Author of Evil Online and host of the podcast The Moral Fog.

I am an Australian philosopher and independent researcher. I resigned from tenured academic life in 2008 when working as Senior Research Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra. I then taught philosophy to the military, ethics to police, and undertook some varied consultancy work, such as in youth work and medical ethics.

Up until the past decade my main research interests have been the nature of friendship, the self and morality. (see publications below)

My new book Evil Online (with Jeroen van den Hoven) develops an account of the darker sides of life online, and a new theory of evildoing we call ‘the moral fog’. In particular, we aim to shed some light on how normal, even good people, can become evildoers. We also develop some fresh approaches to understanding individual moral character, the pro-social life more generally, and to how all of this is both shaped by, and needs to inform, the design of our social worlds.

I pursue these and other issues in the podcast The Moral Fog soon to feature on this site.


Select Publications

Evil Online, Dean Cocking and Jeroen van den Hoven, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2018.

‘Aristotle, Friendship and Virtue’, in Revue Internationale de Philosophie, Societe Belge de Philosophie, 2014.

‘Friendship’, International Encyclopaedia of Ethics, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.

‘Friendship Online’, Guest Editor, Special edition, Ethics and Information Technology, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2012.

‘Plural Selves and Relational Identity: Privacy and Intimacy Online’, in J. Weckert and Jeroen van den Hoven (eds.) Moral Philosophy and Information Technology, (Cambridge University Press, U.S.) 2007.

‘Professional Norms’, in Justin O’Brien (ed.) Private Equity, Corporate Governance and the Dynamics of Capital Market Regulation, (Imperial College Press, U.K.) 2007.

‘Counsellor-Client Relationships and Professional Role Morality’, Dean Cocking and Kylie Williams, in J. Kleinig and R. Einstien, (eds.) Ethical Issues in Substance Abuse, (Office of International Criminal Justice Press, U.S.) 2006.

‘Consequentialism, Complacency and Slippery Slopes’, Justin Oakley and Dean Cocking, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, Springer, vol. 26, July, 2005.

Virtue Ethics and Professional Roles, Justin Oakley and Dean Cocking, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, October, 2001.

‘Friendship and Moral Danger’, Dean Cocking and Jeanette Kennett, The Journal of Philosophy, Volume XCV11, Number 5, May 2000.

‘Unreal Friends’, Dean Cocking and Steve Matthews, Ethics and Information Technology, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Vol. 2, No.4, 2000.

‘Friendship and the Self’, Dean Cocking and Jeanette Kennett, Ethics 108, no. 3, April 1998, pp. 502-527.

‘Indirect Consequentialism, Friendship, and the Problem of Alienation’, Dean Cocking and Justin Oakley, Ethics 106, no. 1, October 1995, pp. 86-111.


I have also published academic articles on the nature and significance of intention and did my PhD thesis Intending Evil and Using People (1996) on the topic.


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