James Hutton

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

  • Philosophy
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Room 8.16

40 George Square, Edinburgh
Post code


  • Meetings by appointment.


For the period 2021-2024, I am Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

My research examines what role emotions should play in ethical thinking and decision-making. My big project is to defend the idea that we can acquire ethical knowledge through emotion. I'm trying to articulate a comprehensive account of how emotion provides epistemological foundations for all our ethical knowledge. In my view, the most interesting/difficult questions in this area relate to the reliability of ethical emotion. Consequently, my work gives a nonideal account that explains how unexceptional people like you or me can make reliable ethical judgments on the basis of emotion, even though our emotions are pretty imperfect. This means that, as well as theorizing about moral epistemology, I'm interested in making practical suggestions for improving moral methodology, suggestions about how we can make better use of our emotions when making ethical judgments.

If you want to read some of my work, a good starting point is my article 'Moral Experience: Perception or Emotion?' published in Ethics in April 2022: https://doi.org/10.1086/718079

Besides this, I have research interests in the history of philosophy. I've published articles on Kant's epistemology, with a focus on causal reasoning, epistemic norms, and mental representation. I'm currently working on a mini-project on Kant's criticisms of Moral Sense ethics, focusing on the work of Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746).



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PhD Philosophy, University of Cambridge 2019

MPhil Philosophy, University of Cambridge, 2015

MA Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest, 2014

BA Philosophy & German, University of Oxford, 2013