About us

The Centre for the Study of Global Ethics was founded in 2001. It was set up to address the key ethical issues of our time and is the first of its kind in the UK. The Centre is hosted by the Philosophy department.

This is only natural because much of the work at the centre touches on philosophical theories of global justice and the nature of values. However, we are multidisciplinary by both conviction and methodology. We believe that the ethical issues which we face cannot be resolved solely within one nation state, one academic discipline, one political outlook, or one belief-system or evaluative framework. Thus, staff and students work across disciplines and write, research in teach in multidisciplinary ways. They also collaborate with practitioners, policy makers, and activists.

What is global ethics?

Global ethics, like all ethics, attempts to answer the question 'how ought we to live'. When this is considered globally, questions of justice become paramount. How should we, for example, redress past and present injustices? The global ethics approach is founded on the conviction that the ethical issues of our time must be addressed comprehensively - in a multidisciplinary way that combines both theory and practice. Theory must be informed by practice to be relevant and relevant. Likewise, practice needs theoretical reflection and analysis in order to be effective and to achieve its ends. Global ethics draws its theoretical framework from philosophy, particularly moral and political philosophy. In combination with other disciplines, it seeks to address policy and practical dilemmas of our time. 

Global ethics investigates some of the most important moral problems which we face. These problems are related to extreme poverty, global warming, war and humanitarian interventions, rogue states and corruption, consumption and the principles of global trade, medical tourism, and so on.

If you wish to learn more about Global Ethics, you might want to consider our Masters programme in Global Ethics, or reading Global Ethics: An Introduction written by Professor Heather Widdows.  

You might also want to explore other work in this area done by the members of the Philosophy of Health and Happiness Research Cluster, the Birmingham Centre for Philosophy of Religion, and the Institute of Conflict, Cooperation, and Security.


The Centre is administered in the College of Arts and Law as a unit of the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion. The Centre is a point of contact between Arts and Law and Social Sciences. It has natural affinities with Political Science and International Relations as well as the Institute of Applied Social Studies. The Centre has links with the Medical School, the International Development Department and the Birmingham Business School.