Folke Tersman

Short presentation

I am a professor of Philosophy at the Dpt. of Philosophy in Uppsala and the Deputy Director of the Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm. I am also a member of the Board of Directors of the Swedish Research Council and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. I am furthermore the PI for the research project Hidden Convergence in Ethics, which is funded through a grant from the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. For further information, see the biography.


Born 1964. I received my Ph.D. 1993 at Stockholm University but part of my graduate studies was spent at Cornell University. Before my appointment at Uppsala University, I was associate professor of philosophy at the University of Auckland, (2005-2007), and research fellow, associate professor, and full professor at Stockholm University (1995-2005). I have also been acting professor of practical philosophy at the University of Gothenburg (2002-2003), a visiting fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences, ANU (1999), and a visiting professor at the University of Sydney (2014-2015).

I was head of the Department of Philosophy in Uppsala between 2010 and 2017, and associate dean of the Faculty of Arts between July 1st, 2017 and December 31st, 2018. I am currently a member of the board of directors at the Swedish Research Council and the deputy director of the Institute for Futures Studies.

I am furthermore a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, of Academia Europaea and of the Royal Association for the Humanities in Uppsala.

I am the PI for the project "Hidden convergence in ethics" (2024-2027) which is funded through a grant from The Swedish Tercentenary Foundation (Riksbankens jubileumsfond).

Recent publications

Books (books in Swedish are omitted)

  • Moral Disagreement. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006 (paperback 2009). (For a review in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, follow this link.)
  • Reflective Equilibrium: An Essay in Moral Epistemology, Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1993 (doctoral dissertation).

Selected articles and book chapters (peer reviewed, in English)

  • ‘Skepticism and Moral Disagreement’ (w. Olle Risberg), in Maria Baghramian, J. Adam Carter and Richard Rowland (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Disagreement, London: Routledge, 2024.
  • ‘Moral Realism and the Argument from Skepticism’ (w. Olle Risberg), International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 10, 2020, 283-303. DOI: 10.1163/22105700-BJA10017.
  • ‘Disagreement, Indirect Defeat, and Higher-Order Evidence’ (w. Olle Risberg), in Klenk, M. (ed.), Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology, London: Routledge, 2020, 97-114.
  • ‘From Scepticism to Anti-Realism’, dialectica 73 (3), 2019, 411-27. DOI: 10.1111/1746-8361.12276.
  • ‘A New Route from Moral Disagreement to Moral Skepticism’ (w. Olle Risberg), Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2), 2019, 189-207. DOI: 10.1017/apa.2019.3.
  • "Recent Work on Reflective Equilibrium and Method in Ethics", Philosophy Compass13 (6), 2018, 1-10 DOI: 10.111/phc3.12493.
  • “Debunking and Disagreement”, Noûs 51 (4), 2017, 754-74 DOI: 10.1111/nous.12135.
  • “Moral Skepticism and the Benacerraf Challenge”. In Moral Skepticism: New Essays (ed. D. Machuca): London: Routledge, 2017, 183-97.
  • "Explaining the Reliability of Moral Beliefs". In Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability (eds. Leibowitz, U., and Sinclair, N.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, 37-57.
  • "Disagreement. Ethics and Elsewhere", Erkenntnis 79, 2014, 55-72.
  • "Disagreement, Moral", in International Encyclopedia of Ethics (eds. Hugh LaFolette, John Deigh and Sarah Stroud), Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
  • "Methodology in Metaethics", in International Encyclopedia of Ethics (eds. Hugh LaFolette, John Deigh and Sarah Stroud), Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
  • "Moral Disagreement: Actual vs Possible", in D. Machuca (ed.), Disagreement and Skepticism, London: Routledge, 2013, 90-108.
  • "Intuitional Disagreement", Southern Journal of Philosophy 50, 2012, 639-59.
  • "The Case for a Mixed Verdict on Ethics and Epistemology", Philosophical Topics 38, 2010, 181-204.
  • "Contrasts and Demons: On Sinnott-Armstrong's moderate Pyrrhonian scepticism", in L. Haaparanta (ed.), Rearticulations of Reasons. Recent Currents. Acta Philosophica Fennica 88, 2010, 243-60.
  • "The Reliability of Moral Intuitions: A Challenge from Neuroscience", Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86, 2008, 389-405.
  • "Ethics and Film", in Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film, eds. P. Livingston and C. Plantinga, London: Routledge, 2008, 111-20.
  • "Are We Lovers of the Good?", Synthese 138, 2004, 247-60.
  • "Davidson and Quine's Empiricism", in Interpreting Davidson, eds. P. Kotatko, P. Pagin, and G. Segal, San Fransisco: CSLI Publishers, 2001, 269-83.
  • "Cannibals, Communists and Cognitivists", Theoria 65, 1999, 70-85.
  • "Quine on Ethics", Theoria 64, 1998, 84-98.
  • "Stimulus Meaning Debunked", Erkenntnis 49, 1998, 371-85.
  • "Crispin Wright on Moral Disagreement", Philosophical Quarterly 48, 1998, 359-65.
  • "Non-Cognitivism and Inconsistency", Southern Journal of Philosophy 33, 1995, 361-71.
  • "Coherence and Disagreement", Philosophical Studies 65, 1992, 305-17.
  • "Utilitarianism and the Idea of Reflective Equilibrium", Southern Journal of Philosophy 29, 1991, 395-406.

Reviews (in English)

  • Review of Thompson, R., Paul, Evolution, Morality and the Fabric of Society (published in the series Elements in the Philosophy of Biology), Cambridge University Press, 2022, Metascience, 2023. Online access:
  • Review of Derek Parfit's On What Matters, volume 3 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), European Journal of Philosophy 26, 2018, 668-72, DOI: 10.1111/ejop.12338.
  • Review of Joyce, R., and Kirchin, S., (eds.), A World Without Values. Essays on John Mackie’s Moral Error Theory (Springer, 2010), in International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 5, 2015, 333-337: DOI: 10.1163/22105700-05031197.
  • Review of Davidson, D., Problems of Rationality, Theoria 72, 2006, 233-239.
  • Review of Crisp, R., Routledge philosophy guidebook to Mill on Utilitarianism and Riley, J., Routledge philosophy guidebook to Mill on Liberty, Theoria 67, 2001, 177-183.

Invited talks and presentations (selection, since 2010)

  • 2023. “Seeking a reflective equilibrium in the face of disagreement”, First workshop (of three) in the Progress in Ethics network, Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm (June 19-20).
  • 2022. “Reflective Equilibrium and Higher-Order Evidence”, in the conference 51 years after A Theory of Justice, University of Bern, 12-14/5).
  • 2021. “Can Skeptical Arguments from Moral Disagreement Stand Alone?”, in the conference "Moral Progress and Disagreement: Evolutionary Perspectives", Sapienza Università Di Roma (2-3/12).
  • 2021. “Agreement and Disagreement: Sides of the Same Coin?”, in the Initial online workshop "Ethics of Conversation and Disagreement" (18-19/6).
  • 2020. “Recent Work on Reflective Equilibrium and Method in Ethics & The Reliability of Moral Intuitions. A Challenge from Neuroscience”, in the workshop “Reflective Equilibrium”, University of Bern (25/1).
  • 2020. ”From Evolutionary Theory to Moral Skepticism, via Disagreement”, invited speaker, the workshop “Debunking and Disagreement”, Meta-Essen IV, Universität Duisburg Essen (23/1).
  • 2020. ”From Evolutionary Theory to Moral Skepticism, via Disagreement”, Monika Betzler’s Oberseminar, Munich Centre for Ethics, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (21/1).
  • 2018. “From Disagreement to Skepticism. A Novel Approach”, invited paper to the conference “Moral Disagreement” (ACU Rome Seminar Series (7/9-9/9).
  • 2017. ‘From Disagreement to Skepticism’ (w. Olle Risberg), invited speaker at the conference Debunking & Disagreement, Utrecht University (7/4).
  • 2016. ‘Levels of Disagreement’, invited lecture at the conference Disagreement in Ethics, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg (7-9/7).
  • 2015. ‘Explaining Moral Disagreement’, keynote lecture at the conference Deep Disagreements. Philosophical and Legal Perspectives, Humboldt University, Berlin (11-13/6).
  • 2015. ‘Reliability and Necessary Truth’, Dpt of Philosophy, University of Melbourne (7/5).
  • 2014. ‘Is the Benacerraf Challenge a Pseudo-Problem’, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney (10/10).
  • 2013. ‘What is a debunking explanation?’, invited lecture at the conference Applying Philosophy, Carlsberg Academy, Copenhagen (30-31/8).
  • 2012. ‘Disagreeing Judgments: Ethics and Elsewhere’, keynote lecture at the conference Judgement & Justification, University of Tampere, Finland (24-26/9).
  • 2011. ‘Intuitions, disagreements and debunking explanations’, invited lecture in the PhD-course Intuitions in Philosophy, University of Copenhagen (5-7/12).
  • 2011. ‘Non-Debunking Explanations of Moral Intuitions’, plenary speaker at ECAP 7 (Seventh European Congress of Analytic Philosophy), Milan (1-6/9).
  • 2011. ‘Disagreement. Ethics and Elsewhere’, invited lecture at the workshop Disagreements, Tartu University, Estonia (28/8).
  • 2011. ‘Intuitions as Evidence’, invited lecture in the Inaugural Lecture of the Neuroscience and Philosophy Seminar Series at CIN (Center for Integrative Neuroscience), University of Tübingen (7/7).
  • 2011. ‘The Case for a Mixed Verdict On Ethics and Epistemology’, invited lecture at the Symposium on Disagreement in Ethics and Epistemology (41st Annual Philosophy Symposium), Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fullerton, Los Angeles (14-15/4).
  • 2010. ‘How, why and when must recalcitrant intuitions be explained away?”, invited lecture at the conference Intuitions in Ethics, Department of Philosophy, Humboldt University, Berlin (23-25/9).
  • 2010. ‘How, why and when must recalcitrant intuitions be explained away?”, keynote lecture at the conference Symposium on Political Ethics: Its Nature and Its Methods (organized by the Nordic Network on Political Ethics), Uppsala University (16-18/6).


Analysis, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Dialectica, Dialogue, Disputatio, Economics & Philosophy, Erkenntnis, Ethical Theory & Moral Practice, Ethics, Graazer Philosophische Studien, Inquiry, Journal of Ethics, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Journal of Moral Philosophy, Journal of Philosophical Research, Journal of Political Philosophy, Journal of Social Philosophy, Journal of Value Inquiry, Mind, Noûs, Oxford University Press, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophia, Philosophical Papers, Philosophical Psychology, Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Review, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy Compass, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Review of Philosophy and Psychology, Ratio, Routledge, Sats - Nordic Journal of Philosophy, Synthese and Theoria.


Selection of publications

Recent publications

All publications




Folke Tersman