Mark Pinder, Conceptual Engineer


Mark Pinder celebrates a double success this month. Mark has just returned from a research visit at the Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr University Bochum, having given a talk at the conference, Inconsistent Concepts and Conceptual Engineering. In addition, his paper on conceptual engineering, “Conceptual Engineering, Metasemantic Externalism and Speaker-Meaning” has been accepted for publication in MIND, one of the leading philosophy journals.



Jon Pike Elected Chair of the British Philosophy of Sport Association


Congratulations to Dr. Jon Pike, Senior Lecturer and Staff Tutor in Philosophy, who was recently elected Chair of the British Philosophy of Sport Association (BPSA). The BPSA’s mission is to “provide avenues and opportunities for those interested in philosophical issues in sport to present their ideas and network with others.” The Society’s principal activities include an annual UK-based conference, a tri-annual conference with the European Association for Philosophy and Sport, and the publication, in partnership with Taylor & Francis, of the esteemed journal Sport, Ethics and Philosophy.

Jon will be off to the WADA conference in Katowice, Poland for the 5th – 7th of November.  This is the conference that will agree anti-doping regulations for the next five years of elite sport.  He will be blogging a conference diary from the conference (watch this space for a link!), casting a quizzical and philosophical eye over proceedings.  Jon has previously acted as a consultant for both UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) and WADA, and he is keen to see if any of his thoughts about anti-doping get incorporated into the new code.

Derek Matravers to Edit the British Journal of Aesthetics

Philosophy is delighted to announce that Professor Derek Matravers has been appointed co-editor, along with Paloma Atencia-Linares, of the British Journal of Aesthetics.

The BJA, as it is known, is a premier forum for peer-reviewed scholarship in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Currently in its 59th year, it is published quarterly on behalf of the British Society of Aesthetics by Oxford University Press.

Congratulations, Derek!


Peter Cave’s new book on modern mythology

Peter Cave, one of our long-standing philosophy tutors, has just written a book of popular philosophy:

The Myths We Live By: Adventures in Free Speech and Other Liberal Adventures

Anyone who knows him through his teaching or his other books will know that it contains plenty to disagree with, and plenty of imaginative (in the best sense) arguments to make doing so tricky.

Derek Matravers Shortlisted for Research Excellence Award!

Professor Derek Matravers has been shortlisted for a 2019 OU Research Excellence Award, under the category of Outstanding Research Project.

The project in question is the AHRC-funded Heritage in War, led by Derek and Helen Frowe (Stockholm). The project explores the moral value of cultural heritage and how we ought to incorporate this value into our accounts of the ethics of war, and deal with damage to heritage in the aftermath of conflict. Whilst some work has been done on these topics by people working in cognate areas, few philosophers have directly engaged with these sorts of questions.

Please keep your fingers crossed for Derek on Wednesday 23rd October, when the winners are announced.

Cultural Heritage and Ethics of War – Registration Closing Soon!

Final call for registrations for Cultural Heritage and Ethics of War Conference:

Registrations close Monday 2nd September 2019

The conference will take place at Homerton College, Cambridge, 18–19 September 2019.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Constantine Sandis (Hertfordshire)
  • Ruth Chang (Oxford)
  • Victor Tadros (Warwick)

The AHRC-funded Heritage in War Project, led by Helen Frowe and Derek Matravers, explores the moral value of cultural heritage and how we ought to incorporate this value into our accounts of the ethics of war, and deal with damage to heritage in the aftermath of conflict. Whilst some work has been done on these topics by people working in cognate areas, few philosophers have directly engaged with these sorts of questions. The aim of this conference is to begin to develop a robust account of the status of heritage in war by exploring philosophical work on such matters as incommensurability and incomparability, the nature and status of cultural heritage, risk imposition, and the reconstruction and replacement of damaged or destroyed heritage.

Provisional Agenda:

Wednesday 18th September

09.30 – 10.45: Ruth Chang (Oxford)
– Keynote: How Does Cultural Heritage Matter?

10.45 – 11.05: Coffee

11.05 – 12.05: Lisa Giombini (Roma Tre University)
– Objects and Symbols. How Should We Respect Architectural Property?

12.15 – 13.15: Erin L. Thompson (CUNY)
– Return to the Scene of the Crime: Legal, Political, and Ethical Analysis of Determinations of Safe Return

13.15 – 14.15: Lunch

14.15 – 15.15: David Garrard (Oxford Brookes)
– How to Feel About the Fall of Carthage: Cultural Devastation in Retrospect

15.15 – 15.45: Coffee

15.45 – 17.00: Victor Tadros (Warwick)
– Keynote: Cultural Destruction and Reconstruction

17.00 – 18.00: Drinks reception

Thursday 19th September

09.30 – 10.30: Rasa Davidaviciute (St. Andrews)
– Cultural Heritage, Genocide and Agency

10.30 – 10.50: Coffee

10.50 – 11.50: Samuel Bruce and Lucie Fusade (Oxford)
– When Should Post-Conflict Damage to Historic Buildings be Preserved?

12.00 – 13.15: Constantine Sandis (Hertfordshire)
– Keynote: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bombed

13.15 – 14.00: Lunch


Organised as part of the AHRC Heritage in War Project.

For more information about the project and other related events, please see:

Heritage in War Project (call for participants)

3rd Call for Abstracts: Heritage in War

18th-19th of March 2020

Loyola University, New Orleans

This interdisciplinary conference aims to bring together researchers and practitioners from a wide range of fields, such as philosophy, international law, heritage studies, archaeology, and the military, to explore issues connected to the protection of heritage in war and conflict. Both normative and empirical papers are welcome.

Extended abstracts of no more than 1500 words, to form the basis of a thirty-minute presentation, should be submitted to no later than the 1st of September 2019.

More information about the conference can be found here:

PhD Viva Success: David Hurrell

Congratulations go to David Hurrell, who has successfully defended his PhD thesis on Nietzsche’s conception of decadence.

David was supervised by Manuel Dries, Sophie-Grace Chappell and Cristina Chimisso. The examiners were Andrew Huddleston (Birkbeck) and Derek Matravers.L-R: Manuel Dries; David Hurrell; Andrew Huddleston; Derek Matravers.

Philosophy Values and Reasons Research Seminar 2019/2020: Programme

We are happy to announce the programme for the Department of Philosophy’s Values and Reason Research Seminar Series, for the academic year 2019/20.

Thursday 3rd October 2019: Carolyn Price (The Open University)

Wednesday 6th November 2019: Natalia Waights Hickman (University of Oxford)

Wednesday 4th December 2019: Constantine Sandis (University of Hertfordshire)

Wednesday 8th January 2020: Giuseppina D’Oro (Keele University)

Wednesday 5th February 2020: Solveig Aasen (University of Oslo)

Wednesday 4th March 2020: Anil Gomes (University of Oxford)

Wednesday 1st April 2020: Josh Habgood-Coote (University of Bristol)

Wednesday 6th May 2020: Ema Sullivan-Bissett (University of Birmingham)

Wednesday 3rd June 2020: Michael Frazer (University of East Anglia)

All of the seminars take place in the Walton Hall Campus in Milton Keynes, 2pm-4pm. If you would like to attend, please contact Mark Pinder.