Centre for Knowledge and Society



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Centre for Knowledge and Society

We live in societies that face numerous complex challenges, such as widening wealth and income gaps, limited understandings of differences between cultures, erosion of social cohesion, growing demands on health care systems, deficiencies in education, increasing human movement across the globe, unsustainable development, and climate change. The Centre for Knowledge and Society (CEKAS) aims to improve understanding of important societal challenges and to help develop, evaluate and recommend interventions that can make a positive difference. We use a range of approaches from across the sub-disciplines of theoretical and practical philosophy, and we often work in collaboration with specialists from other disciplines and with non-academic stakeholders.

Our dynamic research portfolio reflects the interests of our core philosophy team and aligns particularly well with two of the University’s broad interdisciplinary challenges: ‘Social inclusion and cultural diversity’ and ‘Health, nutrition and wellbeing’.

CEKAS provides a range of opportunities to meet and exchange ideas, especially at the intersects of philosophy and other academic disciplines and areas of social policy and practice. These include seminars, workshops and book discussion groups. Centre staff also contribute to teaching on philosophy and society at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and offer MLitt and PhD supervision, including in flexible interdisciplinary combinations. 

For enquiries about CEKAS, please contact Professor Vikki Entwistle.




The core CEKAS team are listed here with some of their relevant interests. Please see individual webpages for more information. 

Michael Beaney – (Philosophy) Chinese philosophy, comparative philosophy, history of analytic philosophy, philosophical methodology
Eilidh Beaton – (Philosophy) Topics in moral and political philosophy, particularly justice in migration and asylum
Vikki Entwistle (Institute of Applied Health Sciences and Philosophy) CEKAS Director) – Interdisciplinary ethics, health care, death care, service quality and improvement
Jasper Kallestrup – (Philosophy) Epistemology, philosophy of mind, trust, extended cognition, digital knowledge, collective knowledge
Beth Lord – (Philosophy) Political philosophy and its history, Spinoza and moral equality
Federico Luzzi – (Philosophy) Epistemic injustice, ambition, sex/gender inclusion in sport
Stephan Torre – (Philosophy) First person thought, philosophy of time
Ulrich Stegmann – Philosophy of biology, use of metaphors and visualisations in public understanding of science, meditation and self-cultivation 
Paula Sweeney – Philosophy of artificial intelligence, social robots




At any one time, CEKAS staff are involved in a range of research activities of variable scope and scale, and at different stages of completion. We present a selection of current and recent projects here, with links to project-specific webpages where available.  

Digital knowledge: a new framework for digital epistemic virtues
This AHRC funded project is developing epistemological theorising in order to deepen our understanding of how we can better seek information and conduct inquiries in a digital world. The project includes a series of conferences and workshops, including with policy makers and educationalists. 
The project is a collaboration between the University of Glasgow and the University of Aberdeen. CEKAS core member Professor Jasper Kallestrup is a co-investigator and Dr Joshua Thorpe is employed on the project as a postdoctoral research fellow. 

But why is that better? An investigation of what applied philosophy and ethics can bring to quality improvement work in healthcare
This Wellcome Trust funded project uses the tools of applied philosophy to elucidate and address the conceptual, ethical and practical challenges faced by quality improvement practitioners and researchers in healthcare contexts. It is opening up an agenda for ‘improvement ethics’. The project is a collaboration between King’s College London and the University of Aberdeen. CEKAS core member Professor Vikki Entwistle is a co-investigator. 

Inclusion in sport
Federico Luzzi and Sone Erikainen (Sociology) are collaborating on a project on sex/gender inclusion in sport. As part of this project, they have secured internal funding for a closed workshop in July 2024 with LEAP Sport Scotland, Pride Sports, and Four Pillars on ‘Sex/Gender Equality in Sport’. This will also support the development of larger research grant applications to tackle questions to do with LGBTQI+ inclusion in sport, the purpose of sport and how to maximise participation in sport. 


To be confirmed.

CEKAS Book discussion groups

Ontology and Oppression: Race, Gender and Social Reality
by Katharine Jenkins

(academic year 2023-2024, session 1). Convened by Vikki Entwistle. Included a discussion with the author.  

Epiphanies: An Ethics of Experience
By Sophie-Grace Chappell    

(academic year 2022-23, session 2). Convened by Vikki Entwistle. Included a discussion with the author. 

Feminist Theory
By bell hooks

(academic year 2021-22, session 2). Convened by Beth Lord. 

Material Girls
By Kathleen Stock

(academic year 2021-22, session 1). Convened by Beth Lord. 


Seminars and Workshops 2024

Ambition, Social Recognition and Prestige Workshop
(Organised with funding from Scots Philosophical Association and Society for Applied Philosophy)
Speakers: Alfred Archer (University of Tilburg); Catherine Robb (University of Tilburg); Federico Luzzi (University of Aberdeen); Glen Pettigrove (University of Glasgow); Jules Holroyd (University of Sheffield). 
27 June 2024, Sir Duncan Rice Library 

Digital Knowledge Workshop II
(Organised as part of the AHRC funded Digital Knowledge project)
Speakers: Daniel Munro (University of York); Eva Schmidt (Technical University Dortmund), Angela O’Sullivan; Edoardo Casavin (University of Aberdeen)
9 May 2024, 50-52 College Bounds

Why and how should we respect the dead? 
(A public discussion event in partnership with The Royal Institute of Philosophy)
Speakers: Rebecca Crozier (archaeology, University of Aberdeen), Stephen Holland (philosophy, University of York), Simon Parson (anatomy, University of Aberdeen), Mark Shaw (Mark Shaw Funerals). 
3 May 2024, Aberdeen Art Gallery

Racist statues, taxpayer money and worse than worthless things
(Seminar organised as part of Philosophy-CEKAS External Speaker Series, funded by the Scottish Philosophical Association)
Speaker: Ten-Herng Lai (paper co-authored with Rowan Cruft)
24 April 2024, 50-52 College Bounds

Philosophy of Avatars Workshop
(Organised with internal funding  as part of research grant development work)
Speakers: Michael Cholbi (University of Edinburgh); Guo Freeman (Clemson University); Anna Puzio (University of Twente); Kamil Mamak (University of Helsinki); Alex Fisher (University of Cambridge); Adrienne de Ruiter (University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht); Daniel Story [online] (Cal Poly), Paula Sweeney (philosophy, University of Aberdeen). 
2 March 2024, Sir Duncan Rice Library 

With or without you (U2) – still alone on Valentine’s day
(Seminar organised as part of Philosophy-CEKAS External Speaker Series)
Speaker: Malgorzata Walejko, University of Szczecin