Laterális: The University of Reading Undergraduate Philosophy Journal

We are delighted to announce the first issue of Reading’s own undergraduate philosophy journal! You can read it here. Congratulations to all involved.

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Beyond a Philosophy Degree 2

Keira graduated from the department about 10 years ago and recently came back to talk to our current students about careers.  For that event, we asked Keira for a short blurb about her career. Here’s what she said:

From Philosophy Conferences to Parliament, the grounding that Philosophy gave me in understanding the value of knowledge, has been fundamental to my career.

I worked with the Forum for European Philosophy, before immersing myself in the Westminster bubble working for the two top political publishers and information providers.

It was in politics that I first started working with Third Sector organisations, helping them in their engagement with policy makers and stakeholders, a line which I have now chosen to pursue further by moving into fundraising and engagement for two of the industry’s leading consultancies and change-makers.

Here’s a quick video in which Keira discusses what she most enjoyed about studying philosophy in Reading and about how her degree has helped her in her career.


Are you also an alumnus of the department?   Would you like to help out our current crop of students (and future cohorts too), e.g., by recording a similar interview or writing a quick reflection (like this)?   If so, please get in touch with our current alumni office James Andow (


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Julia Mosquera at the British Society for Ethical Theory

Reading PhD student Julia Mosquera, who is writing a thesis on ethics and disability, has had her submission to this summer’s British Society for Ethical Theory (BSET) conference accepted for presentation and subsequent publication in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.

Congratulations, Julia!

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Beyond a Philosophy Degree

Here’s a quick profile of one of the department’s graduates who go in touch to let us know how studying philosophy with us has influenced her subsequent career.

I am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist and studied my Masters at the School of Psychotherapy and Psychology at Regents College, and Supervision training at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling in London.   Here is my website.

The psychological approach of both colleges is based on Existential philosophy so we considered many philosophers including the works of Sartre, Heidegger, and Nietzsche. Having already studied philosophy I was familiar with some of their works, but more importantly I felt comfortable with how to approach, discuss and digest philosophy.  I also utilised the skills, developed at Reading, of considering how philosophy can be applied to everyday life, how it is important to take the time out of our busy schedules to consider the bigger picture – that life is finite, we make our own choices in life and have to take responsibility for that.   The issue of Sartre’s ‘bad faith’, which I first learnt about at Reading, is something that has been particularly pertinent to me in my life and I still think of this often in my work with clients.

To have a philosophical approach to life is a very valuable thing. It is easy in our lives to get caught up in trivia, superficiality and short term issues. The ability to take a step back, analyse and reflect is something that I endeavour to do on a regular basis (and have to remind myself to do), even whilst doing something as simple as reading a newspaper.  I hope this is something the students can keep hold of in whatever line of work they end up in.

Are you an alumnus of the department and would like to share your story?  Do get in touch with our current alumni officer,

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Studying Abroad in Ottawa with Reading Philosophy


Lawrence Rickard is a Reading BA philosophy student, and is studying abroad at the University of Ottawa for Autumn/Fall 2015.

Lawrence Rickard in Ottawa

When I discovered I had the opportunity to study at uOttawa and be in the capital of Canada I jumped at the chance! Being raised in London, I was keen to see how the two capital cities compared with one another.

The study abroad application was quite a long process. The university nominated me to study at the University of Ottawa around six months before I left to study abroad, and asked me to I fill in my application online via Moveon. After submitting my application and I was accepted to study at uOttawa, I was given permission by uOttawa and Reading to choose five modules.

Although the application process was time consuming, the study abroad office made the whole process very simple. The study abroad office gave concise answers to any queries I had concerning my studying abroad application. From questions concerning grade transcripts to questions about whether I would need a study permit. My study abroad co-ordinator also helped me with any problems I had with module selection.

Once I got to Ottawa I immediately realised that the hard work paid off! My experience of studying abroad has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I’m incredibly grateful that I was given the opportunity. I’ve made a number of Canadian and international friends from all around the world! Canada is full of the most welcoming people that I have ever met!

The whole experience has also given me a lot more confidence, and has helped me become more independent. I’ve gained a greater understanding of different cultures, and furthered my interest in learning more about Canada and other cultures.

uOttawa is a great place to study! A lot of my classes were in the Tabaret building which is the main building advertised on the uOttawa website. My professors were able to help me with any questions I had in class. The university also had a more relaxed approach than at Reading when it came to deadlines and many professors gave extensions if students were unable to hand in their work on time. At Reading I’m usually given two essays and one exam which takes place in the summer term for each module, but at Ottawa I was given essays weekly. In addition to this, I also had midterms after reading week and finals exams in December. Although the uOttawa system is vastly different to what I’m used to at Reading I had very few problems with adapting to the system at Ottawa.

The university is also in the center of Ottawa, and everything was within walking distance from the campus! I was able to walk to ByWard Market, Rideau Canal, Parliament hill, and a number of other sights in Ottawa with ease! I also visited galleries and museums within Ottawa, and the surrounding areas, such as the Museum of History. It is easy to walk across the bridge to Gatineau, and you can see great views of Parliament Hill from the Museum of History! Going on trips to the surrounding areas was fairly easy! Be sure to go to ice hockey matches if you are interested in sports and try beavertails (a Canadian pastry not an actual beaver tail!) if you decide to study in Canada.

I would definitely recommend studying abroad at uOttawa, and applying through the exchange program at Reading. Both Reading and uOttawa have made the experience a highlight of my degree. I’ve had the opportunity to go across the world to study at a different university system, learn about new cultures and I’ve made great friends in the process! Studying abroad at Ottawa is an experience that I will never forget and is something that I will encourage anyone to do if they have the opportunity to do so!

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Christmas Update

As Christmas approaches, Reading philosophy staff continue to be busy! Here are some snippets of recent and forthcoming activity.

Dr James Andow has presented his research in Keele and Bochum (Germany) and working on revisions for a number of papers.  This includes”Zebras, Intransigence & Semantic Apocalypse: Problems for Dispositional Metasemantics”, which has just been accepted for publication in Philosophia. He has also been organising a conference to take place in the new year. Sneaky plug: the joint Ratio Conference and annual Experimental Philosophy UK conference will take place 23-24 April (see the website for more details!).

Professor Emma Borg gave a Work in Progress talk at here at Reading in November, and is looking forward to giving a talk at Graveney Academy School in London at the start of January.

After a day at Edinburgh devoted to papers focused on his work in October, Professor Jonathan Dancy more recently gave a talk in London as part of the current Royal Institute of Philosophy series of lectures on Action. Having given the graduate class in the Autumn term, he is going to Tucson in Arizona in January to try to convince the Americans that they don’t understand instrumental reasoning – a tough call! After that he will be teaching at the University of Texas at Austin until May, when he returns to the UK and will be giving the final Masterclass of his 3-year appointment here at Reading.

Dr Nat Hansen gave a masterclass on context sensitivity on “Context Sensitivity: Evidence and Explanations”, and a talk to the Pervasive Context Conference on “Cross-Cultural Context Sensitivity” (both at Peking University in October). Three of his papers were published online: “A New Argument from Interpersonal Variation to Subjectivism about Color: A Response to Gómez-Torrente” was published in Noûs, “Linguistic Experiments and Ordinary Language Philosophy” (written with Emmanuel Chemla) was published in Ratio, and “Experimental Philosophy of Language” was published in Oxford Handbooks Online. In the spring, Nat will be giving invited talks at the Institute of Philosophy’s Logic, Epistemology, and Metaphysics Forum, to the Psychology department at City University London, and at the theoretical philosophy colloquium at the University of Zürich. 

Professor David Oderberg spoke at Winchester College in November on ‘Why You Should be an Essentialist’. In December he was interviewed by the Bioethics blog BioEdge about the current state of bioethics.

Dr James Stazicker was in Paris in November, at a Sorbonne conference about Consciousness and Accessibility, where he gave a keynote talk on ‘Access, Consciousness and Higher-Order Inexactness’. In December he was at the Mind, Metaphysics and Psychology seminar at King’s College London to talk about his paper, ‘Self-Knowledge, Perceptual Evidence and the Significance of Consciousness’.

This term the Department hosted a successful fortnightly seminar, on Descartes’ Meditations, for PhD students from Chinese Universities on the UK/China Scholarship scheme.

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Philosophy in Schools in Reading

Exciting developments in bringing philosophy to Reading schools!  ‘Philosophy at Reading’ or ‘PaR’ is a new outreach programme in which students from the department are going out into a number of schools in Reading. This term they’ve been running sessions on philosophical topics including the Ring of Gyges, Global Warming, Locke and Jessica Rabbit. We hope Philosophy at Reading will go from strength to strength.  So if you are a student who would like to get involved, or a teacher at a school who would be interested in introducing your students to philosophical reflection — please get in touch with Geraldine Ng, PAR project leader! (

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China Scholarship Council Studentships 2016

The University of Reading is delighted to offer two scholarships for PhD study at Reading, offering joint funding alongside the China Scholarship Council (CSC). The scholarships will be available to two selected candidates who are successful in securing China Scholarship Council (CSC) funding for October 2016.

Under this funding opportunity, the University will fund the tuition fee and a £1K p.a. training and development allowance, while CSC funding provides an annual living allowance that includes overseas student health cover and visa application fees.

For details, see here.

What is available?

There are two awards available for entry in Autumn 2016. These scholarships will be awarded to students aiming to study in one of the following research areas:
Climate and environmental change
Agriculture and food security
Health and well-being

Prospective candidates in philosophy should have proposals that look at philosophical aspects of one of the above themes. Examples could be:
– the metaphysics and/or semantics of pain
– climate change and ethics, e.g. climate justice and future generations
– distributive justice and fairness, e.g. of food and related resources

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Reading University International Research Scholarships

Seven PhD studentships for Non-EU students.
Now Open for Applications! Deadline 29 January 2016.

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PhD Studentships at Reading: SWW Doctoral Training Partnership, 2016

PhD studentships in Philosophy at the University of Reading.

The South, West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership is delighted to offer up to 56 Arts and Humanities Research Council studentships for entry in September 2016. The awards will be made on the basis of academic merit, with no fixed quota assigned to any one institution or subject area within the DTP. Philosophy typically does well in this competition, usually winning around 8-10 studentships across the five departments in the consortium.

The Philosophy Department at Reading is looking for students from the UK or EU with evidence of exceptional promise for PhD study. You will have a compelling project that will benefit from the expertise we can offer, in and across a range of subjects, and from our rich archival resources and network of professional partners. The Philosophy Department at the University of Reading can cover most core areas of philosophy, but has particular strengths in moral philosophy, philosophy of language, and Wittgenstein. Please see below for a full list of areas of expertise.

The competition opens on Monday 30th November and closes on Monday 11th January.

You must apply both for a graduate place at the University of Reading and for an SWW DTP studentship. The former application is separate and independent of the latter, so you must complete both.

Studentships involve joint supervision, usually at different universities within the SWW consortium, but sometimes at a single institution, and sometimes in different departments within the same institution (for example, Philosophy and Politics). Applications are assessed on (a) strength of research proposal, (b) calibre of applicant, and (c) fit with proposed supervisory team.

If you intend to apply, you should contact possible supervisors directly yourself, to see whether your proposal would fit with their interest and expertise. They will also assist you with the drafting of your proposal and other application-related matters.

If you are interested in applying for a 2016 studentship, you are expected to attend the SWW DTP’s Information Day, on Monday 23rd November at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Attendance is not compulsory, but you must notify the Consortium if you do not plan to attend.

There are a limited number of places available at the Information Day so attendance is by invitation only. We therefore ask all applicants to register their interest in advance of the event – you will also be required to submit an approx 200 word statement about your proposed research project.

To register your interest, please go here. Registration for the Information Day will close at 11.59pm on Friday 6th November.

Research interests of supervisors at the University of Reading:

Prof. Emma Borg

Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, Cognitive Science

Prof. Max de Gaynesford

Philosophy of Mind and Language; Philosophy of Logic; Epistemology; History of 20th Century Philosophy (Heidegger; Wittgenstein; Putnam; McDowell); Philosophy of Poetry; Philosophy of Film.

Dr Luke Elson

Meta-ethics, Moral Philosophy, Vagueness

Dr Nat Hansen

Philosophy of Language, Contextualism in Epistemology and Language, Semantics and Pragmatics, Philosophy of J.L. Austin, Ordinary Language Philosophy.

Prof. Brad Hooker

Moral and Political Philosophy, especially Consequentialism, Fairness, Buck-passing, and Particularism.

Prof. David Oderberg

Metaphysics, especially Essentialism, Powers, Laws, Neo-Aristotelianism, Aquinas, Natural Law Ethics, Philosophy of Religion

Prof. John Preston

Philosophy of Natural Science, Philosophy of Social Science, Cognitive Science, Wittgenstein, Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of AI.

Dr Severin Schroeder

Wittgenstein, Philosophy of Language, Aesthetics, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche

Dr James Stazicker

Philosophy of Mind, Cognitive Science, Consciousness, Philosophy of Perception

Prof Philip Stratton-Lake

Moral Philosophy, especially Ethical Intuitionism, Moral Epistemology, Value Theory, Kant.


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