Programme overview

This programme provides the ideal foundation for future research, such as in our PhD programme

With one of the largest philosophy departments in the world, we offer you a wide choice of subject areas to study and a diverse, supportive learning environment.

You can keep your studies general or focus on one of the areas of philosophy where we have particular strength.

Philosophy at Edinburgh is well-known for its research strength in Epistemology, Ethics and Meta-Ethics, Philosophy of Science, and Mind and Cognition, but we have recently developed new areas of specialisation, in Gender and Race, Applied Ethics, and Enlightenment Philosophy.

You can also take advantage of the highly interdisciplinary nature of research within Philosophy and draw on teaching and research both elsewhere in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences and within other relevant Schools.

Our specialisations include:

Gender and race

Examine, from a philosophical perspective, the nature of gender and race and the role these categories play in shaping the social world and structuring human lives.

Staff working in this area:

    Research interests
Tommy J Curry photo
Tommy J Curry Understanding racism as a kind of misandric aggression used by modern democratic societies to recreate the ethnological category of the brute that legitimizes the criminalization and extermination of racialized (outgroup) males
Aidan McGlynn
Aidan McGlynn Scepticism, immunity to error through misidentification, self-knowledge, standpoint epistemology, epistemic injustice, pornography, silencing, and objectification
Filipa Melo Lopes photo
Filipa Melo Lopes Social Theory/Social Metaphysics, Feminist Philosophy (including History of Feminist Thought), Philosophy of Disability and Philosophy of Sexuality

Previous dissertation titles have included ‘Gender stereotypes and under-representation', 'Sexual Harassment, Sexual Refusal and Speech Acts', ‘Epistemic Injustice and Objectification’, or ‘Misogyny and Dehumanization – are women human?’, ‘Critical Race Theory and the Illusion of Democratic Inclusivity’, ‘Black Male Studies and the Problem of Genre’, or ‘Child Sexual Abuse: Race, Class, and Trauma’.

Applied ethics

Applied ethics is the branch of ethics which consists of the analysis of specific, controversial moral issues such as abortion, animal rights, or euthanasia.

Staff working in this area:

    Research interests
Michael Cholbi
Michael Cholbi Kantian ethics, death and dying,ethics of work and labor, paternalism, procreative and parental ethics
  Michael Gill Humean moral philosophy; moral pluralism
Michael Ridge
Michael Ridge Meta-ethical expressivism; ecumenical expressivism; moral particularism and moral generalism
Shannon Vallor

Shannon Vallor

Exploring how new technologies, especially AI, robotics, and data science, reshape human moral character, habits, and practices

Possible dissertation topics include physician-assisted suicide, grief, the death penalty, or the philosophy of games.

Enlightenment philosophy

Enlightenment was a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and humanity were synthesised into world view that gained wide assent in the West and that instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy and politics.

Staff working in this area:

    Research interests
Michael Cholbi
Michael Cholbi Kantian ethics, death and dying,ethics of work and labor, paternalism, procreative and parental ethics
Alix Cohen
Alix Cohen Kant’s ethics, Kantian ethics, ethics of belief, epistemic normativity
Jonathan Cottrell photo
Jonathan Cottrell Early Modern Philosophy, especially David Hume's philosophy
  Michael Gill Humean moral philosophy; moral pluralism
Michela Massimi
Michela Massimi Philosophy of Science, History of Philosophy, Kant

Dissertation topics could be on any aspect of philosophy; Kant, Hume, Shaftesbury, or more broadly the philosophy of the Enlightenment.

Postgraduate online session

Watch a recording of the recent online information session introducing MSc Philosophy for entry in 2021.