The history of philosophy, from the ancient through modern to recent developments
Work in the history of philosophy is active and varied at Edinburgh, spanning ancient philosophy from the pre-socratics right up to the emergence of analytic philosophy and its linguistic turn. Whether it is ancient metaphysics, philosophy of science in modern philosophy, British empiricists or analytic philosophy, our work in the history of philosophy profits from interacting with our colleagues working in the same areas of contemporary philosophy. Naturally, scholarship is part of our practice of the history of philosophy and several of us have contributed to canonical editions of important works in the history of philosophy.
In ancient philosophy our interests span a wide range of topics including philosophy in late antiquity, early medicine, science and, of course metaphysics. We are working to understand early modern and modern philosophers who contributed to debates on ethics, language, science, and the nature of existence—to name a few. With expertise in early modern philosophy our interests also extend to subsequent developments such as the German Romantics and British Hegelians. In the twentieth century, we are working on phenomenology and early analytic philosophy.
Our researchers collaborate across disciplines, especially with colleagues in Classics, Divinity, History, English, Politics and other inter-disciplinary venues such as the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH). Along with colleagues based in Classics, we have contributed to major projects such as the Oxford Classical Text of Plato and the Archelogos databases of ancient philosophy arguments.
Philosophy staff working in the history of philosophy at Edinburgh include:
|Dr Alix Cohen||Early modern philosophy, Kant, Kantian ethics, Rousseau, Hume|
|Dr Guy Fletcher||Ethics, Mill|
|Dr Inna Kupreeva||Ancient and medieval philosophy and science, Aristotelian tradition|
|Dr David Levy||Platonic moral philosophy, Simone Weil, Wittgenstein|
|Dr Andrew Mason||Ancient philosophy and aesthetics, Plato, 18th century Scottish Philosophy especially ethics, aesthetics and philosophy of religion|
|Professor Michela Massimi||Kant, philosophy of science, early modern philosophy|
|Professor Pauline Phemister||17th century philosophy, Leibniz, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, philosophy and the natural world|
|Dr Bryan Pickel||History of analytic philosophy|
|Dr Alasdair Richmond||Berkeley, metaphysics of time, philosophy of science, British empiricists, epistemology, philosophy of explanation|
|Professor Theodore Scaltsas||Ancient metaphysics, ancient ethics, contemporary metaphysics|
|Dr David Ward||Kant, Hegel, Merleau-Ponty, phenomenology|
Staff in other departments with interests in the history of philosophy include:
|Dr Thomas Ahnert (History)||Law and moral philosophy, intellectual history of early modern Europe, early modern religious thought, interdisciplinary connections in the early modern period, enlightenment responses to classical antiquity, reception of Newtonian science in Germany|
|Professor Emily Brady (GeoSciences)||Aesthetics and environmental ethics, especially: landscape and aesthetic values, aesthetics of nature in the history of philosophy, Kant's aesthetics, theories of imagination and emotion, environment and the self, aesthetics of the everyday, interdisciplinary animal studies|
|Professor Douglas Cairns (Classics)||Greek society and ethics, emotions|
|Professor John Cairns (Law)||Legal thought and legal education in the Scottish enlightenment|
|Professor Andrew Erskine (Classics)||Hellenistic political philosophy|
|Professor David Fergusson (Divinity)||Reformed theology from the 16th century to present day, relationship between church and society, political liberalism, natural sciences|
|Dr Benjamin Gray (Classics)||Greek ethical and political thought, especially fourth-century BC and Hellenistic|
|Dr Sara Parvis (Divinity)||Early Christian philosophy, patristics|
|Dr Nicholas Phillipson (History)||Cultural and intellectual history of early modern and modern Scotland, especially the Scottish enlightenment; early-modern British and French political thought|
|Dr Simon Trepanier (Classics)||Presocratics, papyrology|
|Professor Charlie Withers (GeoSciences)||Historical geography of science; geography, travel and exploration; geography and the Enlightenment; histories of cartography|
MSc in Philosophy (specialisations in historical periods available)
We regularly organise events around themes in the history of philosophy, including conferences, seminars and reading groups, for example:
Scottish Seminar for Early Modern Philosophy (April 2017)
You can see a full list of philosophy reading groups and research seminars below. In addition, there are many relevant seminars within classics, theology, history, politics and other subjects that may also of interest to scholars and students of the history of philosophy. The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities compiles a list of these events across the college.