Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Christopher Nathan


Research Fellow

Email: C dot M dot J dot Nathan at warwick dot ac dot uk
Room: E2.25


I am a research fellow at Warwick working on projects on security and technology, based in the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group. I am currently working on a Leverhulme project on 'Anthropogenic Global Catastrophic Risk', investigating the governance and research culture surrounding new technologies.

Previously at Warwick I have been involved with the EU Horizon 2020 project on responsibility in research and innovation entitled 'Prisma', the ESRC Global Uncertainties fellowship, the European FP7 project SURVEILLE, the ESRC project Assuming Identities Online, and the ESRC Integrator programme on Ethics and Rights in a Security Context.


Journal articles

‘The Ethics of Predictive Policing’ (co-author). Forthcoming, Oxford Handbook of Digital Ethics

Life Cycle Assessment and Value Judgment’ (co-author). NanoEthics volume 14, pages271–283 (2020)

'Current Debates About the Ethics of New Technology' NanoEthics volume 14, pp. 241–243 (2020)

'Punishment the Easy Way.' Criminal Law and Philosophy (2020): 1-26.

'Learning to do responsible innovation in industry: six lessons' (co-author), Journal of Responsible Innovation, July 2020

Bureaucratic Respectful EqualityEuropean Journal of Political Theory. Volume: 18: 4, October 2019. With a reply by Ian Carter in the same journal

Liability to Deception and Manipulation: The Ethics of Undercover Policing’. Journal of Applied Philosophy 34(3), 370-388, May 2017. Reprinted in Professions in Ethical Focus, Second Edition, Broadview Press, 2021

Principles of Policing and Principles of Punishment’ (Legal Theory, Volume 22: 3-4, December 2016)

What is Basic Equality?’, in Do All Persons Have Equal Moral Worth? On Basic Equality and Equal Respect and Concern (ed. Uwe Steinhoff, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)

Need there be a Defence of Equality?’, Res Publica 17.3 (November 2011), 211-225.

Review of In the Beginning Was the Deed by Bernard Williams, Oxonian Review of Books (Spring 2006, 5:2), 12.


The Ethics of Undercover Policing (under contract with Routledge)

Asbtract: This book asks, What would a philosophically ideal undercover policing order look like? In the light of the above and other controversies, as well as ongoing legal and policy processes including the Undercover Policing Inquiry in the UK, it is urgent that this question is addressed. The book rejects the view that undercover work is inherently at odds with the police role, and it also rejects the view that undercover work can be justified by straightforwardly weighing its disvalue against its good consequences. Rather, it seems that some people can, through their actions, make themselves morally liable to intrusions and manipulations, while others — those who are innocent or uninvolved — are less liable or not liable at all. Although intuitive, this idea is surprisingly absent in key ways from both the political debate and governance structures relating to policing, and indeed that absence may partly explain some of the mistreatment of citizens by police in recent decades. The book examines the liability idea through the cleaner case of personal self-defence, bringing the recent sophisticated advances in the philosophical literature on the topic to bear upon policing practice. In doing so, the book argues for a new understanding of proportionality in undercover police work that takes due account of innocent parties, vulnerable targets, disclosure and manipulation into wrongful action. Further, the book uses this framework to defend a central role for the judiciary in the oversight structure of undercover police, a role that is currently absent or heavily curtailed in most jurisdictions.

Selected papers invited/in draft/under review

'Incorporating Responsibility into the Proportionality of Intrusive Investigations'

‘Disagreement as an Obstacle to Preventing Global Catastrophes’ (lead author)

‘Policing, Proportionality, and Omissions’ (co-author)

Other publications

'Responsible Innovation in Practice: Experiences from Industry' (2018) (PRISMA project Deliverable 2.4) (co-author)

'Corporate Social Responsibility vs. Responsible Innovation'. Blog post on Prisma (2018)

Video interview on life cycle assessment and algae oils (2018)

Report on Ethicists’ Views of Responsible Innovation (2018)

'Report on Undercover Policing Ethics Workshop' (co-author) (2016)

‘Bulk Collection: Case Studies’ (co-author) (2015)

'Literature on Cyberwarfare Ethics’ (co-author) (2015)