Staff Profile:Professor John Preston

Professor John Preston
Job Title:
Head of Department

Part One: Convenor of the Human Nature module.
Part Three: Convenor of the Philosophy of Science module.

Areas of Interest:

Professor Preston is qualified in artificial intelligence, as well as philosophy, and his main research interests are in the philosophy of science, of mind, of cognitive science, and in epistemology.

He is the author of Feyerabend: Philosophy, Science and Society, and editor of Thought and Language and Views into the Chinese Room.

Ongoing research:
Wittgenstein, Natural Science, and the Great Philosopher-Physicists (ongoing book project).

Ludwig Wittgenstein - A Chronology of his Life and Work (ongoing book project associated with my website: and Facebook page 'Wittgenstein Day-by-Day').

PhD supervision:

I am happy to supervise doctoral research projects in the following areas: philosophy of science (natural, social and cognitive), Wittgenstein, cognitive science, epistemology, philosophy of mind.

Undergraduate Teaching:

I teach the first-year module Human Nature, which looks at views of the nature of human beings from the ancient Greek philosophers right up to the present-day.

It covers questions like: What are human beings? How are human bodies and human minds related to human persons? Are human social animals by nature, or for some other reasons? Is our nature fixed by our genetics, or by our environment? What should human societies be like?

In my Theory of Knowledge module, I discuss theories of knowledge and justification. This will cover the nature of knowledge and knowledge-claims, different views about knowledge (knowledge as justified true belief, causal theories, reliabilist theories, contextualism, etc.), and the two main accounts of justification, foundationalism and coherentism.

Research groups / Centres:
  • University of Reading's Centre for Cognition Research.
  • Centre for Interdisciplinary Research into the Humanities and Science.

Academic Work outside Reading University:

I was the first ever Secretary of the British Wittgenstein Society, from October 2007 until November 2010, at which point I accepted membership of their Honorary Committee. I have been a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy since September 2009. I have served as external examiner for cohorts of undergraduate students at the University of Oxford and the University of Exeter, for MA cohorts at Oxford Brookes University, and for PhD or MLitt students at the Universities of Oxford, Manchester, Sheffield, Durham, Bristol, Düsseldorf, and King's College, London.

Jump to: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2012 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2004 | 2003
Number of items: 28.



  • Preston, J. (2015) Logical space and phase-space. In: Mind, language and action: proceedings of the 36th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Publications of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein society – New Series (N.S.) (22). De Gruyter , pp. 35-44. ISBN 9783110378795
  • Preston, J. (2015) Wittgenstein, Hertz and Boltzmann. In: Glock, H.-J. and Hyman, J. (eds.) A companion to Wittgenstein. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 9781118641163 (In Press)










This list was generated on Tue Jul 26 01:16:38 2016 BST.


See Dr John Preston's personal page

Contact Details

+44 (0) 118 378 7327

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