Nick Treanor

Head of Philosophy

  • Philosophy
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Room 6.01, Dugald Stewart Building

3 Charles Street, Edinburgh
Post code


Nick Treanor is a Reader in Philosophy and head of the department. Before coming to Edinburgh in 2012, he was the Newton Trust Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Churchill College. He works in epistemology, the philosophy of mind and language, and metaphysics. He is originally from North America, where he did an undergraduate degree at Queen's University (Canada) and a PhD at Brown University (USA).

In 2017, Nick was awarded the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Student Experience.

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Head of Philosophy
  • Member of the University Task Force on Student Belonging
  • Member of PPLS School Executive Committee
  • Member of the School Management Committee
  • Elected Member of the Senatus Academicus
  • Member of the PPLS Equality & Diversity Committee
  • Philosophy Highlands Weekend Founder & Coordinator
  • Executive Committee of the Scots Phil Association

Undergraduate teaching

My main teaching areas at Edinburgh are epistemology, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics, but before moving to Edinburgh I taught these subjects as well as courses in aesthetics, ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, philosophy of language and philosophy of science.

I also run the Honours Philosophy Weekend, which I started in autumn 2013. 

Student Consultation Hours: Please email for an appointment

by appointment, or feel free to drop by my office

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Research summary

Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind and Language

Current research interests

It’s natural to think that how much we know changes over time. What could seem more obvious and unremarkable, for example, than the claim that I know more now than I did when I was 10 years old? Or that I know more about Edinburgh than I did before I moved here? Yet when we think carefully about what it is for knowledge to grow, about what an amount of knowledge is, and about what it is for one amount of knowledge to be more or less than another, deep and interesting problems surface. The issue is partly one for the philosophy of mind, given that the question concerns the nature of belief, and what a quantity of belief is. But it is equally a question for metaphysics and the philosophy of language, since it ultimately concerns the structure of what is true. My research focuses on understanding this quantitative dimension of knowledge and ignorance, its connection to central issues in mind, metaphysics and philosophy of language, and its ramifications for the foundations of epistemic normativity. The questions overlap since as Stalnaker has said "one can never fully disentangle questions about the nature of representation from questions about the nature of what is represented".