Stockholms universitet

Jonas OlsonProfessor

Om mig

Research Areas

Metaethics and related subjects

Academic Background

  • Professor of Practical Philosophy
  • University Lecturer in Practical Philosophy, Stockholm University, since autumn 2008.
  • Tutorial Fellow, Brasenose College; Departmental Lecturer, University of Oxford, September 2005 - September 2008.
  • Ph.D. in Practical Philosophy, Uppsala University, May 2005.
  • Assistant Lecturer, University of Otago, New Zealand, September 2004 - March 2005.
  • M.A. in Practical Philosophy, Lund University, January 2001.

Peer-Reviewed Publications


Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Paperback edition 2017. Chinese translation 2021 (Yilin Press). Book symposium in Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (2016): 397-473. Reviews in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Dialogue, Analysis, Philosophy in Review, Ethics, Philosophical Quarterly, and International Journal for the Study of Skepticism. Book note in Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

Edited Book

The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory (co-edited with Iwao Hirose). New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. Paperback edition 2018. (Review in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.) 

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

(Most of the forthcoming papers listed below exist in draft and are available on request.)

  1. 'Are Desires De Dicto Fetishistic?' Inquiry 45 (2002): 89-96.
  2. 'Revisiting the Tropic of Value: Reply to Rabinowicz and Rönnow-Rasmussen'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2003): 412-22. 
  3. 'A Particular Consequentialism: Why Moral Particularism and Consequentialism Need Not Conflict' (with Frans Svensson). Utilitas 15 (2003): 194-2005.
  4. 'Intrinsicalism and Conditionalism about Final Value'. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (2004): 31-52. 
  5. 'Buck-Passing and the Wrong Kind of Reasons'. Philosophical Quarterly 54 (2004): 295-300.
  6. 'Regimenting Reasons' (with Frans Svensson). Theoria 71 (2005): 203-14.
  7. 'G. E. Moore on Goodness and Reasons'. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2006): 525-34.
  8. 'Brentano and the Buck-Passers' (with Sven Danielsson). Mind 116 (2007): 511-22.
  9. 'Expressivism and Moral Certitude' (with Krister Bykvist). Philosophical Quarterly 59 (2009): 202-15.
  10. 'Reasons and the New Non-Naturalism'. In S. Robertson (ed.), Spheres of Reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 164-82. 
  11. 'Fitting Attitude Analyses of Value and the Partiality Challenge'Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (2009): 365-78.  
  12. 'The Wrong Kind of Solution to the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem'Utilitas 21 (2009): 225-32.
  13. 'The Freshman Objection to Expressivism and What to Make of It'. Ratio 23 (2010): 87-101. 
  14. 'In Defence of Moral Error Theory'. In M. Brady (ed.), New Waves in Metaethics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2011: 62-84.
  15. 'A. C. Ewing's First and Second Thoughts on Metaethics' (with Mark Timmons). In T. Hurka (ed.), Underivative Duty: British Moral Philosophers from Sidgwick to Ewing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011: 183-211.
  16. 'Error Theory and Reasons for Belief'. In A. Reisner & A. Steglich-Petersen (eds), Reasons for Belief. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011: 75-93.
  17. 'Getting Real about Moral Fictionalism'. In R. Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics vol. 6. Oxford. Oxford University Press, 2011: 181-204.
  18. 'Projectivism and Error in Hume's Ethics', Hume Studies 37 (2011): 19-42.
  19. 'Skorupski's Middle Way in Metaethics', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2012): 192-200. (Invited conribution to a book symposium on John Skorupski's The Domain of Reasons.)
  20. 'Against the Being For Account of Normative Certitude' (with Krister Bykvist), Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 6 (2012). At
  21.  'The Personal and the Fitting', Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (2014): 341-52. (Critical notice of Toni Rönnow-Rasmussen's Personal Value.)
  22. 'Rationalism vs. Sentimentalism: Reviewing Price's Review', Philosophical Papers 43 (2014): 429-45.
  23. 'Doubts about Intrinsic Value'. In I. Hirose & J. Olson (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015: 44-59.
  24. 'Introduction to Value Theory' (with Iwao Hirose). In I. Hirose & J. Olson (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015: 1-9.
  25. 'Against Pluralism in Metaethics' (with Jens Johansson). In C. Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015: 593-609.
  26. ‘On the Defensibility and Believability of Moral Error Theory: Reply to Evers, Streumer, and Toppinen’. Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (2016): 461-73. (Contribution to a book symposium on Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence; along with a précis of the book, JMP 13: 397-402.)
  27. 'Two Kinds of Ethical Intuitionism: Brentano's and Reid's'The Monist 100 (2017): 106-19.
  28. 'Brentano's Metaethics'. In U. Kriegel (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Brentano and the Brentano School. New York: Routledge, 2017: 187-95.
  29. 'Non-Cognitivism and Fundamental Moral Certitude: Reply to Eriksson and Francén Olinder' (co-author Krister Bykvist). Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2017): 794-9.
  30. 'Error Theory in Metaethics'. In T. McPherson and D. Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. New York: Routledge, 2017: 58-71.
  31. 'The Metaphysics of Reasons'. In D. Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018: 255-74.
  32. 'Moral and Epistemic Error Theory: The Parity Premise Reconsidered'. In C. McHugh, J. Way, and D. Witing (eds.), Metaepistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018: 107-21.
  33. 'Nihilism and the Epistemic Profile of Moral Judgement'. In K. Jones, M. Timmons, and A. Zimmerman (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Moral Epistemology. New York: Routledge, 2019: 304-15.
  34. ‘Moral Practice after Nihilism: Negotiationism’ (co-author Björn Eriksson). In R. Garner & R. Joyce (eds.), The End of Morality: Taking Moral Abolitionism Seriously. New York: Routledge, 2019: 138-55.
  35. 'What Can Debunking Do for Us (Sceptics and Nihilists)?' Ratio 32 (2019): 290-99. (Specal issue on evolution and moral epistemology.)
  36. 'What Matters in Metaethics' (co-author Krister Bykvist; critical notice of On What Matters, vol. 3, by Derek Parfit, and Does Anything Really Matter?, edited by Peter Singer), Analysis 79 (2019): 341-49.
  37. 'Metaethics Out of Speech Acts? Moral Error Theory and the Possibility of Speech'. In C. Cowie & R. Rowland (eds.), Companions in Guilt Arguments in Metaethics. New York: Routledge, 2019: 73-85.
  38. 'Quasi-realism and Normative Certitude' (co-authors Stina Björkholm and Krister Bykvist), Synthese 198: 7861-69 (2021). 
  39. 'Hume's Sentimentalism: Not Non-Cognitivism'. Belgrade Philosophical Annual 2021: 95-111.
  40. 'Kriegel on Brentano on Value and Fittingness', forthcoming in European Journal of Philosophy. (Contribution to a book symposium on Uriah Kriegel's Brentano's Philosophical System: Mind, Being, Value.) Early view:
  41. 'Error Theory and Beyond' (co-author Victor Moberger). Forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Metaethics, edsD. Copp & C. Rosati. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  42. 'Moral Fictionalism: How and Why?' (co-author Victor Moberger). Forthcoming in Moral Fictionalism and Religious Fictionalism, eds. S. Brock and R. Joyce. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Encyclopaedia Entries 

  1. 'Buck-Passing Accounts' (5000 words). In H. La Follette (ed.), The International Encyclopaedia of Ethics. Oxford: BlackwellWiley: pp. 625-36.
  2. 'Ewing, A. C.' (with Mark Timmons, 3000 words). In The International Encyclopaedia of Ethics: pp. 1817-23.
  3. 'Metaethics' (7000 words). In The International Encyclopaedia of Ethics: pp. 3219-35.


  1. Stephen Darwall, Welfare and Rational Care. Economics and Philosophy 22 (2006): 171-77.
  2. Ingmar Persson, The Retreat of Reason. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (August 2006). 
  3. Robert Audi, The Good in the Right: A Theory of Intuition and Intrinsic Value. Philosophical Review 115 (2006): 540-42.
  4. Michael Slote, The Ethics of Care and EmpathyAnalysis 69 (2009): 190-92.
  5. Charles Pigden (ed.), Hume on Is and Ought. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2013): 821-4.
  6. Simon Kirchin (ed.), Thick Concepts. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (November 2013).
  7. David Bakhurst, Brad Hooker, & Margaret O. Little (eds.), Thinking about Reasons: Themes from the Philosophy of Jonathan Dancy. Philosophical Quarterly 64 (2014): 672-5.
  8. Mark Schroeder, Explaining the Reasons We Share: Explanation and Expression in Ethics, vol. I. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (February 2015).
  9. Thomas Hurka, British Ethical Theorists from Sidgwick to Ewing. Utilitas 28 (2016): 234-37.
  10. Richard Joyce, Essays in Moral Skepticism. International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (2018): 66-71.
  11. Matti Eklund, Choosing Normative Concepts. Utilitas 31 (2019): 343-49 (co-author Krister Bykvist). Published along with a response from Eklund. 

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications (Selection)

  1. 'Sorting Out Reasons: On Stoutlands Criticism of the Belief Desire Model' (with Frans Svensson). In K. Segerberg & R. Sliwinski (eds.), A Philosophical Smorgasboard: Essays in Honour of Frederick Stoutland. Uppsala Philosophical Studies 52, 2003: 143-50. (Predecessor of item 6 in the list of peer-reviewed articles.)
  2. 'A Question about Supervenience and Value-Making Properties'. In W. Rabinowicz & T. Rönnow-Rasmussen (eds.). Patterns of Value: Essays on Formal Axiology and Value Analysis vol. 1. Lund Philosophy Reports, 2003: 130-37.
  3. 'Brentano on Pleasure'. Ibid: 138-43.
  4. 'Buck-Passing and the Consequentialism/Deontology Distinction'. In D. Egonsson, J. Josfesson, B. Petersson, & T. Rönnow-Rasmussen (eds.), Hommage a Wlodek: Philosophical Essays in Honour of Wlodek Rabinowicz. Lund University, 2007. 
  5. 'Mackie's Motivational Argument from Queerness Revisited'. In R. Sliwinski & F. Svensson (eds.), Neither/Nor: Philosophical Essays Dedicated to Erik Carlson on the Occasion of his Fiftieth Birthday. Uppsala Philosophical Studies 58, 2011.
  6. 'In Defence of Mooreanism'. In A. Garcia, M. Gunnemyr, and J. Werkmäster (eds.), Value, Morality, and Social Reality: Essays Dedicated to Dan Egonsson, Björn Petersson, and Toni Rönnow-Rasmussen. Lund University, 2023: 277-286. 

Publications in Swedish

  1. 'Om värdebärare och värdereduktion'. Filosofisk tidskrift 1/2002: 43-54.
  2. 'Partikularistisk konsekventialism' (med Frans Svensson). Filosofisk tidskrift 3/2004.
  3. 'Om moraliska övertygelsers styrka och emotivismens svaghet: Replik till Danielsson' (with Krister Bykvist). Filosofisk tidskrift 4/2010: 16-24.
  4. Review of Bo Sandelin, Adam Smith. Tidskrift för politisk filosofi 2011: 51-57. 
  5. 'Förnuft och känsla: Rationalism, sentimentalism och Humes metaetik'. In R. Callergård (ed.), Förnuft, känsla och moral: Perspektiv på David Hume. Stockholm: Thales, 2011.
  6. Review of Stefan Björklund, En anständig individualism: Adam Smith flankerad av Francis Hutcheson och David Hume. Filosofisk tidskrift 4/2014.
  7. Review of S. Eliaeson, P. Mindus, and S. P. Turner (eds.), Axel Hägerström and Modern Social Thought. Filosofisk tidskrift 1/2016.
  8. 'Bergström om normativa skäl'. Filosofisk tidskrift 2/2017.
  9. Review of Lena Halldenius, Mary Wollstonecraft, feminismen och frihetens förutsättningar. Filosofisk tidskrift 4/2017.
  10. 'Humes sentimentalism – inte non-kognitivism. Filosofisk tidskrift 3/2018.
  11. Review of Anders Hansson, Tre slags etiska teorier? Aristoteles, Kant och Sidgwick om vad vi har skäl att göra. Filosofisk tidskrift 1/2020.
  12. Review of Ingmar Persson, Out of the World: On the Point of Doing Philosophy. Forthcoming in Filosofisk tidskrift.



Redaktör för bokserien Library of Theoria sedan 2022


Public Media

Essay on David Hume, DN Kultur, 20 January 2020

Essay on Adam SmithFlamman #33, 2019. 

Reply on Hume and Spinoza, DN Kultur, 22 July 2016.

Reply on Nozick and Justice, SvD:s ledarblogg, 30 September 2014. 



If Nothing Matters: Normative Nihilism and Its Implications (with Victor Moberger and Niklas Olsson-Yaouzis). Three-year project commencing January 2020, funded by Vetenskapsrådet

'A Controversy Started of Late': Rationalism and Sentimentalism in 18th Century Metaethics. Three-year project commencing January 2014, funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation.