Engaged philosophy

We are committed to bettering the philosophy profession and engage with a variety of audiences, public bodies and policymakers.

Our three key aims are:

Diversity in philosophy

We are trying to make philosophy a more inclusive and diverse profession by making changes to our teaching and research.

Such as increasing the proportion of women on course reading lists and introducing an events policy

Hosting workshops and conferences and publishing on climate issues, inclusive pedagogy, and women in the history of philosophy.

Publications and activities

PhilChat

PhilChat is a student society primarily for undergraduates and run by postgraduates. It started in 2013 as a seminar series, join the PhilChat Facebook group.

Publications

Helen Beebee, ‘Women and Deviance in Philosophy’, in K. Hutchison and F. Jenkins (eds.), Women in Philosophy: What Needs to Change? (Oxford: OUP, 2013).

Frederique Janssen-Lauret, 'Making room for women in our tools for teaching logic: a proposal for promoting gender inclusivenessProceedings of the 4th International Conference on Tools for Teaching Logic. 65-73 (2015).

Frederique Janssen-Lauret, 'Susan Stebbing, Incomplete Symbols, and Foundherentist Meta-Ontology', Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy, 5 (2016), 1-12.

Minorities and Philosophy

We subscribe to the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme. We are also in Minorities and Philosophy (MAP), a student-run organisation that addresses issues of minority participation in philosophy.

We try to bring our own work, and philosophy more generally, to a wider audience.

Public engagement

Our annual public lecture series, the Dorothy Emmet Lectures, started with Catherine Z. Elgin talking about representation in science and art.

Our 2019 lecture was given by Clare Chambers, whose talk was titled "Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State".

We go to local schools and colleges to give talks.

We also run a Pre-University Course in Philosophy for year 12 and 13 students from widening-participation postcodes. Aimed at introducing school and sixth-form college students both to philosophy and to university study more generally.

In the media

Debate

Laws of Nature: Helen Beebee debates the laws of nature with Gerard 't Hooft, David Malone, and Laura Mersini-Houghton, as part of the Institute of Arts and Ideas HowTheLightGetsIn festival.

On the radio

  • Free will: Helen Beebee discusses free will with Melvyn Bragg, Simon Blackburn and Galen Strawson on In our Time.
  • Logical positivism: Thomas Uebel discusses the logical positivists with Melvyn Bragg, Nancy Cartwright and Barry Smith on In Our Time.
  • Hume: Helen Beebee discusses David Hume with Melvyn Bragg, James Harris and Peter Millican on In Our Time.
  • More Hume: Helen Beebee discusses Hume again, this time with Alan Saunders on The Philosopher's Zone on Australia's Radio National. 
  • The problem of induction: Helen Beebee discusses induction with Matthew Sweet, zoologist Matthew Cobb, weather forecaster John Hammond and others, in The Philosophers Arms.

Blogs

Environmental sustainability

Focusing on environmental justice and the economic valuation of environmental goods.

We have philosophers working on problems concerned with how we should: value the environment, the limits of market valuations, our attitudes towards the environment and motivations to act on them, and environmental justice.

Recently funded projects

Sustainability begins at home

In our 'The Age of Metaphysical Revolution' project, we are trying to reduce the carbon footprint that is associated with a large research project. By making use of virtual conferencing software and video-conferencing. We'll be producing a report to encourage other academics to try these formats.

Michael Scott acts as the Environmental Sustainability Lead for the School, chairing the School Environment Team.

People

Our people

John O’Neill works on:

  • the limits of market-based approaches to environmental governance and the dimensions of justice raised by problems like climate change;
  • the BIOMOT project on questions about the economic valuation of biodiversity. The limits of the ecosystem approach to environmental problems and problems with biodiversity offsetting.

He is a participant in:

  • the EU Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade project (EJOLT);
  • the project ClimateJust, developing a website for local authorities and service providers to address climate vulnerability.

He was principal investigator on recent projects on justice and climate change in the UK. Also a participant on a project on flood disadvantage in Scotland.

Paul Knights is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow.

His project, 'Environmental values and ecosystem services' is concerned about the nature conservation movement. Over the increasing use of market-based instruments to achieve environmental goals, including the use of economic valuation in environmental decision making. Also payments to land managers in return for their conservation activities. He is investigating whether the scepticism among some environmentalists regarding these policies and instruments is justified.

The research uses a philosophical analysis of economic concepts such as 'ecosystem services' and 'natural capital' that dominate policymaking. Including an empirical investigation of whether non-economic modes of valuing nature are 'crowded out' when these market-based concepts and policies are introduced. Paul was previously a researcher on the BIOMOT project.

Michael Scott works on moral motivation and internalism and, as part of the BIOMOT project, worked in particular on attitudes towards biodiversity and the environment.

Thomas Uebel works on Otto Neurath in the socialist calculation debates and its implications for the limits of market modes of governance for the valuation of environmental goods.