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Another PhD success!

Chris Yorke successfully defended his PhD, ‘Bernard Suits’ Utopia of Gameplay: A Critical Analysis’ in front of a formidable examination committee. From the left there is Jon Pike (supervisor), Chris, Professor Mike McNamee (Swansea), and Professor Sophie-Grace Chappell (Open University). Congratulations to Chris, and we look forward to seeing more of it in print!

Research Conference

The Department spent the 18th and 19th of October, in the inspiring surroundings of Chicheley Hall, reading and discussing research papers.

OU student begins a PhD at the Royal College of Art

David Johnson, who did his MA with us, has received funding to do his PhD at the Royal College of Art. He will be working on his dissertation, ‘Blind Aesthetics-Memory, Materiality and the Tactility of the Senses’. In the project he will test the idea that blindness can provide radical new insights into our understanding of the world and that the plastic arts can be a powerful way for blind people to express these insights. David is himself blind.

Many congratulations to David!

John Shand on Martha Nussbaum

John Shand, a long-standing tutor and research associate of the department, has published a review of Martha Nussbaum’s new book, The Monarchy of Fear in the Times Higher Education Supplement. The review is available here.

To read it, you have to register with the THES, but doing that does not commit you to anything.

Ex-OU student success!

Henry Pollock, who did his MA with the OU (2013-2015), and who then went on to do his PhD in Leeds, has had his first paper published. It is called ‘Parfit’s Fission Dilemma: Why Relation R Doesn’t Matter’ and is now open access in Theoria.

Click here to find the paper.

Congratulations to Henry!

Inaugural lecture: Professor Derek Matravers (July 17 2018)

Open University Inaugural Lecture

(A live video-link to this event is now available via the official event page.)

Heritage in War: Protecting Cultural Property and Human Harm

Derek Matravers, Professor of Philosophy
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Tuesday 17 July
6:00 – 7:00 pm
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

We are delighted to invite you to Professor Derek Matraver’s inaugural lecture on: Heritage in War: Protecting Cultural Property and Human Harm.

Derek Matravers is Professor of Philosophy at The Open University. Before joining the OU, he was a research fellow at Darwin College Cambridge. He is the author of Art and Emotion (OUP: 1998), Introducing Philosophy of Art In Eight Case Studies (Routledge: 2012), Fiction and Narrative (OUP: 2014), and Empathy (Polity: 2017). He has also published on aesthetics, ethics, mind, and politics.

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Matravers, will explore whether we should risk lives to protect historical buildings. He will go on to assess the values of buildings and our deeper obligation to not kill human beings. As the UK recently ratified the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the UK Military are now bound by the articles of this convention. As a result, failing to protect cultural property, or damaging it unless there is a military necessity to do so, is a war crime. Professor Matravers will explore the ethical dilemma around this which is bound up with ‘just war theory’, which goes back at least to medieval times.

Event programme:
18:00-18:45 Heritage in War: Protecting Cultural Property and Human Harm
18:45-19:00 Q&A
19:00-19:45 Drinks and canapes

Can’t join in person? Watch the event live online (link will be live before the event). If you are viewing the event by livestream, please do take the opportunity to have your questions answered by our speakers LIVE during the event by posting in the COMMENTS BOX
There will be time for questions and comments. We very much hope you will be able to attend what promises to be an inspiring event and have your say.

Philosophy Matters 1: Raamy Majeed

This is the first of an occasional series in which OU academics talk about their research, particularly that which bears on topics studied on OU courses.

In the first, we have our newest recruit, Raamy Majeed, talking about his research in the Philosophy of Mind.


The interview can be found on our YouTube channel here

Derek Matravers in the TLS

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the most fascinating figures in the history of philosophy. He was a champion of reason, who was also its great critic; he wrote operas, yet wrote against art; he wrote about child-rearing, and yet consigned his own children to an orphanage.

You can find out more about him in a short piece Derek Matravers has written to kick off a new series on philosophy for the online TLS. You can find it here.