Professor Ralph Wedgwood MPhil (King's College London), PhD (Cornell)

Department of Philosophy
Distinguished Research Professor

Contact details

ERI Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Ralph Wedgwood is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. His publications investigate fundamental issues in metaethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, history of philosophy, applied ethics and practical reason, rationality, and decision theory. His first name is pronounced so that it rhymes with 'safe' and 'waif'.


  • PhD in Philosophy, Cornell University, 1994.
  • MPhil in Philosophy, King's College London, 1989.
  • BA in Classics and Modern Languages, Magdalen College Oxford, 1987.


After completing his PhD at Cornell, Professor Wedwood worked briefly as a Visiting Assistant Professor at UCLA and as a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Stirling. After this, he was first an Assistant Professor and then an Associate Professor at the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. From 2002 onwards, Professor Wedgwood was a University Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Merton College. In 2007, he was made a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He moved from Oxford to USC in 2012. He has also been a visiting fellow at ANU, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Princeton University, and the National Humanities Centre at North Carolina. He was appointed a Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham in 2013.

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Wedgwood will co-supervise PhD theses with the members of staff at Birmingham in metaethics, epistemology and other areas in which he has research interests.

Find out more - our PhD Philosophy  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


The notion of normativity is at the core of Professor Wedgwood's research interests. He has investigated the nature of normativity - the nature of ought - in metaethics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind. Other topics on which he has published widely include instrumental rationality, requirements of rationality, decision theory, the doctrine of double effect, value theory and reasons, expressivism, moral motivation, the nature of beliefs, and so on.



  • The Nature of Normativity (OUP, 2007).
  • Fact and Value: Essays in Ethics and Metaphysics of Judith Jarvis Thomson, co-edited with Alex Byrne and Robert Stalnaker (MIT Press, 2001).

Selected articles

  • "Gandalf's Solution to the Newcomb Problem", Synthese, 2011.
  • "Instrumental Rationality", Oxford Studies in Metaethics 6, 2011: 280-310.
  • "Instrinsic Values and Reasons for Action", Philosophical Issues 19, 2009: 342-363.
  • "Contextualism about Justified Belief", Philosophers' Imprint 8 (9), 2008: 1-20.
  • "The Normative Force of Reasoning", Nous 40 (4), 2006: 660-686.
  • "The Meaning of "Ought"", Oxford Studies in Metaethics 1, 2006: 127-160.
  • "How We Know What Ought to Be", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106, 2005: 61-85.
  • "Internalism Explained", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65, 2002: 267-297.
  • "Practical Reason and Desire", Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80, 2002: 345-358.
  • "Conceptual Role Semantics for Moral Terms", Philosophical Review 110, 2001: 1-30.
  • "The Price of Non-Reductive Physicalism", Nous 34, 2000: 400-421.