., E. Kanterian, and O. Kuusela, 'Introduction,' in Wittgenstein and His Interpreters, Oxford: Blackwells Publishers (2007): 1-36.
  3. Kahane, G. 'Brain Imaging and the Inner Life,' The Lancet, 371 (2008): 1572-1573.
  4. Kahane G., and J. Savulescu, 'The Welfarist Account of Disability,' 2009, A. Cureton and K. Brownlee, eds., Disability and Disadvantage, Oxford University Press.
  5. Savulescu, J. G. Kahane and A. Sandberg. 'Well-being and Enhancement,' in Enhancing Human Capacities, J.Wiley-Blackwell, 3-18, 2011.
  6. Kahane. G. 'Reasons to Feel, Reasons to Take Pills' in J. Savulescu, R. ter Meulen and G. Kahane, eds., Enhancing Human Capabilities, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 166-178,
  7. Powell, R., Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J., ‘Evolution, Genetic Engineering, and Human Enhancement’Philosophy and Technology, 25, 4: 439-458, 2013.
  8. Foddy, B., Kahane, G., and Savulescu, J., ‘Practical Neuropsychiatric Ethics’, forthcoming in K. W. M. Fulford, M. Davies, G. Graham, J. Sadler, G. Stanghellini, and T. Thornton, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Psychiatry,
    Oxford University Press, 2013. 
  9. Rhys Birks, D., Kahane, G., and Savulescu, J., ‘Utilitarianism and Bioethics’, forthcoming in J. Crimmins, ed., The Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism, Continuum Press, 2013.
  10. Kahane, G. 2014. ‘Intuitive and Counterintuitive Morality’, in J. D’Arms and D. Jacobson, eds., Moral Psychology and Human Agency: Philosophical Essays on the Science of Ethics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 9-39.

  11. Kahane, G. 2016, ‘Pain, Experience, and Well-being’, in G. Fletcher, ed., The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being, London: Routledge, 209-220. 
  12. Kahane, G. 2016. ‘Is, Ought, and the Brain’, in S. M. Liao, ed., Moral Brains: The Neuroscience of Morality, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 281-311. 

  13. Pugh, J., Kahane, G., and Savulescu, J. 2016. ‘Partiality to Humanity and Enhancement’, in S. Clarke, J. Savulescu, T. Coady, A. Giubilini, S. Sanyal, eds., The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate, Oxford: Oxford University Press,
  14. Savulescu, J. and Kahane, G. 2017. ‘Understanding Procreative Beneficence’, in L. Francis, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 592-622.
  15. Kahane, G. 2016. ‘The Pregnant Man and Other Conceptual Surprises’, in D. Edmonds, ed., Philosophers Take on the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 240-244.

  16. Gipson, J., Kahane, G., and Savulescu, J., 2016. ‘Lay Attitudes to Withdrawal of Treatment in Disorders of Consciousness and Their Normative Significance’ in W. Sinnott-Armstrong, ed., Finding Consciousness: The Neuroscience, Ethics and Law of
    Severe Brain Damage, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 137-159.

  17. Kappes, A., Kahane, G., and Crockett, M. J. 2016. ‘From Risk to Fairness’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, 42: 11651-11653.

  18. Demaree-Cotton, J. and Kahane, G. ‘The Neuroscience of Moral Judgment’, forthcoming in A. Zimmerman, K. Jones, and M. Timmons, eds., The Routledge Handbook on Moral Epistemology, London: Routledge.

  19. Kahane, G. ‘Prudential Objections to Theism’, forthcoming in G. Oppy, The Blackwell Companion to Atheism and Philosophy, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

  20. Kahane, G. ‘If There is a Hole it is Not God-Shaped’, forthcoming in K. Kraay, ed., Does God Matter? Essays on the Axiological Implications of Theism, London: Routledge.


  1. Kahane, G. 'Meditations on the Flourishing and the Fallen', Times Higher Education Supplement, May 2007.
  2. Kahane, G. review of P. A. Tabensky, ed., 'The Positive Function of Evil', South African Journal of Philosophy, 29, 1: 57-60, 2010.
  3. Kahane, G. review of S. Wilkinson, 'Choosing Tomorrow’s Children: The Ethics of Selective Reproduction', in Medical Law Review, 19, 2, 2011.
  4. Kahane, G. review of S. Stewart-Williams, 'Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew', Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, August 2011.

Selected Grants and Awards

  1. Volkswagen Foundation Research Project Grant, ‘Intuition and Emotion in Moral Decision-Making: Empirical Research and Normative Implications’, €400,000, 2010-2013 (with Drs Stephan Schleim, University of Groningen, and Birte Englich, University of
  2. Wellcome Trust University Award, ‘Well-being, Consciousness, and Moral Decision-Making’, £190,000, 2009-2014.
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