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Saul Smilansky

I am a Professor at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Haifa, Israel. I work primarily on normative and applied ethics, the free will problem, and meaning in life. In normative and applied ethics and MIL I am particularly interested in moral paradoxes and other forms of "crazy ethics" where matters seem to be true (or at least plausible) yet are also absurd, moral theory, justice, the role of self-deception and illusion in our lives, population ethics, punishment, egalitarianism, moral complaint and hypocrisy, the influence of technology on the future of morality, gratitude, and the significance of contribution. On free will I have done various things. My main efforts have been, first, to open up the debate on the compatibility question to a pluralistic approach that sees both compatibilism and hard determinism (or other forms of free will and moral responsibility denialism) as partly valid and seeks to integrate them. Second, to explore Illusionism, the view that illusion is central and, in many ways, positive in the free will problem. I am the author of Free Will and Illusion (Oxford University Press 2000), 10 Moral Paradoxes (Blackwell 2007), and over one hundred papers in philosophical journals and edited collections.

I received my B.A. from Tel-Aviv University and my D.Phil from Oxford University (Magdalen College).

Recent Events


  •  An interview on some of my moral paradoxes and "Designer ethics" in The Dissentar, published June 2021.

  • "Radical Moral Pluralism: A Proposal", Ethics Department, University of Warsaw, 21 October 2022.

  • "Suicide, Organ Donation and Meaning in Life: Some Disturbing Reflections", The Interdisciplinary Centre for Ethics, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, 24 October 2022.
  • “The Reality of Free Will”, in “Realism: Epistemological Foundations and Metaphysical Implications”, Kazimierz, Poland; October 26–28, 2022.

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