Owen C. King

NEWEL Postdoctoral Researcher
in Ethics, Well-Being, and Data Science
Department of Philosophy
University of Twente
The Netherlands

e-mail: owen[at]owencking.net
e-mail: o.c.king[at]utwente.nl

Photo of Owen


I research, write, and teach philosophy, especially ethics. I received my PhD from the Department of Philosophy at The Ohio State University in 2016, while I was a visiting member of the teaching faculty of Oberlin College. Since 2017, I am a postdoc at the University of Twente, in the Netherlands.


Work on well-being and what is good for a person

My dissertation, supervised by Justin D'Arms, was called Three Kinds of Goodness for a Person. My primary research focuses on kinds of value, like well-being, that relate to individual persons and their lives. A central aim of my work is to advance a pluralistic understanding of what is good for a person.

Work on computing and data ethics

The second strand of my research is practical ethics, especially computing and data ethics. I am currently working on several papers arguing for ethical constraints on the training of machine learning systems. My focus is on systems designed to predict the mental states (intentions, desires, beliefs) of individuals.


I am committed to extending philosophical thought and methods across disciplinary boundaries and making philosophy more accessible for all. In 2013-2014, I conceived and created Ohio State University's new course on Computing Ethics, and I was honored for excellent teaching. I spent the subsequent three years teaching philosophy to the highly engaged students of Oberlin College.

Something to read

Do you ever feel like the software you use is doing a lot of things that aren't necessarily in your best interest? If so, you may be encountering software antifeatures. At a personal level, antifeatures have perturbed me for many years. More importantly, they raise some serious ethical questions that software developers must confront. I've written an introduction to some of the issues, available here: "Is It a Feature? Is it a Bug? No, It’s an Antifeature."

If this piques your interest, I'd be interested to hear. Email me!

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