Philosophy research at Reading focuses on ethics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of the mind, combining expertise and understanding of multiple perspectives to find new approaches to some of the most intractable philosophical and societal problems. We collaborate with other academic disciplines to better understand human intelligence, the brain and pain, and we work in partnership with health professionals and the private sector to tackle questions of medical and business ethics.
Overall quality profile
Our work is based around two research centres:
- The Centre for Cognition Research involves researchers from Philosophy, Linguistics Psychology, Biomedical Engineering to focus on the understanding human intelligence and the mind.
- Reading Ethics and Political Philosophy is co-led by Philosophy and Politics & International Relations and brings analytical philosophy to bear on moral and political issues including fairness, politics and violence, intergenerational justice, and ethics and uncertainty.
Collaborations with both academic and non-academic partners have led to real-world application of our research within the healthcare and business sectors, advancing the understanding of ethical issues such as consciousness, pain, and the social contract. We have also extended diversity of thought in our discipline by increasing the representation of non-Western philosophy within both our teaching and research activity.
Staff and doctoral students
We submitted 9 academic staff to REF2021 (7.5 FTE) – 5 professors, 2 associate professors and 2 lecturers.
We have overseen 29 doctoral completions since 2014, with an average of 25 PhD students each year from 9 countries in 2019/20.
Research centres and partnerships
We also work with local partners including clinicians and patients at the Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to use philosophical ideas to inform healthcare debates, and with the Ethical Reading business alliance to focus on ‘doing business better’ and how social contract theory can be used to define social purpose.
Selected examples of national and international recognition between 2014 and 2020:
- Marie Curie Individual Fellowship for developing outstanding research in metaethics (Dr Luke Elson, 2017)
- Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for work on the philosophical implications of findings in social psychology (Professor Emma Borg, 2020-23)
- President of the Mind Association (Professor Brad Hooker, 2021-22)
- Independent Advisor to the Professional Standards Committee of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) (Professor Emma Borg, 2021-23)
- Independent Advisor to Nuffield Council on Bioethics working group on Genome Editing and Human Reproduction (Professor David Oderberg, 2017)
Impact case studies
Examples of the impact our research has had at local, national and global levels.