He studied philosophy at the University of Helsinki and started focusing on medical and healthcare ethics during his postgraduate years.
In 2004-2013, he was Professor of Bioethics and Philosophy of Law at the University of Manchester in England, and before that he held professorships in philosophy and moral philosophy at the universities of Central Lancashire and Kuopio. Häyry’s main fields of interest have been moral and political philosophy and philosophical bioethics. His practical topics in bioethics have ranged from abortion, euthanasia, and resource allocation to genetics, systems biology, and synthetic biology.
Theoretically, his work has centred on the main normative doctrines of European moral and political philosophy.
In an endeavour to express ethical ideas in an artistic format, Häyry produced in 2013 – with Tuija Takala, Corky Laing, and Lasse Väyrynen – a concept album on the ethics of genetics. Playing God – Corky Laing and the Perfct Child Perform Original Music from Test: the Rock Opera (Gonzo Multimedia 2013).
Häyry is a founding member of the International Association of Bioethics and he served on its Board of Directors during 2001-2009, in 2007-2009 as the Association’s President.
Married Tuija Takala, January 28, 1999.