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Richard Playford: from student to lecturer – University of Reading

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  • The Big Questions

    Discover how Richard went from philosophy student to teaching religious studies

Richard Playford: from student to lecturer

Richard PlayfordResearch for Richard Playford means digging down into the details of human nature. His current area of research is on the metaphysics of the human person. Broadly, this means he is interested in what makes us human, what distinguishes us from (non-human) animals, and what it means to be a person.

Richard specialises in a broad spectrum of inter-related fields, including Aristotelian-Thomistic ethics, which aim to reduce the moral gap between the real self and the ideal self.

He has expertly layered his many areas of competence with ancient philosophy, Buddhism, Daoism, philosophy of religion and political philosophy, which underpin his present work as a lecturer in Religious Studies.

Appointed Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2018, Richard has achieved an astonishing amount in a short time, building upon his solid grounding at Reading.

“World-class reputation”

Now a Lecturer in Religious Studies at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Richard came to Reading for his PhD because, as he puts it: “The Philosophy Department of the University of Reading has a world-class reputation, so I knew I'd be in good hands!”

Outstanding support

Richard's instincts and research proved correct. He approached the two professors whom he hoped would become his supervisors, requesting an informal chat before applying.

"They both immediately offered to meet with me and were immensely supportive in helping me put together my application. They did indeed become my supervisors! As a result, even before starting at Reading I knew I would be well taken care of and supported. That was an important part of the process."

And this supportive environment proved true of all the staff in the Philosophy Department and the University as a whole.

 "Everyone within the Department was exceptionally friendly and kind, with the staff always going that extra mile for their PhD students."

The Philosophers’ Pint

Richard enthuses about his time at the University, praising the Philosophy Department’s culture .

"Most of our PhD classes and activities would happen on one concentrated day each week, which was ideal for commuter students such as myself. I can honestly say, that day did not feel like work. It felt like a group of friends with a shared passion coming together to discuss something in which we were all interested. It would also often end with a trip to the pub  because we didn't want to stop talking!"

Richard praises the support he received as a doctoral researcher at Reading as second to none.

"My supervisors, and the staff more generally, were always there for me if I had any issues. Now I am a lecturer at St Mary's University in Twickenham. I can safely say that I wouldn't be here if it weren't for my PhD at Reading."

Richard's sage advice for new postgraduate researchers?

“Enjoy it! Find a topic you are passionate about and stay actively involved with the various activities at Reading.”  

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