History of Analytic Philosophy

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

About us

Our work in the history of analytic philosophy spans early analytic philosophy, the Vienna Circle, the history of mid- to late-20th Century analytic philosophy, and the contribution of women to logic and analytic metaphysics. Staff have recently published on, for example, Ayer, Carnap, Danto, Feigl, Jones, Ladd-Franklin, Lewis, Neurath, Quine, Ramsey, Schlick and Stebbing, on a huge range of topics including the mind-body problem, other minds, politics in the Left Vienna Circle, universals, protocol sentences, and the philosophy of history.

The Department is home to the Forum for Quine and the History of Analytic Philosophy and recently hosted a research project on the role of David Lewis in the development of 20th-Century analytic philosophy.

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; current PhD students working in this area are listed in the 'People' section below. Take a look at the Department's page for prospective postgraduate researchers if you are interested in applying for a PhD, or find out about our MA in Philosophy programme.

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

Upcoming events can be found on our events page.

Projects and events

Our most recent 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 treated 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). The project website includes information about Lewis and publications arising from the project (including the two-volume Philosophical Letters of David K. Lewis), video podcasts of several of the talks from our end-of-project conference (including, e.g., Angelika Kratzer, Frank Jackson and Jonathan Schaffer), some of Lewis's letters to other philosophers, links to other Lewis resources, etc.

Our people

Our people

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

  • Prof. Helen Beebee was Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded project on David Lewis, The Age of Metaphysical RevolutionShe and Anthony Fisher recently published a two-volume collection of Lewis's correspondence, Philosophical Letters of David K. Lewis (OUP 2020); she and Fisher are currently editing a collection of papers about Lewis and his influence on analytic philosophy. 
  • Joseph Bentley is a PhD student working on Neurath and Carnap's projects of providing a meta-theory for science. He has published on Neurath and Carnap on protocol sentences.
  • Dr 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). 
  • Dr Frederique Janssen-Lauret is a lecturer in philosophy and was previously 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, and is currently writing a monograph on Lewis with Fraser MacBride. She is a founding member of the Women in the History of Analytic Philosophy Network and an associate editor of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy
  • Prof. 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: The Metaphysical Origins of Analytic Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2017) and he is now working on a monograph with Frederique Janssen-Lauret on Lewis. Fraser was Co-Investigator for The Age of Metaphysical Revolution.
  • Anne-Marie McCallion is a PhD student, part of whose PhD project concerns the 'Wartime Quartet' (Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgeley and Iris Murdoch). Before coming to Manchester she was an intern on the In Parenthesis project, which aims to shed light on the lessons that can be learned from the circumstances and modus operandi of the Quartet, who flourished at a time when men were largely absent from the philosophical scene in Oxford.
  • Oliver Spinney is a PhD student working on the problem of unity in early analytic philosophy. He has published on Bradley and Moore on common sense, and on priority and unity in Frege and Wittgenstein.
  • Dr Graham Stevens has published extensively on the philosophy of Bertrand Russell and is currently writing a book on the theory of descriptions. 
  • Emeritus Prof. Thomas Uebel is interested in early logical empiricism (Neurath, Carnap, Frank and Hahn), pragmatism (Dewey, Quine) and Austrian philosophy (Bolzano, Brentano). He is currently writing a book with John O’Neill on Neurath’s philosophy of social science. 

Recent publications

Some recent publications by staff and PhD students in the history of analytic philosophy:

  • Frederique Janssen-Lauret, 'Susan Stebbing’s Metaphysics and the Status of Common-Sense Truths', in J. Peijnenburg, & S. Verhaegh (eds), Women in the History of Analytic Philosophy (Springer Nature), f/c 2021 (preprint)
  • Sean Crawford, 'Schlick, Carnap and Feigl on the Mind-Body Problem',  in C. Limbeck & T. Uebel (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Logical Empiricism (Routledge), f/c 2021 (preprint)
  • Frederique Janssen-Lauret, 'Women in Logical Empiricism', in C. Limbeck & T. Uebel (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Logical Empiricism (Routledge), f/c 2021 (preprint)
  • Thomas Uebel, 'A Logical Positivist’s Progress: A Puzzle about Other Minds in Early Ayer Resolved', in A.T. Tuboly (ed.), The Historical and Philosophical Significance of Ayer’s Language, Truth and Logic (Palgrave MacMillan), f/c 2021
  • Frederique Janssen-Lauret, 'Grandmothers of Analytic Philosophy: The Formal and Philosophical Logic of Christine Ladd-Franklin and Constance Jones', in Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science (Vol. 20) University of Minnesota Press, f/c 2021 (preprint)
  • Joseph Bentley, 'Conceptions of Protocol Sentences in Neurath and Carnap', in C. Damböck, J. Fried & U. Höfer, (eds), Ways of the Scientific World-Conception: Rudolf Carnap and Otto Neurath  Leiden: Brill Rodopi, (Studien zur Österreichischen Philosophie), f/c 2021
  • Helen Beebee & Anthony Fisher (eds.), Philosophical Letters of David K. Lewis: Vol. 1 (Causation, Modality, Ontology) & Vol. 2 (Mind, Language, Epistemology). Oxford University Press, 2020
  • Fraser MacBride, M. Marion, M.J. Frápolli, D. Edgington, E. Elliott, S. Lutz, and J. Paris, 'Frank Ramsey', in E.N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2020 Edition), 2020 (open access)
  • Frederique Janssen-Lauret & Fraser MacBride, 'Lewis's Global Descriptivism and Reference Magnetism', Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 98: 192-8, 2020 (open access)
  • Thomas Uebel, 'Intersubjective Accountability: Politics and Philosophy in the Left Vienna Circle', Perspectives on Science, 28: 35-62, 2020 (open access)
  • Oliver Spinney, 'Bradley and Moore on Common Sense'Idealistic Studies, 2020
  • Thomas Uebel, 'Acts, Events, and Stories. On the History of Danto’s Compatibilist Narrativism', Journal of the History of Philosophy, 14: 47-79, 2020 (open access)
  • Frederique Janssen-Lauret (ed.), Quine, Structure, and Ontology (Oxford University Press), 2020
  • Graham Stephens & Michael Rush, 'Is Motion "Contradiction's Immediate Existence"?'Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies, 39 (2019)
  • Fraser MacBride, On the Genealogy of Universals: The Metaphysical Origins of Analytic Philosophy (Oxford University Press), 2018
  • Oliver Spinney, 'Priority and Unity in Frege and Wittgenstein', Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy(2018) (open access)
  • Thomas Uebel, 'Carnap’s Transformation of Epistemology and the Development of His Metaphilosophy', The Monist, 101: 367-87, 2018 (preprint)