Philosophy research

Stirling’s Philosophy Division has been central to philosophical research in Scotland and the UK since the University’s foundation in 1967. Our research centres on three main clusters: Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy; Mind and Knowledge; and Philosophy of Logic and Language, including the history of analytic philosophy.

Overall, 81% of Stirling Philosophy research was ranked as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent', the top two categories in the UK's 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). We were particularly pleased with the REF's recognition of our strong environment for research (ranked 100% either 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent') and with the recognition of the powerful impact of Stirling Philosophy research beyond academia (ranked joint 1st in Scotland).

We work closely with internal and external partners, presenting our work at conferences worldwide and helping to inform University teaching in diverse areas such as behavioural science and human rights. Our Philosophy graduate programme, operated jointly with the University of St Andrews, is ranked in the top 3 for the UK, and top 25 worldwide (The Philosophical Gourmet Report 2018) – underscoring the rich opportunities available for PhD study in the Division.

We run a Royal Institute of Philosophy local branch, supporting a range of public philosophical events in Stirling and the surrounding area.

Our work attracts funding from leading bodies that include the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust and the Medical Research Council.

Our research

Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy

This research cluster has generated work on the foundations and limits of human rights, on the legitimacy of legal and policy interventions and on the nature of practical reason and its relation to politics.

Mind and Knowledge

The Mind and Knowledge cluster generated work on formal epistemology, extended cognition, artificial intelligence and bodily awareness, the epistemology of modal claims and risk, perceptual knowledge and self-consciousness and a priori knowledge.

Philosophy of Logic and Language

This cluster generates work on the nature of logic, on the foundations of analytic philosophy including Frege, Ramsey, Russell and Wittgenstein.

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Research Spotlight

Enhancing avalanche safety through philosophy: learn how our research is informing best practice among mountain safety practitioners, professionals and educators around the world.

Featured research

Agency, Rationality and Epistemic Defeat (ARED)

Agency, Rationality and Epistemic Defeat (ARED) is an interdisciplinary research project on epistemic agency and rationality supported by UKRI through the Future Leaders Fellowship scheme.

Norms for the New Public Sphere

An AHRC-funded philosophy project that investigates the opportunities and challenges that new social media pose for a well-constituted public sphere, and aims to develop a set of norms that can underpin a media policy framework.

Varieties of Risk

This AHRC-funded project explores the philosophy of risk. What defines our comfort zone? And what does it take for us to step out of it and determine where a risk is justifiable?

Knowledge Beyond Natural Science

Knowledge Beyond Natural Science is a collaborative research project based in Philosophy at the University of Stirling and funded by the John Templeton Foundation.


We are committed to the British Philosophical Association and Society for Women in Philosophy (UK) Good Practice Scheme. The Scheme aims to assist UK philosophy departments, learned societies and journals in ensuring that they have policies and procedures in place that encourage the representation of women in philosophy.

We are also signed up to the BPA's Environment / Travel Guideline Scheme, which offers guidelines intended to reduce overall the air travel amongst the community of philosophers working in the UK.

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PhD opportunities in Philosophy

Philosophy postgraduate research

The University of Stirling offers a range of postgraduate research opportunities in Philosophy through our collaboration with the University of St Andrews. The St Andrews and Stirling Graduate programme in Philosophy (SASP) is taught by the Philosophy departments at the University of St Andrews and the University of Stirling, which together form Scotland’s premier centre for Philosophy and one of the top Philosophy programmes in the United Kingdom. The philosophical ambience is rigorous, friendly and co-operative.

We offer graduate teaching at a level that matches the best graduate programmes elsewhere in the world, across many areas of Philosophy.