History of Analytic Philosophy

We have a broad range of research on the history of analytic philosophy in our department.

About us

We have scholars of early analytic philosophy (Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein), the Vienna Circle (Neurath and Carnap), recent analytic philosophy (Quine and Lewis) and the contribution of women to logic and analytic metaphysics (Stebbing and Barcan Marcus). The department is home to the Forum for Quine and the History of Analytic Philosophy and hosts a research project on the role of David Lewis in the development of 20th-century analytic philosophy. For information about members of staff working on the history of analytic philosophy and some of their recent publications, follow the 'People' link on the main navigation menu.

We welcome expressions of interest from prospective master's and PhD students, and from postdoctoral researchers who would like to come to Manchester to work on the history of analytic philosophy. Take a look at our page for prospective postgraduate researchers.

For general queries about the history of analytic philosophy at Manchester, please contact Fraser MacBride.

Projects and events

Our latest project, The Age of Metaphysical Revolution: David Lewis and his Place in 20th Century Philosophy, ran from 2016 to 2019 and was funded by the AHRC. The project treats Lewis as a historical figure, tracing the influences on the origins and development of his thought in a monograph co-authored by the project team (Helen Beebee, Fraser MacBride, Frederique Janssen-Lauret and Anthony Fisher); we’ll also be publishing two volumes of Lewis’s correspondence, a volume of his unpublished work, and various journal articles.

Upcoming events can be found on our events page.

Our people

Our people

Find out about the staff and PhD students involved in research on the history of 20th Century analytic philosophy.

  • Helen Beebee is Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded project on David Lewis, The Age of Metaphysical RevolutionShe is currently editing a volume of Lewis’s letters on metaphysics with Anthony Fisher; recent publications include 'De re modality, essentialism, and Lewis's Humeanism' (with Fraser MacBride, in Loewer and Schaffer's A Companion to David Lewis, 2015).
  • Sean Crawford has interests in early analytical philosophy (especially Russell, Wittgenstein and Carnap) and 19th and 20th-century philosophy of mind (especially the logical positivists). Recent publications include ‘On the logical positivists’ philosophy of psychology: laying a legend to rest’ (Dieks et al (eds), New Directions in the Philosophy of Science, 2014) and ‘The myth of logical behaviourism and the origins of the identity theory’ (Beaney (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Logical Positivism, 2013).
  • Anthony Fisher is a postdoctoral researcher for The Age of Metaphysical Revolution and held a Newton International Fellowship here, working on Samuel Alexander. He has interests in the early 20th Century British realists and in Lewis and his predecessors. His publications include ‘Donald C. Williams's defence of real metaphysics’ (British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 2016), ‘David Lewis, Donald C. Williams, and the history of metaphysics in the 20th Century’ (Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 2015) and ‘Samuel Alexander’s Theory of Categories’ (The Monist, 2015).
  • Frederique Janssen-Lauret is a lecturer in philosophy and also a postdoctoral researcher for The Age of Metaphysical RevolutionShe held a Capes Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Campinas, Brazil, working on Quine. She continues to work on Quine as well as female early analytic philosophers of logic and metaphysics. Her publications include 'The Quinean roots of Lewis's Humeanism' (The Monist 2017), ‘Susan Stebbing, incomplete symbols, and foundherentist meta-ontology’ (Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy, 2016), and ‘Meta-ontology, naturalism, and the Quine-Barcan Marcus debate’ (Kemp (ed.), Quine and his Place in History, 2015).
  • Fraser MacBride’s expertise includes the familiar pantheon of early analytic philosophy, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein. Also, now neglected figures including Whitehead, Stout, Moore, Johnson, McTaggart, and Ramsey. He has recently completed a monograph on their contribution to the origins of the discipline, On the Genealogy of Universals: On the Metaphysical Origins of Analytic Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2017) and he is now working on the relationship between Quine and Lewis. His other publications include ‘Analytic philosophy and its synoptic commission’ (O’Hear (ed.), Philosophical Traditions, 2014), ‘The transcendental metaphysics of G. F. Stout’ (Reboul (ed.), Mind, Values and Metaphysics, 2014) and ‘The Russell-Wittgenstein Dispute: A New Perspective’ in M. Textor (ed.) Judgement and Truth in Early Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology (Palgrave, 2013). Fraser is Co-Investigator for The Age of Metaphysical Revolution.
  • Graham Stevens has a long-standing interest in Russell and is currently writing a book on the theory of descriptions. His publications include ‘Russell on denoting and Language’ (Wahl (ed.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Bertrand Russell, 2015), The Theory of Descriptions: Russell and the Philosophy of Language (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and ‘Russell’s ontological development reconsidered’ (British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 2010).
  • Thomas Uebel is interested in early logical empiricism (Neurath, Carnap, Frank and Hahn), pragmatism (Dewey, Quine) and Austrian philosophy (Bolzano, Brentano). He is writing a book with John O’Neill on Neurath’s philosophy of social science. Recent publications include ‘Neurath’s influence on Carnap’s Aufbau’ (Damboeck (ed.), Influences on the Aufbau, 2016), ‘Pragmatisms and logical empiricisms’ (Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy, 2016) and ‘American pragmatism and the Vienna Circle: the early years’ (Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy, 2015).