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Durham University

Department of Philosophy

In Parenthesis Reading Group

The 2018 (In Parenthesis) Reading Group met every other Monday, starting on Monday 22/10/2018, at 6pm in the Philosophy Department Library. Details relating to our 2019/20 Academic Year are still pending finalisation.

What is (In Parenthesis)?

(In Parenthesis) is a Durham based research project, devoted to exploring the philosophical contribution of a group of highly distinguished female philosophers, Elizabeth Anscombe, Iris Murdoch, Mary Midgley and Phillipa Foot, all of whom studied together in Oxford in the 1940s.

What is the (In Parenthesis) Reading Group?

This reading group comprises an important part of the (In Parenthesis) project’s endeavour to elicit recognition this group of female philosophers, today. The by-weekly readings will be centred around the philosophical thought and themes explored by the quartet.

The purpose of this reading group is to create a space for philosophical study that is free from the prevailing demographic norms of traditionally male dominated study. We wish to recreate and reflect upon the kinds of dynamics and shared concerns (if any) that emerge through female intellectual endeavour.

Durham’s reading group aims to study within a predominantly female peer group and is open to all women and gender non-binary people, undergraduate or postgraduate.

The Royal Institute of Philosophy Centenary Celebration Lecture Series

This academic year is a particularly poignant one for the Inparenthesis reading group as it marks the centenary of the birth of three of the wartime quartet.

This year, the (In Parenthesis) reading group will run alongside the Royal Institute of Philosophy Centenary Celebration Lecture Series, held in London. This London lecture series is dedicated to celebrating and discussion to the work of these women and will be used as a complementary resource in the reading group.

Get Involved!

Please come along to our first meeting (22/10/2018) – I would like this to be a group in which all voices are equally encouraged and heard; I aim to foster a non-combatant philosophical atmosphere. This group is not exclusive to philosophy undergrads/postgrads, please feel free to bring friends from other disciplines.

Next Meeting:

*The next In Parenthesis Reading Group will be held in the Philosophy Dept. Common Room 6-7 on Monday the 25th February 2019*
Rachael Wiseman and Clare Mac Cumhaill’s ‘Rewriting History: Murdoch, Midgley, Foot and Anscombe as a Philosophical School’, talk at University of Pennsylvania, September 2018.
Follow this link:

For more information…

For questions, please contact me, Ellie Robson via email ( or via Facebook. Alternatively, visit the Durham University Philosophy Society Facebook page, where there is a link to the (In Parenthesis) 2018/2019 Reading Group. For more information on the (In Parenthesis) project more generally please visit the website:

Previous Sessions Below:

Date Session Information
28th January 2019 Philippa Foot, Natural Goodness, chs. 6-7. Oxford University Press, 2001
03rd December 2018 Mary Midgley, What is Philosophy For?, chs. 1-4,Bloomsbury Academic, 2018
19th November 2018 Iris Murdoch, ‘The Idea of Perfection’, pp. 1 – 23, in The Sovereignty of Good, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1970.
05th November 2018 The philosophy of four female philosophers: Phillipa Foot, Elizabeth Anscombe, Mary Midgley and Iris Murdoch.
22nd October 2018 Recommended: Mary Midgley, ‘Then and Now’ (available at Extra: Mary Warnock, Women Philosophers, entries on Murdoch, Midgley, Anscombe, and Foot. The Everyman Library, 1996.