A recent interview:
The Hedonistic Utilitarian

Torbjörn Tännsjö is Kristian Claëson Professor of Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University since 2002 and director at Stockholm University of Stockholm Centre for Health Care Ethics, a cooperation between Stockholm University (SU), Karolinska Instistute (KI) and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). Since 2007 he is also Affiliated Professor Medical Ethics at Karolinska Institutet. He was Professor of Practical Philosophy at Göteborg University 1995-2001 and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Stockholm University from 1976 to 1993, and Research Fellow in Political Philosophy at the Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences between 1993 and 1995. During the fall of 2008 he was a research fellow at The Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study.

Member of the medical ethics committee of The National Board of Health and Welfare (the Swedish Government agency responsible for the supervision, evaluation and monitoring of social services, health care and medical services, dental care, environmental health, and control of communicable diseases), he is member of the ethics board of Karolinska Institute. Up to 2011 he served as a member of the board of the now finalised ethics program at Oslo University.

Member of the editorial board of Monash Bioethics Review, Tidskrift för politisk filosofi, (Journal of Political Philosophy), and Philosophical Papers, the ethics section of the web psychiatric journal Psychomedia, The Intergenerational Justice Review, and Bioethics.

At present

Tännsjö is presently revising Understanding Ethics (a third edition is forthcoming 2013). He is writing on two books, one on priority setting in health care and another one on the ethics of killing. The former book is written within a research project.


Books (in English)

Edited books:

Books (in Swedish)

Edited Books in Swedish

  • Sven-Erik Liedman, Torbjörn Tännsjö och Dag Westerståhl, Den svårfångade relativismen (Stockholm: Thales, 2008).

Articles (in English)

  1. "The Morality of Abstract Entities", Theoria, Vol. XLIV, 1978, pp. 1-18.
  2. "Responsibility and the Explanatory View of Consequences", Philosophical Studies, Vol. 42, 1982, pp. 151-161
  3. "Against Liberty", The Journal of Value Inquiry, Vol. 18, 1984, pp. 83-97
  4. "Moral Conflict and Moral Realism", The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. LXXXII, 1985, pp. 113-117
  5.  "Against Berlin", Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, Vol. LXXI, 1985, pp. 218-233
  6. "Against Freedom of Expression", Political Studies, Vol. XXXII, December 1985, pp. 547-559
  7. "Moral Doubts About Strict Materialism", Inquiry, Vol. 30, 1987, pp. 451-58
  8. "Soft Determinism and How We Become Responsible For the Past", Philosophical Papers, Vol. XVIII, 1989, pp. 189-201
  9.  "The Moral Import of Modal Realism", Theoria, Vol. 58, 1987, pp. 87-96
  10. "The Moral Significance of Moral Realism", The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XXVI, 1988, pp. 247-261
  11. "The Morality of Collective Actions", Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 39, 1989, pp. 221-228
  12.  "Against Personal Autonomy", The International Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 4, 1989, pp. 45-56
  13.  "Welfare Economics and the Meaning of Life", in In so many Words, Philosophical Essays dedicated to Sven Danielsson on the Occasion of His Fiftieth Birthday, ed. by Sten Lindström and Wlodek Rabinowicz, Philosophical Studies published by the Philosophical Society and the Department of Philosophy, University of Uppsala, Vol. 42, 1989
  14. "Methodological Individualism", Inquiry, Vol. 33, 1990, pp. 69-80
  15.  "Morality and Modality", Philosophical Papers, Vol. XX, 1991, pp. 139-153
  16.  "Review of David Lamb, Organ Transplants and Ethics, " Theoria, Vol. LVII, 1991, pp. 124-126
  17.  "Who Are the Beneficiaries?", Bioethics, Vol. 6, 1992, pp. 288-296, 1992
  18.  "Aesthetic Nihilism", with Hans Mathlein, in Understanding the Arts, by Jeanette Emt and Göran Hermerén (eds.), (Lund: Lund University Press, 1992), pp. 33-46
  19. "In Defence of Science", in Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, by Dag Prawitz et al. (eds.), (North-Holland, Amsterdam: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993)
  20.  "Should We Change the Human Genome?", Theoretical Medicine, Vol. 14, 1993, pp. 231-247
  21.  "Applied Ethics", in Ideal and Reality - Applying Ethics in Theory and Practice, Studies in Research Ethics, No.3, Center for Research Ethics, Göteborg, 1993
  22.  "Conservatism. A Defence", Inquiry, Vol. 36, 1993, pp. 329-334
  23. "The Morality of Clinical Research. A Case Study", The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol. 19, 1994, pp. 7-21, reprinted in Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer (eds.), Bioethics: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies, Blackwell, 1999)
  24. "Review of Albert O. Hirshman, The Rhetoric of Reaction", in Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 13, pp. 213-223, JAI Press Inc.
  25. "Classical Hedonistic Utilitarianism", Philosophical Studies, Vol. 81, 1996, pp. 97-115
  26.  "In Defence of Theory in Ethics", Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 25, 1995, pp. 571-594
  27. "Blameless Wrongdoing", Ethics, Vol. 106, 1995, pp. 120-127
  28. "The Secular Model of the Multi-cultural State", Inquiry, Vol. 38, 1995, pp. 109-117
  29. "The Appeal to Full Relativity", in Odds and Ends. Philosophical Essays Dedicated to Wlodek Rabinowicz on the Occasion of His Fiftieth Bierthday, by Sten Lindström, Rysiek Sliwinski, and Jan Österberg (eds.), Uppsala: Uppsala Upsala Philosophical Studies 45, 1996, pp. 83-93
  30.  "Doom Soon?", Inquiry, Vol. 40, 1997, pp. 243-252
  31. "Critical Notice of Peter Unger", Living High and Letting Die, Theoria, vol. LXVI, 2000, pp. 115-122.
  32.  "Ought We to Sentence People to Psychiatric Treatment", Bioethics, Vol. 11, 1997, pp. 298-308
  33.  "Is Our Admiration For Sports Heroes Fascistoid?", Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, Vol. XXV, 1998, pp. 23-34
  34.  "Compulsatory Sterilization in Sweden", Bioethics, Vol. 12, 1998, pp. 236-249
  35.  "Metaphysics and Morality", Critical Notice of Frank Jackson, From Metaphysics to Ethics, Inquiry, Vol. 41, 1998, pp. 355-9
  36.  "Two concepts of death reconciled", Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy, vol. 2, 1999, pp. 41-46.
  37.  "Human Genetics and the Nazi Spectre", Monash Bioethics Review, vol. 18, 1999, pp. 13-21
  38.  "A concrete view of intrinsic value", The Journal of Value Inquiry, vol. 33, 1999, pp. 531-36.
  39.  "Informal coercion in the somatic care of people suffering from senile dementia or mental retardation", Nursing Ethics, Vol. 6, 1999, pp. 327-35.
  40.  "Impersonal Morality: A Defense", in Veikko Launis, Juhani Pietarinen and Juha Räikkä (red.), Genes and Morality. New Essays (Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1999), pp. 43-51.
  41.  "Is Our Admiration for Sports Heroes Fascistoid?", in Tobjörn Tännsjö and Claudio M Tamburrini (eds.), Values in Sport: Elitism, nationalism, gender equality, and the scientific manufacture of winners (London and New York: E&FN Spon/Routledge, 2000)
  42.  "Against Sexual Discrimination in Sports", in Torbjörn Tännsjö and Claudio M Tamburrini (eds.), Values in Sport: Elitism, nationalism, gender equality, and the scientific manufacture of winners (London and New York: E&FN Spon/Routledge, 2000)
  43.  "Terminal sedation - A Compromise in the Euthanasia Debate?", Bulletin of Medical Ethics, No. 163, November 2000, pp. 13-22.
  44.  "Human value", Acta Obstretricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, Vol. 79, 2000.
  45.  "Review of John Kekes, A Case for Conservatism", Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 50, 2000, pp. 275-77.
  46.  "Morality and Personal Identity", in Electronic Essays Dedicated to Peter Gärdenfors on His Fiftieth Birthday.
  47.  "A Fate Shared with All Others Response to Gregor Wolbring", Hadarforum, Newsletter on Rehabilitation Technlogy, No. 1, 2000 50.
  48. "The Expressivist Theory of Truth", Theoria, vol. LXVI, 2000, pp. 256-272.
  49.  "Must we, the reader and I, make great sacrifices in order to save starving children?" Critical notice of Peter Unger, Living High and Letting Die, Theoria, vol. LXVI, 2000, pp. 115-122.
  50.  "The Least Subnoticeable Difference", in Michael J. Almeida (red.), Imperceptible Harms and Benefits (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Press, 2000), pp. 75-93.
  51.  "Forensic Psychiatry and Human Rights", Forensic Psychiatry On-Line.
  52.  "Virtue Ethics", in Dan Egonsson et al. (eds.), Exploring Practical Philosophy: From action to values (Aldershot: Ashgate: 2001).
  53. "Sleeping to death" in EXIT, Vol. 21, no.1, 2001, reprinted in The Social Inventions Journal, 2001 and in Nicholas Albery (ed.), Progressive Endings, Chippenham: Antony Rowe, 2001).
  54.  "Genética humana y el Fantasma Nazi", Perspectivas Bioéticas, VI, 2001, pp 89-102.
  55.  "Euthanasia in the Netherlands", International Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 2, March 2002.
  56.  "Quine's Nihilism", Ratio, Vol. XV, 2002, pp. 205-219.
  57.  "Why We Ought to Accept the Repugnant Conclusion", Utilitas vol. 14, 2002, pp. 339-59.
  58. "A comment on euthanasia in the Netherlands", International Journal of Integrated Care, vol 2, 2002, www.ijic.org/index2.html
  59. "Commentary", i Palliative Medicine. Research Journal of the European Association for Palliative Care, vol. 17, 2003, p. 115.
  60. "Ethical Aspects on Transplant Surgery", Transplantation Proceedings, vol. 35, 2003, pp. 1210-1213.
  61. "The Convention on Humar rights and Biomedicine and the Use of Coercion in Psychiatry", Journal of Medical Ethics, vol 30, 2004, pp. 430-34
  62. "Terminal Sedation: A Substitute for uthanasia?", in Torbjörn Tännsjö (ed.) Terminal Sedation: Euthanasia in Disguise (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2004)
  63. "The Sancity of Life and the Active/Passive Distinction: A Final Reflection", in Torbjörn Tännsjö (ed.) Terminal Sedation: Euthanasia in Disguise (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2004)
  64.  "Why We Ought to Accept the Repugnant Conclusion", in Jesper Ryberg and Torbjörn Tännsjö (eds) The Repugnant Conclusion. Essays on Population Ethics (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2004).
  65.  "Rewiew of Judith Jarvis Thomson "Goodness and Advice", Mind vol. 113, 2004, pp. 786-791.
  66.  "Response to: Hypoxic air machines: Performance enhancement through effective training - or cheating? Merle Spriggs", Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 31, 2005, p.113.
  67. "Taking the final step: Changing the law on euthanasia and physician assisted suicide", BMJ, Vol. 336, 2005, pp. 689-691.
  68.  "Understanding Through Explanation in Ethics", Theoria, Vol. 72, 2006, pp. 178-213.
  69. "Narrow Hedonism", Journal of Happiness Studies, Vol. 8, 2007, pp. 79-98.
  70. "Moral Relativism", Philosophical Studies, Vol. 135, 2007, pp. 123-143.
  71. "The Repugnant Conclusion", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (together with Gustaf Arrhenius and Jesper Rynerg).
  72. "Terminal Sedation — A Swedish Case study", in Hon-Lam Li (ed.) New Essays in Applied Ethics: Animal Rights, Personhood, and the Ethics of Killing (London: Pelgrave Macmillan, 2007). 
  73. "Non-voluntary sterilization", Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol. 31, 2006, pp. 325-331. 
  74.  "Cosmopolitan Democracy Revisited", Public Affairs Quarterly, Vol. 20, 2006, pp. 267-331. 
  75.  "Why No Compromise is Possible", Metaphilosophy, Vol. 38, pp. 330-343. The article has also been reprinted in Lori Gruen. Laura Grabel, and Peter Singer (eds.), Stem Cell Research: The Ethical Issues (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007). 
  76.  "Medical Enhancement and the Ethos of Elite Sport", in Julian Savulescu and Nik Bostrom (eds.), Human Enhancement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). 
  77.  "Rational Injustice", Philosophy and the Social Sciences, Vol. 36, 2006, pp. 423-439. 
  78.  "Sophie's Choice", in Ward Jones and Samantha Vice (eds.), Ethics i Film (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 
  79.  "Ethical Aspects of Triage in Mass Casualty", Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology, Vol. 20, 2007, pp. 143-146. 
  80.  "The Ethics of Killing", Dialogue, 2007. 
  81.  "The Myth of Innocence. On collective responsibility and collective punishment", Philosophical Papers, Vol. 36, 2007, pp. 295-314. 
  82.  "Who Should Bear the Costs of IVF: In Search of a Just Solution", Ethics, Science, and Moral Philosophy of Assisted Human Reproduction, Vol. 13, Supple. 2006, RBM Online. 
  83.  "Social Psychology and the Paradox of Revolution", South African Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 27, 2007, pp. 229-239.
  84. "Egalitarianism and the putative paradoxes of population ethics", Utilitas, Vol. 20, 2008.
  85. "Future Peopole, the All Affected Principle, and the Limits of the Aggregation Model of Democracy", in Toni Rönnow-Rasmussen, Björn Petersson, Jonas Josefsson and Dan Egonsson (eds.), Hommage à Wlodek. Philosophical papers dedicated to Wloedk Rabinowics.
  86. "Is Truth in Ethics Different from Truth in science?", Asian Hospital & Helthcare Management, no. 14, 2007.
  87. "On Normative Ethics" in Jesper Rynerg and Thomas S. Petersen (eds.) Normative Ethics 5 Questions (Automatic Press/VIP, 2007).
  88. "Our Right to IVF — Its Scope and Limits", Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 34, pp. 802-806, 2008.
  89. "Ought We to Enhance Our Cognitive Capacities?", Bioethics Volume 23, Number 7, September 2009 , pp. 421-432.
  90. "On deviant causal chains — no need for a general criterion", Analysis, 2009 69(3):469-473.
  91. "Utilitarianism, Disability, and Society", in Chirstopher Ralston and Justin Ho (eds.) Philosophical Reflections on Disability (Dordrecht: Springer, 2009).
  92. "Why Should We Respect the Privacy of Donors of Biological Material?", Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy, Vol. 14, 2010, pp. 43-52.
  93. "Enhanced Bodies", with Claudio M. Tamburrini, in Julian Savulescu, Ruud ter Meulen, and Guy Kahane (eds.), Enhancing Human Capacities (Chiclester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), pp. 247-290.
  94. "Applied Ethics. A Defence", Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 14, 2011, pp. 397-406.
  95. "The Ethics of Killing. An Example: Abortion", in Rysiek Sliwinski and Frans Svesson (eds.), Neither/Nor. Phiosophical Papers Dedicated to Erik Carlson on the Occasion of His Fiftieth Birthday (Uppsala: Uppsala Philosophical Studies 28, 2011).
  96. "Capital Punishment", in Ben Bradley, Fred Feldman, and Jens Johansson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Death (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).
  97. "Biological Egalitarianism" in Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, Jacob Warming and Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (eds.) The Post-Human Condition (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2012).
  98. "Soft Decapitation" in Claudio M. Tamburrini and Jesper Ryberg (eds.), Recidivist Punishment: The Philosopher's View (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012).
  99. "Hedonism", entry in James E. Crimmins and Doug Oong (eds.) Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism (Continuum Press, forthcoming).
  100. "Moral Epistemology and the Survival Lottery", in Joh Coggon et al. (eds.) Festschrift for John Harris (forthcoming).
  101. "Chinese and Westerners Respond Differently to the Trolley Dilemmas" (co-authored with Henrik Ahlenius), Journal of Cognition and Culture (fothcoming).
  102. (med Maria Svedberg), Consequentialism and Free Will: The conditional Analysis Resuscitated, Harvard Review of Philosophy, 2017.