I completed a Ph.D at Stanford University in Modern Western Philosophy, Ethics, and Religious Thought. My research focused on Post-Kantian European philosophy, particularly the philosophical stakes of Nietzsche's concept of life. Between 2014-2017, I was a post-doc at the University of Cambridge in philosophy of biology, where I examined philosophical issues raised by contemporary theories of social evolution and evolutionary approaches to human behaviour. Between 2018-2019, I was an Assistant Professor at Union College, NY. I joined the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy as a Lecturer in late 2019.
My research engages with a variety of topics at the intersection of philosophy, evolutionary biology, and the study of religion. Previously, I worked on the philosophical reception of Darwin in Nietzsche's "Lebensphilosophie" and in late-19th century Neo-Kantianism. My research on this period was motivated by an interest in the relationship between concepts of life and theories of the nature and perception of value. My recent work attempts to apply resources from the tradition of European philosophy to contemporary debates surrounding the philosophical implications of evolutionary biology. I have collaborated with scientists on topics that intersect the sciences and philosophy such as animal ethics, animal agency, and the differences between humans and other animals. My current research critically examines assumptions about human values derived from evolutionary theory, and I am also currently a co-PI with a primatologist on a project investigating primate social awareness.
Webb, Christine E., Woodford, Peter and Huchard, Elise (2020) The study that made rats jump for joy, and then killed them : the gap between knowledge and practice widens when scientists fail to engage with the ethical implications of their own work. BioEssays, 42(6), p. 2000030. ISSN (print) 0265-9247
Webb, Christine E., Woodford, Peter and Huchard, Elise (2019) Animal ethics and behavioral science : an overdue discussion? BioScience, 69(10), pp. 778-788. ISSN (print) 0006-3568
Woodford, Peter and Carter, Alecia (2019) Science, social critique, and the need for ethics. Animal Sentience, 4(25), p. 34. ISSN (online) 2377-7478
Woodford, Peter (2019) The many meanings of "cost" and "benefit" : biological altruism, biological agency, and the identification of social behaviors. Biology & Philosophy, 34(4), pp. 1-23. ISSN (print) 0169-3867
Woodford, Peter (2019) Response to Shawn Thompson on 'Supporting ape rights : finding the right fit between science and the law'. ASEBL Journal, 14(1), pp. 38-41. ISSN (online) 1944-401X
Woodford, Peter (2017) The evolution of altruism and its significance for environmental ethics. Environmental Ethics, 39(4), pp. 413-436. ISSN (print) 0163-4275
Woodford, Peter (2017) The very possibility of a science of religion : Ernst Troeltsch and neo-Kantianism. The Journal of Religion, 97(1), pp. 56-78. ISSN (print) 0022-4189
Woodford, Peter (2016) Neo-Darwinism and Neo-Aristotelianism : how to talk about natural purpose. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 38(23), pp. 1-23. ISSN (print) 0391-9714
Woodford, Peter (2012) Specters of the nineteenth century : Charles Taylor and the problem of historicism. Journal Of Religious Ethics, 40(1), pp. 171-192. ISSN (print) 0384-9694
Woodford, Peter J. (2018) The moral meaning of nature : Nietzsche's Darwinian religion and its critics. Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press. 208p. ISBN 9780226539751