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Johannes Himmelreich

Johannes Himmelreich

Contact Information:


510 Eggers Hall

Johannes Himmelreich

Assistant Professor, Public Administration and International Affairs Department

Senior Research Associate, Autonomous Systems Policy Institute

Senior Research Associate, Campbell Public Affairs Institute


PAI 700 Ethics of Emerging Technology
PAI 730 Ethics for Data Science

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., London School of Economics, 2016 


Johannes Himmelreich joins the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs in the Maxwell School as a tenure-track assistant professor in fall 2019. At Syracuse University, Himmelreich will be teaching classes in ethics and human values, including ethics of data science and emerging technologies. 

Prior to joining Syracuse University, Himmelreich was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University from 2017-19. Prior to Stanford, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin from 2015-17, teaching classes on ethics and political philosophy.

Himmelreich’s research focuses on the ethics of autonomous systems, such as drones, self-driving cars or artificial intelligence. He has published papers on “Responsibility for Killer Robots,” on the trolley problem and the ethics of self-driving cars, as well as on embodiment in virtual reality. Beyond this interest in ethics and technology, Himmelreich has also published on the commodification of asylum-provision services as well as on the foundations and nature of moral responsibility and blame. He argues that corporations, states and autonomous systems are agents that can be morally responsible for their actions. 

His work has been supported by the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100), the AI in Medicine initiative at the Presence Center of Stanford Medical School, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA).

Himmelreich earned a Ph.D. in philosophy in 2016 and a M.Sc. (with distinction) in philosophy and public policy in 2011 at the London School of Economics, and a B.A. (with honors) in 2010 in philosophy and economics from Bayreuth University. 


Applied ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of public policy, ethics of artificial intelligence, autonomous systems


Young, Matthew M, Johannes Himmelreich, Justin B Bullock, and Kyoung-Cheol Kim. 2021. “Artificial Intelligence and Administrative Evil.” Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, no. gvab006 (April).

Himmelreich, Johannes. 2020. “Ethics of Technology Needs More Political Philosophy.” Communications of the ACM 63 (1): 33–35.

Himmelreich, Johannes. 2019. “Responsibility for Killer Robots.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (3): 731–47.

Himmelreich, Johannes. 2018. “Never Mind the Trolley: The Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles in Mundane Situations.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3): 669–84.