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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Stephen Mumford

Personal web page

Head of Department/Chair of BoS/Curriculum Officer/Athena Swan/Deputy Impact Officer in the Department of Philosophy

(email at

I am author of Dispositions (Oxford, 1998), Russell on Metaphysics (Routledge, 2003), Laws in Nature (Routledge, 2004), David Armstrong (Acumen, 2007), Watching Sport: Aesthetics, Ethics and Emotion (Routledge, 2011), Getting Causes from Powers (Oxford, 2011 with Rani Lill Anjum), Metaphysics: a Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2012) and Causation: a Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2013 with Rani Lill Anjum). I was editor of George Molnar's posthumous Powers: a Study in Metaphysics (Oxford, 2003) and Metaphysics and Science (Oxford, 2013 with Matthew Tugby). My PhD was from the University of Leeds in 1994 and I was at Nottingham between 1995 and 2016, serving served as Head of the Department of Philosophy, Head of the School of Humanities and Dean of the Faculty of Arts. I am currently completing a number of book projects: What Tends to Be: Essays on the Dispositional Modality and Causation in Science: on the Methods of Scientific Discovery (both with Rani Lill Anjum). I will shortly be publishing my first philosophical novel, Glimpse of Light (Bloomsbury). From 2016 to 2019 I will be on leave as I hold a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to work on the metaphysics of nothingness and absence. The project will result in a book to be called Nothing Really Matters.


I supervise theses and dissertations primarily in metaphysics.


Research Groups

Department of Philosophy

Research Interests

  • Metaphysics (esp. absences and causal powers)
  • Philosophy of Medicine
  • History of Philosophy (esp. Ancient Philosophy and Hume)
  • Philosophy of Sport
  • Modality


Authored book

  • Anjum, Rani Lill & Mumford, Stephen (2018). Causation in Science and the methods of scientific discovery. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Anjum, Rani Lill & Mumford, Stephen (2018). What Tends to Be. Routledge.
  • Mumford, S. & Anjum, R.L. (2012). Getting Causes from Powers. Oxford University Press.
  • Molnar, G. & Mumford, S. (2011). Powers: A Study in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
  • Mumford, S. (2010). David Armstrong. Acumen Publishing Limited.
  • Mumford, S. (2004). Laws in nature. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Mumford, S. (2003). Dispositions. Oxford University Press.

Chapter in book

  • Mumford, S. & Anjum, R.L. (2018). Powers and potentiality. In Springer Netherlands. 261-278.
  • Anjum, R.L. & Mumford, S. (2017). Emergence and demergence. In Taylor and Francis. 92-109.
  • Briceño, Sebastián & Mumford, Stephen (2016). Relations all the way down? Against Ontic Structural Realism. In The Metaphysics of Relations. Marmodoro, Anna & Yates, David Oxford: Oxford University Press. 198-217.
  • Mumford, S. (2016). The aesthetics in football: The beautiful game? In Taylor and Francis Inc. 236-244.
  • Mumford, S. (2013). A new solution to the problem of negative truth. In De Gruyter Mouton. 313-329.
  • Mumford, S. (2013). A pornographic way of seeing. In Palgrave Macmillan. 58-72.
  • Mumford, S. & Anjum, R.L. (2013). Causal dispositionalism. In Taylor and Francis. 101-118.
  • Anjum, R.L., Lie, S.A.N. & Mumford, S. (2013). Dispositions and ethics. In Taylor and Francis. 231-247.
  • Mumford, S. (2013). The power of power. In Taylor and Francis. 9-24.
  • Mumford, S. & Anjum, R.L. (2013). With great power comes great responsibility. In Walter de Gruyter GmbH. 219-238.
  • Mumford, S. (2012). Filled in space. In Ashgate Publishing Ltd. 67-80.
  • Mumford, S. & Anjum, R.L. (2010). A powerful theory of causation. In Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 9780203851289: 143-159.
  • Mumford, S. (2010). Causal Powers and Capacities. In Oxford University Press.
  • Mumford, S. (2009). Ascribing dispositions. In Walter de Gruyter GmbH and Co. KG. 168-185.
  • Mumford, S. (2009). Powers and persistence. In Walter De Gruyter Incorporated. 223-236.
  • Mumford, S. (2007). Powers, dispositions, properties or a causal realist manifesto. In Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 139-151.

Journal Article

  • Mumford, Stephen (2019). The aesthetics of sport and the arts: competing and complementary. Sport in Society 22(5): 723-733.
  • Anjum, R.L. & Mumford, S.D. (2017). A philosophical argument against evidence-based policy. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 23(5): 1045-1050.
  • Mumford, S. (2017). Beyond 'crude pragmatism' in sports coaching: Insights from C.S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey: A commentary. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching 12(1): 65-66.
  • Anjum, R.L., Kerry, R. & Mumford, S.D. (2015). Evidence based on what? Journal of evaluation in clinical practice 21(6): E11-E12.
  • Mumford, Stephen & Anjum, Rani Lill (2015). Freedom and Control: on the Modality of Free Will. American Philosophical Quarterly 52(1): 1-11.
  • Mumford, S. (2015). In praise of teamwork. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 42(1): 51-56.
  • Mumford, Stephen & Anjum, Rani Lill (2015). Powers, Non-consent and Freedom. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91(1): 136-152.
  • Mumford, Stephen & Anjum, Rani Lill (2014). A new argument against compatibilism. Analysis 74(1): 20-25.
  • Kerry, R., Eriksen, T.E., Noer Lie, S.A., Mumford, S. & Anjum, R.L. (2014). Causation in evidence-based medicine: In reply to Strand and Parkkinen. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 20(6): 985-987.
  • Mumford, S. & Anjum, R.L. (2014). The tendential theory of sporting prowess. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 41(3): 399-412.
  • Kerry, R., Madouasse, A., Arthur, A. & Mumford, S.D. (2013). Analysis of scientific truth status in controlled rehabilitation trials. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 19(4): 617-625.
  • Eriksen, T.E., Kerry, R., Mumford, S., Lie, S.A.N. & Anjum, R.L. (2013). At the borders of medical reasoning: Aetiological and ontological challenges of medically unexplained symptoms. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 8(1).
  • Kerry, R., Eriksen, T.E., Lie, S.A.N., Mumford, S.D. & Anjum, R.L. (2012). Causation and evidence-based practice: An ontological review. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 18(5): 1006-1012.
  • Mumford, S. (2012). Emotions and aesthetics: An inevitable trade-off? Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 39(2): 267-279.
  • Mumford, S. (2012). Moderate partisanship as oscillation. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 6(3): 369-375.
  • Mumford, S. (2010). Breaking it or faking it? Some critical thoughts on the voluntary suspension of play and six proposed revisions. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 4(3): 254-268.
  • Mumford, S. (2010). No Power in Unger's World. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80(2): 476-483.
  • Lacerda, T. & Mumford, S. (2010). The genius in art and in sport: A contribution to the investigation of aesthetics of sport. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 37(2): 182-193.
  • Kerry, R., Maddocks, M. & Mumford, S. (2008). Philosophy of science and physiotherapy: An insight into practice. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice 24(6): 397-407.
  • Mumford, S. (2008). Russell's defence of idleness. Russell - Journal of the Bertrand Russell Studies 28(1): 5-19.
  • Mumford, S. (2007). III - Negative truth and falsehood. Proceedings of the Aristotelean Society 107(1 PART 1): 45-71.
  • Mumford, S. (2006). Function, structure, capacity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37(1): 76-80.
  • Mumford, S. (2006). The ungrounded argument. Synthese 149(3): 471-489.
  • Mumford, S. (2006). Truth makers for judgement calls. European Journal of Sport Science 6(3): 179-186.
  • Mumford, S. (2005). Kinds, essences, powers. Ratio 18(4): 420-436.
  • Mumford, S. (2005). Laws and lawlessness. Synthese 144(3): 397-413.
  • Mumford, S. (2005). The true and the false. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83(2): 263-269.
  • Mumford, S. (2004). Allegiance and identity. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 31(2): 184-195.
  • Mumford, S. (2001). Miracles: Metaphysics and modality. Religious Studies 37(2): 191-202.
  • Mumford, S. (2001). Realism and the conditional analysis of dispositions: Reply to Malzkorn. Philosophical Quarterly 51(204): 375-378.
  • Mumford, S. (2000). Normative and Natural Laws. Journal of Plasma Physics 75(2): 265-282.
  • Mumford, S. (1999). Intentionality and the physical: A new theory of disposition ascription. Philosophical Quarterly 49(195): 215-225.
  • Mumford, S. (1998). Laws of nature Outlawed. Dialectica 52(2): 83-101.
  • Mumford, S. (1996). Conditionals, functional essences and martin on dispositions. Philosophical Quarterly 46(182): 86-92.
  • Mumford, S. (1995). Ellis and lierse on dispositional essentialism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73(4): 606-612.
  • Mumford, S. (1994). Dispositions, supervenience and reduction. Philosophical Quarterly 44(177): 419-438.

Selected Grants

  • 2016: Absences, Nothings, Lacks and Limits (£158534.00 from Leverhulme Trust)