The department is active in various research areas related to three broadly construed disciplinary clusters: epistemology (Jesper Kallestrup, Fed Luzzi, Luca Moretti), history of philosophy (Mike Beaney, Mike Laffin, Beth Lord, Ed Thornton), and metaphysics and philosophy of science (Vikki Entwistle, Ulrich Stegmann, Paula Sweeney, Stephan Torre). The department hosts the new Centre for Knowledge and Society, which brings together scholars from different disciplines. The aim of the Centre is to investigate and address societal challenges by using a wide range of philosophical resources. Click on the tabs below to find out more about areas of research in Philosophy.
- Philosophy in Aberdeen
The Philosophy department offers research supervision to PhD and research MLitt students across a wide range of areas, reflecting the research interests of our staff. All research students are assigned a supervisor; joint supervision may be suitable in some cases. We also offer a PhD by Distance Learning which is suitable for students who cannot come to campus regularly. A regular Departmental Research Seminar also hosts visiting speakers and members of the department presenting work in progress.
We are interested in hearing from students wishing to undertake postgraduate level work in Philosophy at the MLitt or doctoral level. Please contact one of the supervisors below if you are thinking about applying for a PhD in their subject area.
Professor Michael Beaney: Supervision is offered in the history of analytic philosophy, particularly the thought of Frege, Wittgenstein, Stebbing, and Collingwood. He also has interests in creativity, historiography, and Chinese philosophy of language and logic.
Professor Vikki Entwistle: Supervision is offered in ethics, philosophy of medicine and interdisciplinary projects in philosophy and public health. Professor Entwhistle is an interdisciplinary scholar combining philosophy with social research to understand and address challenges in public health and healthcare provision in relation to human well being and social justice.
Dr Gerry Hough: Supervision is offered in philosophy of language, including opaque contexts, substitutivity, and the semantics of belief reports.
Professor Jesper Kallestrup: Supervision is offered in epistemology, philosophy of mind and philosophical methodology. Recent research interests include topics in social epistemology such as testimony, trust and group knowledge, and the metaphysics of mind and knowledge such as extended knowledge and cognitive integration.
Dr Michael Laffin: Supervision is offered in history of ethics and the Western tradition of political philosophy. Christian political philosophy is a particular interest, especially the political thought of Augustine and the Reformation era.
Professor Beth Lord: Supervision is offered in History of Philosophy. Dr Lord's research focuses on Spinoza and Kant, with particular emphasis on themes in Spinoza’s metaphysics and political philosophy. Supervision is also offered in subjects relating to 18th-21st century continental philosophy, including continental interpretations of historical texts and interdisciplinary projects.
Dr Federico Luzzi: Supervision is offered in epistemology broadly construed--with particular emphasis on knowledge from non-knowledge--epistemic injustice, and gender equality in sports.
Dr Luca Moretti: Supervision is offered in epistemology, including the epistemology of perception broadly construed (basic knowledge, disjunctivism, immediate justification, cognitive penetrability, hinge epistemology), the epistemology of inference (transmission and failure of transmission of justification, closure and counter-closure), the epistemology of testimony, the epistemology of education, and Bayesian epistemology and its application to scepticism.
Dr Ulrich Stegmann: Supervision is offered in general philosophy of science (e.g. models, visual representations, causation, explanation, experimentation) and the history and philosophy of the life sciences (including neuroscience and biomedicine).
Dr Paula Sweeney: Supervision is offered in philosophy of language, including relativism, contextualism, vagueness, and their connections with indexicality.
Dr Stephan Torre: Supervision is offered in the metaphysics of time, tense, self-locating content, modality, and persistence through time.
- PGR Students
Some current (and graduated) students and their projects from the University of Aberdeen include:
- Casper Storm Hansen, Constructivism without Verificationism
- Giacomo Melis, The Epistemic Defeat of A Priori and Empirical Certainties: A Comparison
- Balint Kekedi, Descartes, the Sheep, and the Wolf: A Study in the Autonomy of Cartesian Automata
- Élaina Gauthier-Mamaril, Spinoza and shared decision-making: From the theory of collective action to patient participation policy in mental health services
- Matthew Angevin, Thinking emancipation through autonomy with Spinoza and Simondon
- Kevin Merrick Olivier, Virtue Epistemology and Knowledge from Non-Knowledge: An investigation into whether knowledge may be inferred from non-knowledge within the various virtue epistemic frameworks
- Jonah Haddad, Wagering on Knowledge: Epistemic Limitations and Possible Uses of Wager Arguments in Knowing Reality
- Peter Hartl, The taming of religion: Hume's sceptical theism and his criticism of vulgar religion in context
- Andreas Fjellstad, Transparency, Transitivity or Reflexivity
- Christos Georgakakis, Cognitive Penetration of Perception and the Problem for Justification
Former student placements include:
- Federico Luzzi, Graduated 2010
Current position: University of Aberdeen, Senior Lecturer
- Tyler Atkinson, Graduated 2013
Current position: Bethany College-Lindsborg, Tenure-Track
- Casper Storm Hansen, Graduated 2014
Current position: Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Postdoc
- Filippo Ferrari, Graduated 2014
Current position: University of Bonn, Fellowship/Postdoc
- Giacomo Melis, Graduated 2015
Current position: University of Stirling, Fellowship/Postdoc
Andreas Fjellstad, Graduated 2016
Current position: University of Bergen, Fellowship/Postdoc
Christopher Thomas, Graduated 2017
Current position: Manchester Metropolitan University, 2018 temporary lecturer
Peter Hartl, Graduated 2019
Current position: Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Research Fellow
The following are some selected publications relating to Philosophy by staff at the University of Aberdeen:
'Disagreement in the Political Philosophy of Spinoza and Ranciere'. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol 117, no. 1, pp. 61-80.
'A Sudden Surprise of the Soul’: Wonder in Museums and Early Modern Philosophy'. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, vol 79, pp. 95-116.
'The Concept of Equality in Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise'. Epoche: a Journal for the History of Philosophy, vol 20, no. 2, pp. 367-386.
'The free man and the free market: Ethics, politics, and economics in Spinoza’s Ethics IV', in Y Melamed (ed.), Spinoza's Ethics : A Critical Guide. Cambridge Critical Guides, Cambridge University Press.
Kant and Spinozism: Transcendental Idealism and Immanence from Jacobi to Deleuze. Renewing Philosophy, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
'Testimonial Injustice Without Credibility Deficit (or Excess)'. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, vol 5, no. 3, pp. 203-211.
'What Does Knowledge-Yielding Deduction Require of Its Premises?'. Episteme, vol 11, no. 03, pp. 261-275.
'Contextualism and Counter-Closure'. Dialectica, vol 66, no. 1, pp. 187-199.
'Interest-Relative Invariantism and Knowledge from Ignorance'. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, vol 93, no. 1, pp. 31-42.
'Counter-closure'. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol 88, no. 4, pp. 673-683.
Marabini, Alessia and Luca Moretti. “Assessing concept possession as an explicit and social practice”. Journal of Philosophy of Education 51(4): 801-816.
Phenomenal conservatism and the problem of reflective awareness”. American Philosophical Quarterly 55(3): 267-280.
"Evidence of expert’s evidence is evidence". Episteme, 13(2), pp. 209-218.
"Phenomenal conservatism". Analysis 75(2), pp. 296-309.
"In defence of dogmatism". Philosophical Studies 172(1), pp. 261-282.
'In Defense of De Se Content'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, pp. 1-18.
'Restricted Diachronic Composition and Special Relativity'. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, vol 66, no. 2, pp. 235-255.
'The Open Future'. Philosophy Compass, vol 6, no. 5, pp. 360–373.
'Tense, timely action and self-ascription'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol 80, no. 1, pp. 112-132.
Garcia-Carpintero, M. & Torre, S. (eds) (2016). About Oneself: De Se Thought and Communication. Oxford University Press.
Animal Communication Theory: Information and Influence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
'Genetic coding' reconsidered: an analysis of actual usage. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 67: 707-730.
'On the "transmission sense of information"', Biology and Philosophy, 28 (1): 141-144.
'Causal control and genetic causation', Noûs, 48 (3): 450-465.
'The arbitrariness of the genetic code', Biology and Philosophy, 19: 205-222.
'Anti-Substitution Intuitions and the Content of Belief Reports'. Acta Analytica.
'A dilemma for Sinnott-Armstrong's moderate pyrrhonian moral scepticism'. The Philosophical Quarterly, vol 58, no. 232, pp. 457-462.
'No-Proposition View of Vagueness'. Grazer Philosophische Studien, vol 93, no. 2, pp. 179-195.
'The Role of the Sentence-Tokened'. Grazer Philosophische Studien, vol 93, no. 3, pp. 419-428.
'Future contingents, indeterminacy and context'. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, vol 96, no. 3, pp. 408-422.
'Contextualism and the principle of tolerance'. Grazer Philosophische Studien, vol 90, pp. 289-306.
Sweeney, P. & Zardini, E. (2011). Vagueness and Practical Interest. in P Égré & N Klinedinst (eds), Vagueness and Language Use. Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language and Cognition, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, UK, pp. 249-282.
- The Promise of Martin Luther's Political Theology: Freeing Luther from the Modern Political Narrative. T&T Clark Enquiries in Theological Ethics, Bloomsbury T&T Clark, London and New York.
- Visiting Academics
The Philosophy department hosts research fellowships for Polish academics, funded by the W Bednarowski Trust. The W Bednarowski Trust, based in Aberdeen, was set up in 1999 to enable Polish academics, either lecturers or postdoctoral researchers, to take up six-week research fellowships at the University of Aberdeen and other Scottish universities, so that they can use library facilities and have useful conversations with academics in Scotland. The areas of research cover the various branches of philosophy and cognate subjects, and the fellowships are open to academics in Philosophy Institutes and cognate areas. Travel, accommodation, and a weekly stipend are covered by the Trust for successful applicants. Applications are usually invited in the spring. To see further details, go to the Bednarowski Trust website: http://www.bednarowskitrust.org/
Some helpful links for further information and resources in Philosophy include:
- Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
- Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Scottish Philosophical Association
- British Philosophical Association
- British Society for the History of Philosophy
- European Society for Analytic Philosophy
- Society for European Philosophy
- American Philosophical Association
- Australasian Philosophical Association