The Department of Philosophy has been growing rapidly since its re-foundation in late 2009. It co-hosts the interdisciplinary Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHPSTM), together with Aberdeen’s History of Science, Technology and Medicine Group. CHPSTM is dedicated to research and teaching in the philosophy, history, and ethics of science. The centre hosts research projects funded by the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the Marie Curie European network, and other funding bodies. It also organizes weekly research seminars on both funded and pilot projects, regular workshops, courses, and visits by world-renowned scholars advancing their latest research.
The department is active in research areas ranging from continental and moral philosophy to the history of philosophy (especially 17th and 18th Century philosophy), the history and philosophy of science (especially philosophy of biology), and analytical philosophy (epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of language). 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 doctoral level. Please contact one of the supervisors below if you are thinking about applying for a PhD in their subject area.
Dr Beth Lord: Supervision is offered in subjects relating to continental philosophy. Research in this area focuses on continental authors and topics, from both a historical and a theoretical perspective. Dr Lord researches 20th century continental philosophy, including Deleuze and Ranciere, and is particularly interested in continental interpretations of historical texts. Supervision is also offered in Early Modern and Modern philosophy. Dr Lord's research focuses on Spinoza and Kant, with particular emphasis on themes in Spinoza’s metaphysics and political philosophy.
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), the epistemology of inference (closure and counter-closure), the epistemology of testimony, testimonial injustice, and Bayesian epistemology and its application to scepticism. Supervision is also offered in metaphysics, especially the debate concerning realism vs. anti-realism about truth.
Dr Stephan Torre: Supervision is offered in the metaphysics of time, tense, self-locating content, and persistence through time.
Dr Ulrich Stegmann: Supervision is offered in the philosophy of biology and in the interface between it and the philosophy of information, investigating how information concepts work in the life sciences; the philosophy of mind, including self-knowledge, Wittgenstein, theories of representational content, including perceptual content and information, and aspects of cognitive science; and the general philosophy of science, such as explanation, experimentation, and the metaphysics of science, as well as the history of philosophy of science.
Dr Gerry Hough: Supervision is offered in philosophy of language, including opaque contexts, substitutivity, and the semantics of belief reports.
Dr Paula Sweeney: Supervision is offered in philosophy of language, including relativism, contextualism, vagueness, and their connections with indexicality.
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.
- 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 Lecturer (Permanent)
- 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
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, A. & Moretti, L. 'Assessing Concept Possession as an Explicit and Social Practice'. Journal of Philosophy of Education.
- 'Phenomenal conservatism and the problem of reflective awareness'. American Philosophical Quarterly.
- 'Evidence of expert’s evidence is evidence'. Episteme, vol 13, no. 2, pp. 209-218.
- 'On creeping minimalism and the nature of minimal entities', in H Dyke (ed.), From Truth to Reality: New Essays in Logic and Metaphysics. Routledge, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 123-180.
- Seemings and justification: how appearances justify our beliefs. SpringerBrief, Springer.
- '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.
Some helpful links for further information and resources in Philosophy include: