Head of Philosophy
Matthew Chrisman is a Professor in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. His research is focused on ethical theory, political philosophy, the philosophy of language, and epistemology. He has published widely in these areas, including books with Oxford University Press and Routledge and articles in Noûs, The Journal of Philosophy, the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophers' Imprint and Philosophical Studies.
Ph.D. Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2006
M.A. Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2002
B.A. Rice University, Houston Texas, 1999
Responsibilities & affiliations
Head of Philosophy.
Member of the Young Academy of Scotland, Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Matthew routinely teaches the following undergraduate courses at the University of Edinburgh:
- Morality and Value (lectures on the Status of Morality, Social Contract Theory, Why Be Moral, Kantianism, Contractualism, Virtue Ethics)
- Philosophy of Action
- Environmental Ethics
Student consultation hours:
Tuesday 2-3pm during term time (or by appointment)
Matthew routinely teaches the following masters-level courses at the University of Edunburgh
- Advanced Philosophical Method (MSc)
- Further Topics in Meta-Ethics (MSc)
- Environmental Ethics (MSc)
Open to PhD supervision enquiries?
Areas of interest for supervision
Matthew welcomes applications from students wishing to do research on any of his areas of research interest: (i) Metaethics, especially the meaning of ethical statements and the nature of ethical concepts, (ii) Normative thought and language, especially the meaning of ‘ought’ and the nature of rules and norms, (iii) Epistemology, especially epistemic norms and the nature of doxastic agency and virtue, (iv) Philosophy of Language, especially the theory of meaningfulness and the interaction between semantics and metasemantics, (v) Political Philosophy, especially the role of public discourse, civil disobedience and the speech-act of protest.
Current PhD students supervised
Past PhD students supervised
John O’Connor (2009-2016, part-time): Moral Naturalism and Self-Constitution (secured employment as the Prior of Blackfriars Oxford; and then Assistant Editor, New Blackfriars and a Member of Pastoral Team, St Albert’s University Chaplaincy and Parish)
Alan Wilson (2011-2015): On the Nature, Identity and Possibility of the Moral Virtues (secured employment as Visiting Lecturer, University of Glasgow; and then postdoc Wake Forest University)
Sebastian Köhler (2010-2014): Beyond Frege Geach - Neglected Challenges for Expressivism (secured employment as visiting assistant professor, Princeton University and then assistant professor, Universität Duisburg-Essen)
Ashley Taylor (2010-2014): The Circumstances of Justice: An Alternative Account (secured employment as visiting assistant professor, University of Toronto, and then visiting lecturer, University of Sheffield)
Sam Wilkinson (2009-2013): Monothematic Delusions and the Nature of Belief (secured employment as 2-year postdoc, Durham University)
Raymond Critch (2007-2010): Autonomy, Fraternity, and Legitimacy: Foundations for a New Communitarianism (secured employment as assistant professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland)
Matthew's textbook What Is This Thing Called Metaethics? was published with Routledgein 2016.
Matthew's edited collection (with Nate Charlow) Deontic Modality was published by Oxford University Press in 2016.
Matthew's monograph The Meaning of 'Ought': Beyond Descriptivism and Expressivism in Metaethics was published by Oxford University Press in 2016.
Current research interestsMatthew's research has five interrelated strands. (i) Metaethics, especially the meaning of ethical statements and the nature of ethical concepts, (ii) Normative thought and language, especially the meaning of ‘ought’ and the nature of rules and norms, (iii) Epistemology, especially epistemic norms and the nature of doxastic agency and virtue, (iv) Philosophy of Language, especially the theory of meaningfulness and the interaction between semantics and metasemantics, (v) Political Philosophy, especially the role of public discourse, civil disobedience and the speech-act of protest.
Matthew organised Should You Trust What You Hear (About Science): An Enlightenment Debate: Hume vs. Reid, a public debate at the Edinburgh International Science Festival in 2015.
Matthew helped to develop and continue to contribute to Introduction to Philosophy a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): www.coursera.org/course/introphil.
Under his lead, members of the MOOC team have developed a popular book Philosophy for Everyone (Routledge 2014, expanded 2nd edition 2016) on the basis of this course.
Affiliated research centres
Current project grants
Matthew is the PI on Foundations of Normativity (www.foundationsofnormativity.wordpress.com) an International and Interdisciplinary Research Grant funded through the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, £30K, 2015-17, to pursue an international and interdisciplinary research network across Philosophy, Law, and Politics between University of Edinburgh and several other institutions.