Philosophy

Philosophy

Philosophy at Stirling prides itself on combining an innovative teaching programme with research at the highest level. We offer an undergraduate teaching curriculum centred in the analytic tradition broadly conceived, and covering all major aspects of the subject. We are committed to providing a dynamic and supportive learning environment in which students can easily feel at home.

In the National Student Survey, philosophy at Stirling is regularly ranked among the top one or two undergraduate philosophy programmes in the UK.  We came first in the UK in the 2014 survey, with 100% for 'overall satisfaction' (we were also first in 2009 and 2010, third in 2011 and fourth in 2012).  Our most recent external teaching review “noted a very positive student-staff relationship within the division, where students were encouraged to approach staff for help with their studies, advice and support. This was supplemented by the formal student-staff arrangements and a high level of support provided through the Law & Philosophy Office. The Panel commended the strong sense of identity with and acknowledgement of the division’s cohesive collegial ethos and recognised that students were uniformly highly satisfied with their learning experience”.


Postgraduate Study

Postgraduate study is offered in the context of the joint St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme in Philosophy (SASP). This programme is Scotland's leading centre for graduate study in Philosophy and one of the highest-ranked and largest Philosophy schools in the United Kingdom, with an outstanding placement record for its graduates.


Research

We have an active research environment with regular events open to all: weekly Visiting Speaker Seminars (see tab above), frequent conferences and seminar series (including, recently, the Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, Frege@Stirling, the Stirling Political Philosophy group among many others) ongoing research projects, and a lively student Philosophy Society (see tab above) with a regular programme of talks and an annual staff-student reading weekend in the Highlands.  

The research expertise of our staff members falls into the following groups, which provide a framework for our research activity:

  • Epistemology, Rationality and Normativity
  • History of Philosophy
  • Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Mind and Metaphysics

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 62% of our research was judged as 'world leading' or internationally excellent, and we have a very strong record of success in gaining research funding.


Good Practice

 

We are actively committed to diversity and equality in both our teaching and research. We were the first Philosophy unit in Scotland to adopt the good practice scheme for women in philosophy developed by the British Philosophical Association and the Society for Women in Philosophy (see our policies here), and we recently sponsored the launch of Stirling's MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) chapter.  

Recent News

Workshop on Self-Knowledge and the A Priori

The first workshop of the “Knowledge Beyond Natural Science” project will be held at the Stirling Court Hotel on May 20-21, 2017.


Launch of major research project

March 2017

March 2017 saw the launch of a major 3-year research project, “Knowledge Beyond Natural Science”, based in Philosophy at the University of Stirling and supported by the John Templeton Foundation. The KBNS Project, which is led by Crispin Wright, will conduct parallel investigations into the nature and role of Self-Knowledge and A Priori Knowledge, evaluating the challenge these pose to naturalistic models of ourselves and our cognitive lives. It involves a core research team of 8 established researchers (6 Stirling staff with 2 co-investigators at the University of British Columbia), 2 Postdoctoral Fellows, and 4 Project PhD students, supported by an extensive international network. For more information, see the project website at: http://kbns.stirlingphilosophy.org/


New Staff

March 2017

We are delighted to welcome two Postdoctoral Research Fellows.

Giacomo Melis received his PhD in 2014 from the University of Aberdeen, where he was a member of the Northern Institute of Philosophy, after previous study at the University of Bologna. Giacomo joins us from a research fellowship at the University of Copenhagen, where he contributed to a research project on ‘Complex Disagreement’. Giacomo’s work is in the theory of knowledge, and he is specially interested in the different ways in which apparently well-grounded claims to knowledge can be defeated.

Giovanni Merlo received his PhD in 2015 from the University of Barcelona, after previous studies at the universities of Padua and Oxford. He has held research positions at New York University and the University of Hamburg, where he worked on an SNF Sinergia project in metaphysics. His work focuses on the nature of subjectivity, and the idea that there is a metaphysical distinction, and not merely an epistemological distinction, between one’s own mental states and those of others.


Staff Leaving

August 2016

Dr Jesse Tomalty, Lecturer at Stirling, has accepted a position as Associate Professor at the University of Bergen (Norway). We are extremely sorry to see Jesse leave us but we wish her all the best for her new appointment!


MAP at Stirling

March 2016

On 13.3.2016 we held a MAP (Minorities in Philosophy) event. It features a plenary discussion focusing mainly on the topic of women in philosophy, implicit bias, and the aim of equality, with talks by Amanda, Jesse, Philip, and two representatives of the LGBT+ committee. The plan is to have more events in the future. If you have questions or want to participate please have a look at the Diversity tab here.


Research Grant Success

January 2016

Professor Crispin Wright was awarded £ 646,337 from the Templeton Foundation for the project “Knowledge Beyond Natural Science”. A 33-month research project (March 2016—November 2019) involving six senior Stirling philosophers, Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins and Jonathan Ichikawa Jenkins both from UBC. In addition, we are currently advertising for two Postdoctoral position and four PhD studentships.


New Staff

January 2016

We are delighted to announce two new appointments:

Dr Amanda Cawston

Amanda received her PhD in 2014 from Cambridge University. Her areas of specialisation include political philosophy and feminist philosophy, in particular, she works on the ethics of war and violence and here focuses on determining whether pacifism is a defensible position. She also has interests in ethics and international relations. 

Dr Lauren Ware

Lauren received her PhD in 2014 from Edinburgh University. Her primary research is in the philosophy of emotion, in particular, what role they play in political and legal decision-making, in the evaluation of risk and security, in social and group cognition, and in teaching and learning. She also has interests in ancient Greek philosophy.


Visiting Speakers Seminars

Visiting Speaker Seminar Programme Autumn 2016

Everyone is welcome at the Visiting Speaker meetings. They are held in Room C1, Pathfoot Building at 4.15pm (unless otherwise stated). For further information please contact Adrian Haddock (adrian.haddock@stir.ac.uk)

Week

Date (Thurs)

Speaker

University

1 19/01/2017 Sophie Grace Chappell Open University
2 26/01/2017 Karim Thebault Bristol
3 02/02/2017 Sophie Stammers Birmingham
4 09/02/2017 Alix Cohen Edinburgh
5 16/02/2017 Nina Power Roehampton
6 READING WEEK
7 02/03/2017 Marcin Milkowski Polish Academy of Sciences
8 09/03/2017 Nakul Krishna Cambridge
9 16/03/2017 Sara Uckelman Durham
10 23/03/2017 Arif Ahmed Cambridge
11 30/03/2017 Neil Sinhababu Singapore
12 06/04/2017 Aisling Crean St. Andrews
The Philosophy Society

Introduction

The Philosophy Society at Stirling University was created by students in order to facilitate those with a shared curiosity or passion for philosophical discussion and study. It is open to all inquisitive students with an interest in areas like morality, human rights and the nature of being, regardless of their degree. A background in philosophy is not required, so no amount of knowledge is assumed. We especially welcome first and second year students who want to learn more about what philosophy is, and how the skills it teaches can be applied at a more practical level in later life.

About Us

The aim of the Society is to provide an informal forum where students can investigate the significance of philosophy and philosophical study, discuss the important issues uncovered therein, and learn from one another. There are weekly meetings held on campus to discuss particular topics, and we also arrange film nights, social events and debates with other departments. Some meetings are dedicated towards helping new or existing students learn more about how to write a philosophical essay, and how to present their work. We often also have visiting speakers from the faculty and elsewhere. The Philosophy Office is located in Room A71/73 in the A-corridor of the Pathfoot building. Look for posters there and throughout campus for more information about the society.

Regular Meetings

Weekly meetings are currently held on campus in the Pathfoot building, where typically a presentation is given by a student or a member of the faculty, which is then followed by a question and answer session. For further details, check this website again during the semester, and also look out for the advertising posters.

Diversity

In 2015 we adopted the the BPA/SWIP guidelines. We believe in creating a welcoming environment for all philosophers, and in particular for members of groups that are underrepresented. 


Here are some important ways that we are following the guidelines:

Anonymising:  We are committed to anonymising all submitted work from our students and we have also adopted a policy to assess written work anonymously during job searches.

Implicit Bias training: Each year we run an implicit bias session within the department which all new members of staff or tutorial assistants attend. We also invite our students to attend these sessions.

Diversifying syllabi: All department members are urged to strive for diversity, aiming to include members of under-represented groups in their teaching syllabi.

Workshops/conference/seminar series: All workshops, conferences and seminar series include support for child care and we aim for a balanced speaker line-up.


We also have an Equality and Diversity committee that continues to look for ways to ensure a welcoming atmosphere at our department for all philosophers. If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact Philip Ebert. 

We also work in collaboration with our Philosophy Society to make sure that students from underrepresented groups feel welcome and at home at Stirling and fully support our MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) chapter (http://www.mapforthegap.com/about.html).

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