Our department is one of the leading philosophy departments in the UK, with researchers working in most of the major areas of philosophy.

The department's research staff is comprised of twenty permanent members, plus a number of post-doctoral researchers. The department is dedicated to high-quality academic research, and scored highly in the recent REF.

Staff members' research interests are diverse, spanning all of the major areas of philosophy, and with numerous inter-disciplinary links. In recent years the department has hosted a number of major research projects, with external funding from the Wellcome Institute, the ERC, the AHRC, and the Leverhulme Trust, among others. The department puts on regular workshops, seminars and conferences, and welcomes a regular stream of visiting scholars from around the world. 

The department is particularly noted for its strength in the philosophy of science, logic and mathematics, for which it is one of the major centres in the English-speaking world. The department is home to the Centre for Science and Philosophy, which promotes the interpretation of science through collaboration with other disciplines, and to the Centre for Health, Humanities and Science, which promotes work at the intersection of philosophy and the medical sciences. Other areas of research strength include ethics and political philosophy, history of philosophy, and philosophy of mind and language.

For more details about our research see our people profiles.

Research areas

  • Epistemology: formal epistemology and decision theory, epistemic utility theory.
  • Ethics and Political  Philosophy: virtue ethics, Kantian ethics.
  • History of Philosophy: Kant, Heidegger, Leibniz, Aristotle.
  • Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics: theories of truth, self-reference and paradoxes, structuralism.
  • Philosophy of Biology: foundations of evolutionary theory, social evolution, explanation in genetics and molecular biology.
  • Philosophy of Medicine: the nature of illness, the phenomenology of health
  • Philosophy of Mind and Language: representation, fictional objects, formal semantics.
  • Philosophy of Physics: space and time, foundations of quantum mechanics, chaos and dynamical systems.
  • Philosophy of Science: realism and anti-realism, the metaphysics of science, induction and probability, values in science.


Current funded projects 

Representating evolution, Samir Okasha
An ERC Advanced Grant investigating how biological evolution has been represented in both scientific practice, science communication and pedagogy.

Epistemic Utility for Imprecise Probability, Jason Konek
An ERC Starting Grant exploring how to measure the accuracy of imprecise probabilities and use those measures to justify and extend imprecise probability theory.

The Metaphysical Unity of Science, Tuomas Tahko
An ERC Consolidator Grant which pursues the question of what, if anything, unifies the natural sciences.

Truth and Semantics, Johannes Stern 
An ERC Starting Grant exploring a unified perspective on theories of truth and semantics.

Towards an accuracy-first approach to judgment aggregation, Richard Pettigrew
A British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship bringing a new methodology to bear on the problem of how to aggregate judgments of members of a group.

Singularity Resolution and Explanation in Bouncing Quantum Cosmology, Karim Thébault
A British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship applying tools from physics and philosophy to analyse the foundations of cosmic singularity resolution and rival explanations for the flatness and homogeneity of the universe.

The Universe as an Open System, Karim Thebault and James Ladyman,
An interdisciplinary collaboration between Bristol, Munich and Lancaster to establish a radical new framework for understanding the universe and our place in it in terms of the idea of an 'open systems' approach to cosmology. Funded by AHRC-DFG.

Mortifying consciousness: Mental disorder, self-stigma and powerlessness, Dan Degerman
A Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship examining lived experiences of social powerlessness among individuals with depression and bipolar disorder.


A selection of recent projects

Life of Breath, Havi Carel
Breathing in Cultural, Clinical and Lived Experience. A Wellcome Trust project exploring breathing and breathlessness at the interface between arts, humanities and medical practice.

Undermining Scenarios and Imprecise Probabilities, Catrin Campbell-Moore
A Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship exploring scenarios that bear a close relationship to the liar paradox and which cause problems for accounts of rationality. 

Analogue Simulation in Modern Physics, Karim Thebault
An AHRC project to evaluate methodological, epistemological and metaphysical foundations of analogue simulation in modern physics

Darwinism and the Theory of Rational Choice, Samir Okasha
An ERC project to explore the connections between Darwinian evolutionary theory and the theory of rationality, from an overarching philosophical perspective.

Epistemic Utility Theory: Foundations and Applications, Richard Pettigrew
An ERC project aiming to apply the powerful tools of decision theory to investigate the epistemic norms that we take to govern what it is rational to believe. 

Browse all our current and recent research projects on Explore Bristol Research.

Associated centres

Centre for Science and Philosophy
The Centre promotes the understanding of science through collaboration with other disciplines. 

Centre for Health, Humanities and Science
The centre promotes interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research at the intersection of humanities, medicine, health and science. 

Centre for Black Humanities
The centre seeks to foster the broad range of research currently being done in the Faculty of Arts around the artistic and intellectual work of people of African descent.

Bristol Institute for Migration and Mobility Studies
The Institute provides a fresh approach to the study of migration through a prism of arts, humanities and social sciences. 

Foundational Studies Bristol
An interdisciplinary research group dedicated to the study of logic and philosophy of mathematics. It comprises academics from the Department of Philosophy and School of Mathematics. 

Collaborations and activities

Collaborations with other University of Bristol departments

Staff are actively engaged in research collaborations with colleagues in physics, biology, medicine, economics, politics, mathematics and anthropology.

Collaborations with other Philosophy departments

The department has strong research ties with a number of philosophy departments in the UK, Europe and the USA. In recent years, joint events have been held with the University of Oxford, the University of Groningen, KU Leuven, and LMU Munich.

Research events

We run a regular research seminar series and frequently host one-off research events.

Philosophical Gourmet Report

The Department of Philosophy has been ranked amongst the top 10 departments in the UK, and one of the top places for Philosophy of Science, Maths and Logic. 

Research in the faculty

Our research forms part of the overall research activities and strategies of the Faculty of Arts.

Public engagement

Communicating our research with the wider public is an important and regular activity for us. For more information, see our Public Engagement.

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