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100% of our research is of international standing (Research Excellence Framework 2021, combining 4*, 3* and 2* submissions – Philosophy).

A lively and productive centre of interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for excellence, the Department of Philosophy contributes cutting-edge thinking and developments to the field.

Our projects have a global reach, and genuine impact on the world around us, whether in public discussions, businesses, or even hospitals.

What makes us human?

A trailer for the public lecture Planet of the Apes: what makes us human? delivered by Professor Emma Borg.

Indisciplinary research

The Department of Philosophy is part of the University's Heritage and Creativity research theme. We maintain strong relationships with a wide range of departments and institutions across the University, underpinning the interdisciplinary nature of philosophy. As this suggests, we're actively involved with a number of interdisciplinary research centres and clusters, including:

Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)

The CCR aims to promote excellence in research concerning the understanding of human intelligence. Bringing together researchers from different disciplines, it enables cross-disciplinary discussion and hosts events to promote new and existing research collaborations.

Reading Ethics and Political Philosophy (REAPP)

Bringing together the University's moral and political philosophers, REAPP acts as a hub for individual scholars to exchange ideas, develop projects and organise events and workshops.

Biological Mistakes

A John Templeton Foundation research project on the philosophy of biology, with Prof. David Oderberg as PI and a team of scientists and postdocs. The project is part of the global, multi-million-pound research programme Agency, Directionality and Function

Our expertise

Our staff have wide-ranging expertise, encompassing areas of philosophy including moral philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, Wittgenstein, metaphysics,  philosophy of biology, and cross-cultural philosophy.

We engage with real-world issues and study current events through a philosophical lens to better understand the world we live in. We apply our teaching and research to contemporary issues such as health care, climate, business ethics, and democracy. For example:

  1. The Department works closely with Ethical Reading.
  2. Professor Emma Borg and others work with the Royal Berkshire Hospital on pain.
  3. Professor David Oderberg has worked on conscience and medicine, advising politicians, judges and policymakers in Canada, the USA, the UK, and Poland. He is currently working on a major Templeton Foundation research project connecting philosophers and biologists across the globe.
  4. Emeritus Professor Brad Hooker and Professor Emma Borg have carried out important work on ethics in the financial sector.
  5. Professor Max De Gaynesford has conducted extensive research on how philosophical investigation can be applied to the arts and particularly to film.

Sharing knowledge and expertise

We run events throughout the year dedicated to stimulating and fostering research, including: 

  • a weekly visiting speaker programme in which leading researchers from around the world present their work to staff and students
  • a regular work-in-progress programme in which staff discuss their current research
  • a graduate seminar for PhD students
  • a staff-student reading group, as well as informal reading groups on recent and classic books.

Members of the Department also regularly give presentations around the world.


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A leading international journal of analytic philosophy

We are the custodians of Ratio, a world-renowned analytic philosophy journal publishing on a diverse array of topics.

We host the annual Ratio conference, which for nearly thirty years has welcomed world-leading experts to present and contribute on a variety of cutting-edge topics in philosophy.

Find out more about Ratio

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Meet our experts

Our academic staff are experts in a wide variety of philosophical topics, with particular strengths in moral philosophy, philosophy of language, metaphysics, Aristotle, Aquinas, Wittgenstein, and aesthetics including the philosophy of film.

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PhD opportunities

Join our thriving and welcoming programme by undertaking a PhD in Philosophy. We offer supervision from leading experts across a wide range of areas.

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Read our stories

Read inspiring stories from our staff and students in the Department of Philosophy.