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The University of Southampton
Philosophy Part of Humanities

Research Themes

Our academics work within the following research themes.

History of Philosophy

We specialise in the work of Kant, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Heidegger, as well as having strong research interests in both Ancient and Modern Philosophy.

Staff: Dr Russell Bentley , Professor Christopher Janaway , Professor Denis McManus , Professor Alex Neill , Professor David Owen , Professor Aaron Ridley , Professor Genia Schönbaumsfeld , Professor Tracy Strong

Analytic Aesthetics and the History of Aesthetics

Southampton's work in aesthetics focuses on the philosophy of music, the philosophy of fiction, the ontology of art, and on the history of aesthetics with particular reference to Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Collingwood.

Staff: Professor Christopher Janaway , Professor Alex Neill , Professor Aaron Ridley , Dr Lee Walters

Wittgenstein and Early Analytic Philosophy

We have research strengths in all aspects of Wittgenstein's thought and on the relations between Wittgenstein's thought and the work of Frege, Russell, Husserl, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, and later 20th century philosophers such as Quine and Davidson.

Staff : Professor Denis McManus , Professor Ray Monk , Professor Genia Schönbaumsfeld , Dr Lee Walters , Professor Daniel Whiting .


Southampton ethicists work in all areas of the subject. Current research focuses on the nature of reasons, value and normativity, the doing/allowing distinction, the non-identity problem, and philosophical issues associated with sex and pregnancy. Our interests overlap significantly with those of the Epistemology cluster, and the Language, Logic and Metaphysics cluster.

Staff: Dr Alex Gregory , Dr Elselijn Kingma , Professor Denis McManus , Dr Conor McHugh , Dr Ben Saunders , Dr Kurt Sylvan , Dr Jonathan Way , Dr Fiona Woollard , Professor Daniel Whiting .


In this cluster, we explore fundamental questions in epistemology concerning the nature of knowledge, the challenge of scepticism, and the scope of self-knowledge. We have a particular interest in topics relating to epistemic normativity, topics such as epistemic vale, the aims and norms of belief and assertion, and doxastic voluntarism and responsibility. These interests overlap significantly with those of the Ethics cluster.

Staff: Dr Conor McHugh , Professor Genia Schönbaumsfeld , Dr Kurt Sylvan , Dr Jonathan Way , Professor Daniel Whiting .

Language, Logic, and Metaphysics

Southampton philosophers have a wide range of interests in these areas, with recent publications on inferentialism, pejoratives, linguistic normativity, the logic and semantics of conditionals, meta-ontology, and the metaphysics of art. Current research focuses on these topics as well as on fictional characters, empty names, and nonexistence; and the metaphysics of persons and pregnancy.

Staff: Dr Elselijn Kingma , Professor Denis McManus , Professor Ray Monk , Professor Genia Schönbaumsfeld Dr Kurt Sylvan, Dr Lee Walters, Professor Daniel Whiting

Political and Legal Philosophy

The political philosophy research group spans both the analytic and continental traditions. The group has a strong expertise in Western political thought with particular emphasis on ancient Greek political philosophy and European political philosophy from the 16th century through the 21st century, as well as American political thought.

Staff: Dr Chris Armstrong , Dr Russell Bentley , Dr Jonathan Havercroft , Professor David Owen , Dr Ben Saunders , Professor Tracy Strong , Dr A.M. Viens

In addition to the areas above, our philosophers also pursue research in Philosophy of Action, Philosophy of Biography, Philosophy of Mathematics, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Science and the Philosophy of Sex.

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