Theory of knowledge, scepticism, and epistemic values

Epistemology is one of the central areas of philosophy, and one of the most exciting in the contemporary philosophical landscape. We work on epistemological issues such as scepticism (including its history), epistemic value, contextualism, social epistemology, epistemic responsibility, perceptual knowledge, rationality, the nature of cognitive processes, and virtue epistemology.

Research questions

Research issues that are of particular interest to those working in epistemology at the University of Edinburgh:

  • Why, if at all, are epistemic standings valuable?
  • What constitutes a cognitive process?
  • How should one best understand, and respond to, the problem of scepticism?
  • How should one understand the notion of an epistemic virtue and what role, if any, does it play in a theory of knowledge?
  • What, if anything, ought I to believe?


Core philosophy faculty working in epistemology at Edinburgh include:

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Research interests
Professor Matthew Chrisman Metaethics, philosophy of language, epistemology, political philosophy.
Dr Aidan McGlynn Epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, feminism.
Professor Duncan Pritchard The problem of scepticism, the epistemic externalism/internalism distinction, the rationality of religious belief, testimony, the relationship between epistemic and content externalism, virtue epistemology, epistemic value, modal epistemology, the history of scepticism, epistemological contextualism.
Dr Wolfgang Schwartz Formal epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, logic.

Dr Martin Smith

Epistemology, logic, philosophy of law.
Dr Nick Treanor Metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind.

Other faculty and post-docs with interests in Epistemology include:

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Research interests
Dr Emma Gordon Epistemology (especially intellectual virtue and understanding), bioethics.
Dr Alasdair Richmond Early modern epistemology, metaphysics (especially time and space), philosophy of science, British empiricists, Hume.
Professor Mike Ridge Epistemic values, moral and political philosophy, action theory, philosophy of mind.

Dr Anders Schoubye

Philosophy of language, formal semantics, pragmatics, formal epistemology, logic, philosophy of mind.
Dr Mog Stapleton Philosophy of cognitive science, affective science, embodiment.

Postgraduate study

MSc Philosophy (specialisation in Epistemology available)

MSc in Epistemology, Ethics and Mind (full online course)

PhD and MSc by Research programmes

Meetings and events

The Epistemology Research Group organises a fortnightly visiting speaker seminar during the semester time. Everyone with an interest in epistemology is welcome to attend.

Epistemology research group (ERG) seminar series

The postgraduate students in the research group also meet regularly during term time to discuss readings in epistemology.

Epistemology reading group

We also organised a range of workshops and conferences - see below for more details.