I'm Rafael Ruiz de Lira, a Philosophy Ph.D. Student at the London School of Economics (LSE). I am currently working on questions about Moral Progress, which include conceptual ("what is moral and social progress?"), causal ("what sorts of mechanisms drive progress?"), and policy-related questions ("how do we promote progress?") from an interdisciplinary perspective.
My philosophical interests mostly focus on ethics and political philosophy from an interdisciplinary perspective. My research topics include Moral Epistemology, Metaethics, Moral Psychology, Utilitarianism, and Liberalism, on questions such as:
Moral Epistemology: How do we know what is morally good and what is bad, what is better and what is worse?
Metaethics: How can we reconcile normative facts with a naturalistic worldview? What are we actually saying when we evaluate an action and say it's good or bad?
Moral Psychology: What would a non-ideal, empirically informed approach to moral and political philosophy look like? What do we learn from psychology, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, primatology, and other fields that is relevant to questions about human nature and how to develop our societies? Which tendencies are innate and which are acquired in human behavior, and how should that inform our approach to normative ethics? What's the effect of evolution on our basic evaluative predispositions? What's the effect of cumulative culture and rule internalization on our moral beliefs? What psychological biases do we suffer from when evaluating moral situations?
Utilitarianism: Why is happiness/welfare/well-being morally important? Should we be value pluralists or should we always have an exchange rate between values?
Liberalism: What is the best way of organizing our societies? What kind of policies are appropriate for our pluralistic, liberal societies? How should liberal societies distribute resources? How should they handle specific issues, such as conflicts arising from multiculturalism?
I obtained my BA in Philosophy at the University of the Republic of Uruguay. My BA thesis was on Moral Epistemology and Metaethics, particularly the realism/anti-realism debate, evolutionary debunking arguments, and metaethical constructivism.
I got my MA in Philosophy at King's College London. My MA thesis was on Moral Uncertainty: how should we avoid risks in order to make the best decisions when we don't know which moral theory is correct? You can read more about it here.
I also have an MA in Political Philosophy from Pompeu Fabra University. Where I wrote on cultural and social influences on our moral intuitions, particularly how WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) societies shape our values towards moral impartiality and universalism.
I have published papers on topics such as evolutionary debunking arguments, animal welfare and utilitarianism. I've also researched and written on related issues, including value monism vs. value pluralism in normative ethics, Hume on practical reason, cognitive dissonance and ideology, theory choice in science, reflective equilibrium, the use of intuitions and thought experiments in philosophy, whether intuitions can be theory-laden, the experience machine and hedonism, freedom of speech, human nature and cultural evolution, and related topics.
I'm also Founder of Futurosophia, an NGO and website focused on Effective Altruism and the global risks that humanity will face in the coming future. It is one of the first Spanish-speaking Effective Altruism organizations.
See my CV for more information.