Dr Lauren Ware

Lecturer in Philosophy


Dr Lauren Ware was as previously a lecturer at the University of Stirling, and a postdoctoral research fellow in philosophy of law at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. She has held visiting fellowships at the University of Bielefeld and the Tilburg Centre for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science. Her primary work is in the philosophy of emotion. 

Public engagement is an important part of Lauren’s philosophical activity, and she invites collaboration wherever possible. As an RSA Fellow, Lauren is currently working on the Universal Basic Income Project, and examining the nature and value of suffering in criminal punishment as part of the New Futures Network, a topic on which wrote and performed a show, The Pain Factory, at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Research interests

Lauren's research investigates the role of emotions in political and legal decision-making, in the evaluation of risk and security, in social cognition and creativity, and in teaching and learning. She also maintains a fierce love for several figures in the history of philosophy: in particular Plato, Machiavelli, Nietzsche, and Simone de Beauvoir.  

Lauren is supervising dissertations on political anger, the aesthetics of love and technology in Black Mirror, and emotional engagement in Aristotle. She welcomes enquiries from students considering writing a dissertation related to her areas of research


Lauren teaches political emotions, philosophical reading and writing, and feminist philosophy.



  • Ware, L. and Archer, A. (2018). Beyond the Call of Beauty: Everyday Aesthetic Demands Under Patriarchy. The Monist [Online] 101:114-127. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/monist/onx029.
    This paper defends two claims. First, we will argue for the existence of aesthetic demands in the realm of everyday aesthetics, and that these demands are not reducible to moral demands. Second, we will argue that we must recognise the limits of these demands in order to combat a widespread form of gendered oppression. The concept of aesthetic supererogation offers a new structural framework to understand both the pernicious nature of this oppression and what may be done to mitigate it.
  • Archer, A. and Ware, L. (2017). Aesthetic Supererogation. Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics LIV/X:102-116.
    A number of moral philosophers have accepted the need to make room for acts of supererogation, those that go beyond the call of duty. In this paper, we argue that there is also good reason to make room for acts of aesthetic supererogation.
  • Ware, L. (2015). Erotic Virtue. Res Philosophica [Online] 92:915-935. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.11612/ resphil.2015.92.4.7.
    This paper defends an account of how erotic love works to develop virtue. It is argued that love drives moral development by holding the creation of virtue in the individual as the emotion’s intentional object. After analyzing the distinction between passive and active ac- counts of the object of love, this paper demonstrates that a Platonic virtue-ethical understanding of erotic love—far from being consumed with ascetic contemplation—offers a positive treatment of emotion’s role in the attainment and social practice of virtue.
  • Ware, L. (2014). What Good is Love? Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis 34:57-73.
    The role of emotions in mental life is the subject of longstanding controversy, spanning the history of ethics, moral psychology, and educational theory. This paper defends an account of love’s cognitive power. My starting point is Plato’s dialogue, the Symposium, in which we find the surprising claim that love aims at engendering moral virtue. I argue that this understanding affords love a crucial place in educational curricula, as engaging the emotions can motivate both cognitive achievement and moral development. I first outline the state of the challenge between dominant rival theories regarding emotions in learning. Next, I demonstrate how Platonic virtue ethics offers the most tenable prospect for an education of reason and emotion. Third, I sketch three practical ways educators might constructively engage emotions in the classroom. I conclude that love’s virtue is its peerless power to motivate the creative and lateral thinking which leads to moral development.

Book section

  • Ware, L. (2016). Emotions in the Evaluation of Legal Risk. in: Landweer, H. and Koppelberg, D. eds. Law and Emotion - (Recht und Emotion I: Verkannte Zusammenhänge). Freiburg: Verlag Karl Alber, pp. 249-277.
    The risks taken into account in legal decision-mak- ing are, often, matters of life and death, but the way we think about risk is flawed. This is a problem. The dominant account of how emotions are involved in risky decision-making follows the standard probabilistic account of risk. If we entertain a modal ac- count of risk, however, this changes the way in which a host of legal actors—members of the jury, judges, defendants, lawyers, legislators, regulators, and police—ought to think about how emotions impact risk evaluation. In what follows, I examine what taking a modal account of risk would mean for the way we under- stand emotions in the evaluation of legal risk: specifically, the risk of wrongful conviction.

    The present chapter draws on contemporary research in the epistemology of risk to examine how emotions can influence the evaluation of legal risk. I first review a distinction between two understandings of risk—the probabilistic account and the modal account—and demonstrate how the probabilistic account is in- complete. Next, I highlight how emotion can be seen to mediate decision-making in a series of empirical studies on the assessment of gruesome photographic evidence. I then analyse the standard accounts of how emotions play a role in risk assessment, which build upon a probabilistic account of risk. A modal account of risk and emotion is then offered, demonstrating the ways in which emotions can contribute to the evaluation of risk understood modally. Finally, I consider what legal practices and structures need to be refined or abandoned in order to facilitate the condi- tions most conducive to harnessing the evaluative power of emo- tions in legal decision-making.


  • Ware, L. (2017). The Pain Factory. [Live performance].
    A 60-minute show written and performed by Lauren Ware.
    Venue: New Town Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
    Date: Monday, 7th August 2017.
    Description: Two people are imprisoned for identical crimes. One finds prison life merely unpleasant, the other lives in constant fear adn distress. Have they been punished equally? Drawing on the philosophy of emotion and the impact of imprisonment on offenders and their families, this interactive show asks the audience to consider if punishment must hurt, who can be made to suffer, and why.
  • Ware, L. (2017). Interview on the Philosophy of Fear and Halloween. [iTunes]. Available at: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/episode-9-halloween-2017-lauren-ware-on-fear-rationality/id1227432045?i=1000394256425&mt=2.
    On this episode of The Owl, Lauren Ware (University of Kent) sits down with host Ian Olasov to talk about how fear and other emotions shape our understanding of risk, about what fear is and when it's rational, and about why Halloween is a thing.


  • Ware, L. (2020). Criminal behaviour in Black Mirror: Should pain be used as punishment? in: Johnson, D. K. ed. Black Mirror and Philosophy. London: Blackwell.
    The Hunters in White Bear Justice Park “like scaring people.” In “White Christmas”, Joe Potter’s 3 million years of torture was deemed enough for “a proper sentence”. And in the three stories of the “Black Museum” episode, we learn how creative we can get when it comes to imagining ways to cause pain, effectively and efficiently. This chapter takes a close look at the three punishment episodes of Netflix’s Black Mirror. Is emotional suffering an appropriate aim of criminal punishment? Should the public, as spectators of suffering, enjoy it? What is “closure”--is it justified? Is it a myth? What about the emotional effect of punishment on third parties, specifically the partners and children of prisoners--who can be made to suffer?
  • Ware, L. and Whittington, L. (2019). 'The harvest of despair': Catastrophic fear and the understanding of risk in the shadow of Mount Etna. in: Gerrard, C. ed. Waiting for the End of the World: The Archaeology of Risk and its Perception in the Middle Ages. London: Routledge.
    In this chapter, we offer an account of fear and risk in anticipation of catastrophe. We draw on the narrative response to the Mount Enta volcano in medieval Sicily to frame an evaluation of how fear can be seen to impact the understanding of risk when the event of that risk is the catastrophic suffering of an entire community. We aim to demonstrate how an exploration of the philosophical questions surrounding the emotion of fear and the understanding of risk can contribute to broader, interdisciplinary dialogue on the experience of the disastrous and deadly.
  • Ware, L. ed. (2019). The Moral Psychology of Fear. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Ware, L. (2019). Is Fear the Mind-Killer? in: Ware, L. ed. The Moral Psychology of Fear. Rowman & Littlefield.
    A critical introduction to the philosophy, cognitive science, and moral psychology of fear.
  • Ware, L. (2019). Emotional Suffering in Criminal Punishment. in: Bain, D., Brady, M. and Corns, J. eds. The Philosophy of Suffering. London: Routledge.
    Suffering is a central component of our lives. Our bodies break and become diseased. Our feelings get hurt, loved ones die, our goals are frustrated, our expectations are not met. It is a commonplace to think that suffering is, all and everywhere, bad. But might suffering also be good? If so, in what ways might suffering have positive, as well as negative, value? The papers collected for the this volume are original works by experts in a variety of disciplines that address questions about the nature and value of suffering, its relation to other mental states and capacities, and to vital questions in ethics, theology, and aesthetic. This chapter examines the nature and value of emotions suffering in criminal punishment: what is emotional suffering, and can it be justified as as a form of legal punishment?
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