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Profile summary

  • Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Polis, Phil, Econ, Dev, Geog
  • Philosophy
  • carolyn.price

Professional biography

Carolyn Price joined the department in February 2000, having spent eight years as a Lecturer and Tutor at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. Her research interests lie in the Philosophy of Mind: she is particularly interested in questions about meaning, rationality and emotion, and the connections between them. In 2001, she published Functions in Mind (Oxford University Press) in which she set out a teleosemantic theory of content. Since then, she has published a range of articles and chapters on issues concerning normativity, rationality and emotion; and in 2015, she published a book Emotion (Polity Press) in which she considers a variety of questions about the nature and value of emotion.

Research interests

Carolyn’s interest in emotion crosses over into ethics:  she co-organised a conference on Death: What it is and Why It Matters, which took place at the University of York in 2008. She is also Director of the Department’s Mind Meaning and Rationality Group. She co-organised the group’s inaugural conference in 2004, and joined Keith Frankish in organising the conference In Two Minds: Dual Process of Reasoning and Rationality, which took place in Cambridge in July 2006. From 2008-2010, she ran a series of seminars on practical reasons.  She is currently developing a new project on health and normativity with Dr Cristina Chimisso.



Emotion. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2015.

Functions in Mind: A Theory of Intentional Content. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.


Journal articles and book chapters

The problem of emotional significance’ in Acta Analytica, 2013, Vol. 28, no. 2: 189-206.

Doing without emotions’ in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 2012, Vol. 93, no. 3: 317-337.

What is the point of love?’ in International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 2012, Vol. 20, no 2: 217-237.

The rationality of grief’ in Inquiry, 2010,  20-40.

‘Affect without object: moods and objectless emotions’ in European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 2006, Vol. 2, no. 1: 49-68.

‘Fearing Fluffy: the content of an emotional appraisal’ in Teleosemantics, edited by Graham MacDonald and David Papineau. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006: 208-228.

'Artificial functions and the meaning of literary works', British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (1), January 2003: 1-17.

'Rationality, biology and optimality*', Biology and Philosophy 17 (5), November 2002: 613-34.

'General-purpose content' in International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (2), May 2000:123-135.

'Determinate functions' in Nous 32 (1), March 1998: 54-75.

'Function, perception and normal causal chains' in Philosophical Studies 89, January, 1998: 31-51.

'Functional explanations and natural norms' in Ratio 8(2), September 1995: 143-160.


Other publications

‘Teleosemantics re-examined: content, explanation and norms’ (Essay review of Millikan and Her Critics, edited by Dan Ryder, Justine Kingsbury and Kenneth Williford) in Biology and Philosophy, published online February 2014.

Review of Embodiment Emotion and Cognition by Michelle Maiese in Philosophical Quarterly, 2012, Vol. 62, issue 246: 202-204.

Review of The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Emotion edited by Peter Goldie in European Journal of Philosophy, 2011, Vol. 19 no. 4: 630-633.

Review of Functional Beauty by Glenn Parsons and Allen Carlson in British Journal of Aesthetics, 2010, Vol. 50, no. 2: 215-218.

Review of Teleological Realism by Scott Sehon in Philosophical Quarterly 2007 Vol.57, no. 228: 501-503.

Review of Language: A Biological Model by Ruth Millikan in Mind, 2007, Vol. 116, no. 463:  766-9.

Review of The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being by Dan Haybron in Philosophy, 2009, Vol. 84, no. 330: 624-629.

Entry on ‘Emotion’ in the Continuum Encyclopaedia of British Philosophy, edited by Anthony Grayling, Andrew Pyle and Naomi Goulding, London: Thoemmes Continuum, 2006.

Recent conference and workshop presentations

'Expressing and Sharing' presented at a conference on Emotion and Expression, The University of Manchester, June 2013.

‘Teleosemantics and the problem of emotional significance’ presented at a workshop on teleosemantics today, Friedrich-Alexander Universität, Erlangen Nürnberg, February 2012.

‘Truth: aim or function?’ presented at a conference on the aims of inquiry and cognition, University of Edinburgh, May 2012

See also Open Research Online for further details of Carolyn Price’s research publications.

Teaching interests

Carolyn has contributed material to a number of modules -- including A219, A222 and A850.She was closely involved in the production of AA100 The arts past and present: she was academic editor for Book 2 Tradition and dissent and contributed a chapter on Plato’s Laches, as well as some material on Epicurus and Aristotle for a chapter on the philosophy of leisure. She is still a member of the module team and enjoys meeting AA100 students at day schools and through guest forums. More recently, she chaired the production of A333 Key Questions in Philosophy. She also contributed three chapters one of the A333 module books -- Knowledge and Reason. In these chapters, she considers two questions about rationality. (1) What does it mean to think in a rational way? (Is it just a matter of reasoning logically, for example?) (2) Is it ever rational to take someone's word for something -- and if so, why, exactly? She also chaired the module through its first year of presentation, which  (among other things) involved her in discussions about the definition of art, the morality of war, and the attractions (if any) of living forever.

Research Activity

Externally funded projects

Philosophy Conference - The Mind Association

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Sep/201630/Sep/2016Mind Association
How do emotions relate to the self? On one possible view, emotions stand outside the self: they reflect biological drives or cultural demands independent of – perhaps even inimical to – the subject’s own interests or values; when we act out of emotion, we are driven to act by psychological forces external to ourselves. But on another view, our emotional dispositions help to constitute who we are; words and deeds that come ‘from the heart’ are judged to have a special kind of worth, arising from their authenticity. In everyday contexts, people seem to think about emotion in both these ways, depending on the situation. But can these two views be reconciled? And if not, which view comes closer to the truth? The purpose of this conference is to throw light on these questions, capitalising on the progress that has been made in the philosophy of emotion in recent years, as well as drawing on studies in the history of philosophy and on a range of philosophical traditions. Keynote speakers include Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, University of Birmingham; Professor Denis McManus, University of Southampton; Professor Monika Betzler, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich; Dr Jonathan Webber, University of Cardiff; Professor Fabrice Teroni, University of Geneva. The conference is organized by the Philosophy Department of the Open University in conjunction with Department’s Reasons and Norms research group. It is partly funded by the Mind Association and supported by the Institute of Philosophy.


The problem of emotional significance (2013-06-02)
Price, Carolyn
Acta Analytica, 28(2) (pp. 189-206)
Doing without emotions (2012-09)
Price, Carolyn
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 93(3) (pp. 317-337)
What is the point of love? (2012)
Price, Carolyn
International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 20(2) (pp. 217-237)
The rationality of grief (2010-02)
Price, Carolyn
Inquiry, 53(1) (pp. 20-40)
Affect without object: moods and objectless emotions (2006)
Price, Carolyn
European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 2(1) (pp. 49-68)
Artificial functions and the meaning of literary works (2003-01)
Price, Carolyn
Astronomy & Geophysics, 43(1) (pp. 1-17)
Rationality, biology and optimality (2002-11-01)
Price, Carolyn
Biology and Philosophy, 17(5) (pp. 613-634)
General-purpose content (2000)
Price, Carolyn
International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 14(2) (pp. 123-133)
Emotion (2015)
Price, Carolyn
Key Concepts in Philosophy
ISBN : 978-0-7456-5635-9 | Publisher : Polity Press | Published : Cambridge, UK
Functions in mind: a theory of intentional content (2001-06-07)
Price, Carolyn
ISBN : 0-19-924200-3 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK
Fearing Fluffy: The Content of an emotional appraisal (2006-09-28)
Price, Carolyn
In: Macdonald, Graham and Papineau, David eds. Teleosemantics (pp. 208-228)
ISBN : 0-19-927026-0 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK