I got started in philosophy at school, when the philosophy teacher, trying to help me choose an extra A level, asked me the question 'do you enjoy reading science fiction?'. I didn't enormously enjoy it, but I thought that any subject for which that is a sensible recruitment strategy sounded like the subject for me. So I slightly lied. As it happens, I'm now not convinced that's the best recruitment strategy, and my old philosophy teacher is now an author and folk musician, so I'm not sure what that tells you. But with that, and the comparative lack of amusement offered by A levels in maths, physics and chemistry, I've never looked back.
I transferred to Manchester in the second year of my BA after a year in Bolton, graduated in 1997, had a brief and largely unedifying look at the outside world until 1999 and came back to do a part-time MA and then a PhD. It was great. Thoroughly edifying, and made a pleasure in part by the increasingly close-knit and friendly atmosphere among the graduate students. Come and join them, is my advice.
I took four years to do my PhD, spread out, for various health-related and administrative reasons, over seven years. I wore out two supervisors, eventually submitting in November 2008 and graduating in 2009.
The main beneficial influence of my supervisors was roughly that the first inspired the project, the second helped me decide what to say, and the third made me actually write it down in time. I don't think any of them thinks the result constitutes any sort of truth.
My PhD was a mixture of metaphysics with a bit of something like philosophy of linguistics. At the moment I'm working on an account of processes that draws on both of those strands, and a more purely metaphysics project incorporating that notion of processes into an account of the ontology of properties and persistence. I've also rekindled an early interest in ethics and I've just finished the first in what I hope will be a series of papers on gratitude.
Before graduating for the last time I was a lecturer for three years at Bolton and an Associate Lecturer for the Open University. Since then I've been a Teaching Fellow at Manchester for a year, a lecturer at Liverpool for a year and a half, a Lecturer at Manchester for two years and I'm now a Teaching Fellow at Birmingham. I taught tutorials at Manchester in all the gaps, starting in 2001.
At some point during or just after my PhD I realised that philosophy is no longer something I could leave behind. A big part of that is the experience I had of philosophy at Manchester.