Debbie Roberts



Debbie Roberts joined Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh in 2014. She was a lecturer in Philosophy at the University of York from 2011-14. Before that, she was a teaching fellow at the University of Sussex. She completed her PhD at the University of Reading in 2011, supervised by Jonathan Dancy and Philip Stratton-Lake. Before moving to the UK to study for her PhD she was a lecturer in the School of Philosophy and Ethics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. 


  • 'Why Believe in Normative Supervenience?' provisionally forthcoming in Oxford Studies in Metaethics, ed. Russ Shafer-Landau
  • 'Thick Concepts' Forthcoming in The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics, ed. Tristram McPherson and David Plunkett (Routledge)
  • 'The Naturalistic Fallacy, Naturalism and the Fact-Value Distinction' Forthcoming in The Naturalistic Fallacy ed. Neil Sinclair (CUP)
  • 'Nonnaturalism and Dependence' Forthcoming in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplemetary Volume
  • 'Thick Epistemic Concepts' Forthcoming in Metaepistemology ed. Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way and Daniel Whiting (OUP)
  • Latest research publications

Professional service

  • Associate Editor, Analysis July 2016-
  • Mind Executive Committee July 2015-
  • BSET Director 2011-15


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Responsibilities & affiliations

  • PPLS PG Deputy Director (PG Director from January 2017)
  • Philosophy Postgraduate e-Learning Programme

Undergraduate teaching

  • Normative theory (Hons/MSc)
  • Metaethics (Hons/MSc)
  • Ethics (Online MSc)
  • Advanced Ethics (Online MSc)
  • Introduction to Philosophical Methods and Advanced Philosophical Methods (Online MSc)
  • Deontology on the first year Morality and Value course

Student consultation hours 

  • On campus students: Mondays 10-11 (term time) or please contact me to make an appointment.
  • Online students: please contact me to make an appointment. 



Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am interested in supervising students working in metaethics, particularly on issues to do with realism, naturalism and nonnaturalism, the metaphysics of the normative (supervenience, explanation and grounding, for example) and thick concepts and the nature of evalution.

Current PhD students supervised

Research summary

Moral Philosophy, particularly metaethics and related areas.

Current research interests

Most of her research to date has been on thick evaluative concepts and the nature of the evalutive. Currently she is mainly working on issues to do with the metaphysics of the normative, including conceptions of naturalism and non-naturalism, grounding and supervenience, and in exploring certain parallels between metaethics and philosophy of maths. She's also thinking about the distinction between first and second order ethical theories. She's happy to consider proposals from research students wanting to work on any of these topics.