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Mr Christopher Searle

Dr Morosopher, the silly philosopher, was as daft as a wise man could be,

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Professional biography

Christopher John Searle is a Postgraduate Research Student in the PhD programme in Philosophy at The Open University. He has been at the OU since October 2022. Prior to commencing his PhD, Chris was studying part-time with the DCE at Oxford University and working as a CEO in the climbing industry.

Chris specialises in metaphilosophy, but his research straddles the philosophy of language and philosophical logic.

Chris received his MA in 2003 from the University of Kent. He completed his BA(Hons) in Philosophy at Canterbury and more recently was awarded a CHE in Philosophy from the University of Oxford. 

The principal area of his doctoral research is conceptual engineering. His thesis title is Empty Words: Mere Verbality & Conceptual Engineering. He will be focusing on topic continuity and merely-verbal disputes in conceptual engineering, with a particular emphasis on speaker-meaning theories.

Chris is also interested in the foundational questions underlying these projects, including the value and function of philosophy and the prospects of combining a speaker-meaning account with a modified verification principle.

Selected Publications:

Searle, C. (Forthcoming). Swinburne’s Substance Dualism. Oxford Philosophical Review. OUDCE.

Searle, C. (2021). Logic Oughtn't to be Normative. Disputatio, 1 (22),3-10.

Searle, C. (2020). Qualia ain’t out here either. Think, 19 (54), 31-35.

Research interests

Chris has a wide range of philosophical interestsincluding applied epistemology; informal logic and syllogistic; philosophical methodology, expressivism and non-cognitivism; moral dilemmas and paradoxes in metaethics; verificationism; the analytic-synthetic distinction; a priori defeasibility; and no-ownership theories of personal identity.

Philosophical questions underpinning Chris’ research include:

  • What is the function of philosophy?
  • Are there domains of inquiry that are exclusive to philosophy?
  • Are there methods, or methodologies, that are exclusive to philosophy?
  • Are all philosophical disputes merely verbal?
  • What is the value of philosophy?

Teaching interests

Chris is currently working on developing a street epistemology programme for primary schools and is undertaking the TPF Philosophy in Schools course.

In regard to teaching, he is particularly interested in the following:

  • Pop-philosophy
  • The Socratic Method
  • Syllogistic
  • Informal Logic
  • Critical Thinking in the workplace

Impact and engagement

When not philosophising from the comfort of his armchair, Chris is also the CEO of South East Climbing Ltd., trading as Chimera Climbing.

Chris has also been developing an educational and recreational card game that combines the medieval logic of obligationes with the classical syllogistic, available here.

Chris writes the occasional poem and has had some poetry published in the Oxford University Student newspaper, Cherwell.

In 2022, Chris was the winner of the Oxford Philosophical Society Chadwick Prize.

Although still in the early stage of development, Chris has also been working on a children’s introductory book to syllogism, a comic primer entitled Doctor Morosopher.