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Philosophy

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A large proportion of our academic staff and PhD students work on metaphysics, and between them they cover a wide range of topics and issues.

Academic staff

Helen Beebee has published on a variety of topics in metaphysics including causation, laws of nature, free will, natural kinds, and Humeanism. Her publications include The Oxford Handbook of Causation (co-edited with Chris Hitchcock and Peter Menzies, OUP 2009), Metaphysics: The Key Concepts (with Nikk Effingham and Philip Goff, Routledge 2010), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds (co-edited with Nigel Sabbarton-Leary, Routledge 2010) and Free Will: An Introduction (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). She is currently Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded project on David Lewis, The Age of Metaphysical Revolution.

Chris Daly has published extensively on metaphysics, ontology and the philosophy of mathematics. His recent publications include 'Is ontological revisionism uncharitable?' (with David Liggins, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2016), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods (Palgrave 2015), and 'In defence of existence questions' (with David Liggins, The Monist 2014). He was co-investigator on the AHRC project, The Foundations of Ontology (2011-14).

Julian Dodd has a longstanding interest in metaphysics, especially in truth, truthmaking, facts and states of affairs; his publications in this area include An Identity Theory of Truth (Macmillan 2000) and Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate (co-edited with Helen Beebee, OUP 2005) as well as articles in Analysis, The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society and elsewhere. Much of his work in aesthetics is also distinctly metaphysical, and includes Works of Music: An Essay in Ontology (OUP 2007).

Anthony Fisher is a postdoctoral researcher for The Age of Metaphysical RevolutionHe is interested in a range of issues in contemporary metaphysics as well as its recent history. His publications include 'On Lewis against magic: a study of method in metaphysics' (Synthese 2015), 'Truthmaking and fundamentality' (Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 2015), and 'Priority monism, partiality, and minimal truthmakers' (Philosophical Studies 2014).

Frederique Janssen-Lauret is a lecturer in philosophy and also a postdoctoral researcher for The Age of Metaphysical RevolutionHer publications include 'The Quinean roots of Lewis's Humeanism' (The Monist 2016), 'Committing to an individual: ontological commitment, reference, and epistemology' (Synthese 2016) and 'Metaontology, epistemology, and essence: on the empirical deduction of the categories' (with Fraser MacBride, The Monist 2015).

David Liggins has published widely on a variety of topics in metaphysics, including the philosophy of mathematics, grounding, truth, and metaontology. Recent publications include 'In defense of radical restrictionism' (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, f/c), 'Grounding and the indispensibility argument' (Synthese 2016) and 'Deflationism, conceptual explanation and the truth asymmetry' (The Philosophical Quarterly 2016). He was Principal Investigator on the AHRC project, The Foundations of Ontology (2011-14).

Fraser MacBride is interested in metaontology, truthmaking, essentialism, relations, and universals, as well as neo-Fregeanism, structuralism and fictionalism in the philosophy of mathematics. He has a book in press with OUP (On the Genealogy of Universals: On the Metaphysical Origins of Analytic Philosophy) and is working on a book on the metaphysics of relations. Recent publications include 'De re modality, essentialism, and Lewis's Humeanism' (with Helen Beebee, in Loewer and Schaffer's A Companion to David Lewis, Wiley Blackwell 2015), and Predicables and Relations, a special issue of Dialectica. He is also author of the Stanford Encyclopedia entry on Truthmakers (2013). Fraser is Co-Investigator for The Age of Metaphysical Revolution.

Ann Whittle's interests focus primarily on causation, causal powers, properties and free will. Her publications include 'A defence of substance causation' (Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2016), 'Ceteris paribus, I could have done otherwise' (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 2014), and 'Dispositional abilities' (Philosophers' Imprint 2010).

Current and recent PhD students

Rob Knowles completed his PhD on the philosophy of mathematics in 2015. His thesis looked at the role played by mathematics in science and explores whether this role can be appealed to in support of any philosophical positions concerning the nature of mathematics. Rob has published in Philosophical Studies, Erkenntnis and Synthese and is currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Leeds.

Ben Matheson completed his PhD on free will and personal identity in 2014. His thesis looked at 'manipulation arguments' that have been used to motivate both incompatibilism and historicist versions of compatibilism, and argued that the intuitions that these arguments often trade on can be accounted for by appealing to the non-transfer of moral responsibility over time rather than the lack of free will at the time of action. Ben has published in Philosophical StudiesAmerican Philosophical Quarterly and the International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion, and is co-editor, with Yujin Nagasawa, of The Palgrave Handbook of the Afterlife. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and in 2016 will move to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace.

Michael Clark completed his PhD in 2012. He has published in Erkenntnis, Analysis and Thought, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher on the Grounding: Metaphysics, Science and Logic project at the University of Hamburg.

Sylvia Barnett is working on her PhD on the relata of the grounding relation.

Jon Bebb has just started his PhD on the use of normative concepts in recent counterfactual-based accounts of causation.

Lydia Farina is working on her PhD on the role of natural kinds in psychology.

Andreas De Jong has just started his PhD on existence, which combines metaontology with the philosophy of language.

Jack Casey is working on his PhD on grounding.