Nick Treanor

Head of Philosophy

  • Philosophy
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details

Address

Street

Room 6.01, Dugald Stewart Building

City
3 Charles Street, Edinburgh
Post code
EH8 9AD

Background

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 metaphysics, epistemology and the philosophy of mind. 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 the PPLS Equality & Diversity Committee
  • Philosophy Highlands Weekend Founder & Coordinator
  • Executive Committee of the Scots Phil Association
  • Member of PPLS School Executive Committee
  • Member of the School Management Committee
  • Elected Member of the Senatus Academicus

Undergraduate teaching

My main teaching areas at Edinburgh are epistemology, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics, but I love teaching outside my research specialization and taught courses in Aesthetics, Ancient, Early Modern, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Religion and Political Philosophy.

Since 2013, I have been running an annual trip to the Scottish Highlands for philosophy students; this year it was to Braemar, in the Cairngorms National Park.

Office Hours: These are now online, please look for me on Microsoft Teams or email Nicola.Cairncross@ed.ac.uk for an appointment.

Postgraduate teaching

I have taught a variety of Master's courses at Edinburgh and elsewhere, and am currently involved in the launch of an interdisciplinary Master's programme focused on major infrastructure projects; I am co-teaching a course that brings insights from Philosophy to the management of these projects. More details here: https://tinyurl.com/LeadingMajorProgrammes

 

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?

Yes

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".