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.


PhD Philosophy of Education, University of Edinburgh

MSc Philosophy (Distinction), University of Edinburgh

MSc Education, University of Edinburgh

BEd (Hons) Primary, University of Edinburgh

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

My more recent research explores the role that film and other arts might might play in ethics education. I am also writing about environmental tragedy and education for sustainability through film. I am currently working on my second research monograph with Routledge entitled 'Tragedy, Film & Ethics Education: An Evolutionary Aristotelian Philosophy'.

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.