I’m a philosopher working on a spectrum of issues: spanning philosophy of science (and in particular: ecology, evolution, and anthropology), moral psychology, social epistemology, and ethics.

My overarching goal is to understand the social nature of human agency in a way that is grounded in our understanding of biological evolution.


Currently my major research projects are:

  • Progress, human success, and enhancement

  • Organismic agency and animal welfare

  • Trust and Professionalism

Hugh Desmond.png

Before coming to philosophy, I did a degree in physics and mathematics at the KU Leuven with a research stint at the Kavli Institute at Stanford. I'm also a professional violinist, having studied at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels & the Conservatoire Nationale Supérieure de Musique de Paris. I've performed in most major concert halls in Europe, but obligations in academia and to a young family mean my schedule is limited to 5-10 concerts a year.


  • 14-april-21 Published: Trust and professionalism in science: medical codes as a model for scientific negligence? BMC Biomedical Ethics. link

  • 7-april-21 Published: Precision Medicine, Data, and the Anthropology of Social Status. AJOB. link

  • 8-march-21 Published: Adapting to Environmental Heterogeneity: Selection and Radiation. Biological Theory. link

  • 7-feb-21 Published: Research Integrity Codes of Conduct in Europe. Bioethics. link

  • 2-jan-21 Published: Expert Communication and the Self-Defeating Codes of Scientific Ethics. For AJOB.

  • 9-dec-20 Published: Service and Status may Help Explain Perceived Ethical Acceptability. For AJOB Neuroscience.

  • 1-nov-20 Published: The Ontology of Organismic Agency: A Kantian Approach. (with Philippe Huneman)

upcoming talks