• School of Philosophical &
    Anthropological Studies
    Logic & Metaphysics

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

PhD projects

Dr. Sachs is very happy to supervise most topics within applied ethics, social philosophy, political philosophy and philosophy of law. Please get in touch if you are interested in being supervised by Dr. Sachs as a full-time, part-time, or visiting PhD/MPhil student.

Personal profile

Research overview

Dr. Sachs-Cobbe is working with Alex Douglas on an AHRC-funded project called The Future of Work and Income. The project takes as its jumping-off point the ever-increasing worries about the future of work (automation, zero-hours contracts, increased childcare costs, etc.) and concerns about widening economic inequality.  It seeks to clarify central conceptual and ethics questions at the heart of these concerns, for the purpose of enabling more productive discussions of proposed solutions, including, e.g., a universal basic income, a jobs guarantee, and a shorter working week.

Dr. Sachs-Cobbe's new book, Contractarianism, Role Obligations, and Political Morality, has just been published by Routledge.  

It’s natural to think that the state owes things to its people: physical security, public health and sanitation services, and a functioning judiciary, for example.  But is there a theory—a political morality—that can explain why this is so, and also identify who the state's 'people' are?  My book argues that contractarianism is well suited to ground political morality and goes on to explore the implications of deploying it in this way.  The book offers a quite extreme rejection of the idea that the moral facts should be the basis on which we set our collective goals and make our laws; it also develops a novel, moderate position on the appropriate political and legal status of sentient animals.

Prior to the above-mentioned project and book, Dr. Sachs-Cobbe's research included work on ethical theory, coercion, and the ethics of reesearch on human subjects.


Dr. Sachs-Cobbe was born and raised in San Diego, California.  He received a bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois and a PhD at the University of Wisconsin.  Prior to coming to St. Andrews he was an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Program in Environmental Studies and the Department of Bioethics at New York University, and prior to that a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health (U.S.).

Teaching activity

Dr. Sachs-Cobbe teaches classes on ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of law, animal ethics, philosophy of economics, and distributive justice.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Does Rationality Ever Require Immorality?, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON


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