Professor Michael Beaney

Professor Michael Beaney

Regius Chair of Logic

Professor Michael Beaney
Professor Michael Beaney

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272388
The University of Aberdeen 50-52 College Bounds, Room CB405
Mailing address:
University of Aberdeen
School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
50-52 College Bounds
AB24 3UB


I came to Aberdeen as Regius Professor of Logic in June 2020, a post that I hold jointly with a half-time position as Professor of History of Analytic Philosophy at the Humboldt University in Berlin (2016–). Before moving to Aberdeen, I was Professor of Philosophy at King's College London (2016–20, part-time), and before that Reader (2005–09) and then Professor of Philosophy (2009–15) at the University of York. I have also worked at the Open University (2000–05), University of Manchester (1998–99), University of Leeds (1992–98), Birkbeck College London (1990–92) and University of Sheffield (1986–88).

In Germany I have held Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowships at the University of Jena (2006–07) and University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (1999–2000).

I have been visiting China regularly since 2011, when I was Visiting Professor at Peking University (Winter Semester). I have taught short courses at Beijing Normal University (2013, 2014), Renmin University (2017), and Capital Normal University, Beijing (2018), and am currently Visiting Chair Professor at Tsinghua University. Since 2016 I have been Chair of the British Committee of the Summer School in China Programme (established 1988), which is organized in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of the Social Sciences.

I originally studied PPE as an undergraduate (1978–81) at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, where I did my B.Phil. (1985) and D.Phil. (1990) in Philosophy. I also have an MA from the University of Keele (1983).

Memberships and Affiliations


I am Editor of the British Journal for the History of Philosophy (BJHP), and served on the Management Committee of the British Society for the History of Philosophy (BSHP) from 1995 to 2020. I am on the Editorial Board of Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies and on the Advisory Boards of the Journal of Chinese Philosophy and the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy.

I am General Editor of a book series on the history of analytic philosophy published by Palgrave Macmillan (30+ volumes) and Co-Editor (with Rosa Antognazza and Mogens Laerke) of a new book series entitled 'New Texts in the History of Philosophy' published by Oxford University Press.

I have been a member of the AHRC Peer Review College since 2010 and am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


Research Overview

  • History of analytic philosophy, especially the work of Frege, Wittgenstein, Stebbing, Collingwood
  • Chinese philosophy, focusing on ancient Chinese philosophy of language and logic and Chinese analytic philosophy
  • Philosophical methodology, with particular reference to analysis and creativity throughout the history of philosophy
  • Historiography of philosophy, especially analytic historiography, Chinese historiography 
  • Comparative philosophy, focusing on Chinese–Western comparisons and the philosophy of comparison
  • Philosophical translation, especially German-English and English-Chinese

I welcome applications from students wishing to work in any of these areas.

Current Research

I am currently preparing a new translation into English of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus to appear next year (2021) in the Oxford World's Classics (published by Oxford University Press).


Teaching Responsibilities

Ancient Chinese Philosophy

Courses that I have taught over the last decade include introductory courses on Chinese Philosophy and History of Analytic Philosophy, and higher-level courses on Analogy and Metaphor in Philosophy, Ancient Chinese Philosophy of Language and Logic, Arguments in Ancient Chinese Philosophy, Creativity, Foundations of Mathematics, Frege, Paradoxes, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Museums, Philosophical Historiography, Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Anthropology, Wittgenstein's On Certainty, and Wittgenstein's Tractatus.



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  • Frege’s Logicism and the Significance of Interpretive Analysis

    Beaney, M.

    Tsinghua Studies in Western Philosophy, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 124-144

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Developments and Debates in the Historiography of Philosophy

    Beaney, M. A.

    The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945–2015. Becker, K., Thomson, I. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, pp. 725-758, 34 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

  • A Brief History of English Translations of Frege's Writings

    Beaney, M.

    Essays on Frege’s Basic Laws of Arithmetic. Ebert, P. A., Rossberg, M. (eds.). Oxford University Press, pp. 582-602, 21 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

  • Translating ‘Bedeutung’ in Frege’s Writings: A Case Study and Cautionary Tale in the History and Philosophy of Translation

    Beaney, M.

    Essays on Frege’s Basic Laws of Arithmetic. Ebert, P. A., Rossberg, M. (eds.). Oxford University Press, pp. 588-636, 49 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

  • First Steps and Conceptual Creativity

    Beaney, M.

    Wittgenstein on Philosophy, Objectivity, and Meaning. Conant, J., Sunday Grève, S. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, pp. 119–142, 23 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

  • L. Susan Stebbing

    Beaney, M., Chapman, S.

    Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy. Oxford University Press

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)

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