Dr James MacAllister

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education


I was awarded a PhD in the philosophy of education from the University of Edinburgh in 2011. Prior to this I qualified as a primary school teacher, joined the Scottish police service and taught in Edinburgh primary schools. I have also worked at the University of Manchester and the University of Stirling.

Responsibilities & affiliations

I lead the Philosophy of Education Pathway of the MSc Education.

Postgraduate teaching

I lead the Ethics, Education and Films course and previously led the Philosophy of Education course. 

Research summary

My research explores connections between philosophy and education with a particular focus on ethical challenges and issues in education. My first book, a research monograph with Routledge entitled 'Reclaiming Discipline for Education: Knowledge, relationships and the birth of community', was published in late 2016. I have also written about the educational thinking of the Scottish philosophers John Macmurray, Ronald Hepburn and Alasdair MacIntyre.

Current research interests

I am currently working on my second research monograph with Routledge entitled 'Educational Institutions and the Common Good'. I have emerging interests in environmental philosophy and education as well as in the role that films might play in ethical education.

Past research interests

In the past I have conducted philosophical inquiries in the following areas: how school discipline might become more educational, what rights children should bear if any, physical education, the curriculum for excellence in Scotland, the importance of personal life in education, virtue epistemology and education, and the purposes of educational institutions. I was also co-investigator on an ESRC funded project on the rights and autonomy of children with additional support needs from 2017-2019.

Project activity

  • Co-Investigator on large ESRC funded project on the rights of children with additional support needs 2017-2019
  • In 2017 I was awarded a small travel grant from the Philosophy of Education Society for Great Britain to present a paper at the International Society for MacIntyrean Enquiry in Paris
  • Between 2014-2015 I worked on a project on Discipline and Moral Education for which I was PI. This project was funded by the Journal of Moral Education Trust.

View all 29 publications on Research Explorer