Monthly Archives: December 2015

Philosophy Day School 2016 (22nd March)


(Image credit: Discarding Images. Monkey riding an owl, Letters of St. Augustine, Anjou 15th century. Marseille, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 209, fol. 246r.)

(Image credit: Monkey riding on an owl, discarding images)

We are pleased to announce a Day School for Undergraduate Philosophy students at the Open University, on Tuesday 22nd March 2016 in the Berrill Building at the Open University Campus in Milton Keynes, from 10.00 am – 4.30 pm.

The event is open, and free, to anyone currently enrolled on our core philosophy undergraduate modules (A222 or A333). We expect to accommodate everyone who wishes to come, but an upper limit, defined by the venue’s capacity, means we must monitor numbers. Therefore, if you intend to come, please register by sending an email with ‘Attending’ in the message header of an email and sending it to:, with your name in the body of the message.

This is just an early announcement of the date. The programme is still fluid. To find the latest, see the stable Philosophy Day School 2016 site. We can say now that day will most likely be organized mainly around sessions and lectures led by team members of the Philosophy Department and guest philosophers. We also plan to feature much of the day’s material, or complementary versions of it, to students via the OU Virtual Learning Environment and provide a discussion forum to follow the event. Continue reading


Two seminars: Reasons and Norms

Two Departmental Research Seminars will be held in Spring 2016, as part of the Reasons and Norms series. Both are on the Open University’s main Walton Hall campus in Milton Keynes.

3rd February 2016: Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett (University of Birmingham), ‘Epistemic normativity and biological function’. 2pm – 4pm, Wilson A, Meeting Room 05

Summary My focus is on epistemic normativity, in particular: beliefs about beliefs. With many others, I claim that our mechanisms for belief production have the biological function of producing true beliefs. However, I also claim that beliefs about epistemic normativity are false. We might say that in virtue of their falsity, beliefs about epistemic normativity are not doing what they are supposed to do, that they are malfunctioning beliefs. Here I argue that in this case we do not have accidental false belief, but rather we have a case of false belief produced by mechanisms doing exactly what they should be doing. Such beliefs are biologically useful, but not as an approximation to truth.

2nd March 2016: Dr Eileen John (University of Warwick), title tbc. 2pm – 4pm, Wilson A, Meeting Room 05

All welcome. Contact Carolyn Price ( for more information on these events and on the Reasons and Norms research group.