DPhil candidate, University of Oxford

Michael Plant is a PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of Oxford. His primary project is researching how to maximise world happiness.

Michael works on theoretical questions such as "what ultimately makes someone's life go well?, "what is happiness?", "can happiness be measured?" and "how do we trade-off future people against current people?" This is because he wants to know the answers to the practical questions "how can individuals make themselves and others as happy as possible?" and "what should governments do if they wanted to take well-being seriously?"

Recently, Michael has featured on BBC1's The Big Questions, BBC Radio Oxford and the University of Oxford's "How to live a happy life" series. He's written for the New Statesman and the Huffington post. He gives talks whenever anyone will let him. Sometimes these are in fields (Wilderness Festival). Sometimes he's lucky enough to be allowed indoors too (Eton College, Oxford Brookes, University of Oxford).

He used to work as a Parliamentary Researcher for Sir Michael Fallon MP, where he once wrote a speech on shipping policy with some really good puns. Sadly, they've all sunk without trace.

Michael is also developing a happiness tracker and trainer app, Hippo (, which he grandly describes as "the FitBit for the mind". He definitely thinks you should download it; unless you don't want to be happier. Which is totally fine with him.

Michael finds writing in the third person odd.


  • –present
    DPhil candidate in philosophy researching happiness, University of Oxford


  • 2015 
    London School of Economics, Philosophy