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Department of Philosophy

Research Publications

We have a strong publishing record in the department, producing monographs and edited volumes on both central and specialist areas in philosophy for top international publishers. Below is a selection of our most recent publications. To find out more about any of the titles listed please click on the links below.

Follow the links on the right to view all our monographs by year or click on the icons to view recent publications by research area.

Selected recent monographs and edited collections

Andreas-Holger Maelhle - Contesting Medical Confidentiality: Origins of the Debate in the United States, Britain, and Germany

Medical confidentiality is an essential cornerstone of effective public health systems, and for centuries societies have struggled to maintain the illusion of absolute privacy. In this age of health databases and increasing connectedness, however, the confidentiality of patient information is rapidly becoming a concern at the forefront of worldwide ethical and political debate. In Contesting Medical Confidentiality, Andreas-Holger Maehle travels back to the origins of this increasingly relevant issue. He offers the first comparative analysis of professional and public debates on medical confidentiality in the United States, Britain, and Germany during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when traditional medical secrecy first came under pressure from demands of disclosure in the name of public health. Maehle structures his study around three representative questions of the time that remain salient today: Do physicians have a privilege to refuse court orders to reveal confidential patient details? Is there a medical duty to report illegal procedures to the authorities? Should doctors breach confidentiality in order to prevent the spread of disease? Considering these debates through a unique historical perspective, Contesting Medical Confidentiality illuminates the ethical issues and potentially grave consequences that continue to stir up public debate.

Rachael Wiseman - Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Anscombe's Intention

G. E. M. Anscombe’s Intention is a classic of twentieth-century philosophy. The work has been enormously influential despite being a dense and largely misunderstood text. It is a standard reference point for anyone engaging with philosophy of action and philosophy of psychology.

In this Routledge Philosophy GuideBook, Rachael Wiseman:

  • situates Intention in relation to Anscombe’s moral philosophy and philosophy of mind
  • considers the influence of Aquinas, Aristotle, Frege, and Wittgenstein on the method and content of Intentionadopts a structure for assessing the text that shows how Anscombe unifies the three aspects of the concept of intention
  • considers the influence and implications of the piece whilst distinguishing it from subsequent work in the philosophy of action

Ideal for anyone wanting to understand and gain a perspective on Elizabeth Anscombe’s seminal work, this guide is an essential introduction, useful in the study of the philosophy of action, ethics, philosophy of psychology and related areas.

Andy Hamilton - Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Wittgenstein and On Certainty

Ludwig Wittgenstein is arguably the most important philosopher of the twentieth century. In On Certainty he discusses central issues in epistemology, including the nature of knowledge and scepticism. The Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Wittgenstein and On Certainty introduces and assesses:

  • Wittgenstein's career and the background to his later philosophy
  • the central ideas and text of On Certainty, including its responses to G.E. Moore and discussion of fundamental issues in the theory of knowledge
  • Wittgenstein's continuing importance in contemporary philosophy.

This GuideBook is essential reading for all students of Wittgenstein, and for those studying epistemology and philosophy of language. On Certainty, Wittgenstein's final work, addresses a category of "world-picture" propositions discovered by G.E. Moore. These challenge Wittgenstein's enduring commitment to a well-defined category of empirical propositions, and help to generate a critique of scepticism. Developing Wittgenstein's view that scepticism is self-undermining, the Guidebook offers a combative yet therapeutic interpretation that locates On Certainty between the standpoints of Kant and Hume.

A. Wiley and R. Chapman, eds. Material Evidence: Learning from Archaeological Practice, (Routledge, London, 2015)

How do archaeologists make effective use of physical traces and material culture as repositories of evidence?

Material Evidence takes a resolutely case-based approach to this question, exploring instances of exemplary practice, key challenges, instructive failures, and innovative developments in the use of archaeological data as evidence. The goal is to bring to the surface the wisdom of practice, teasing out norms of archaeological reasoning from evidence.

Archaeologists make compelling use of an enormously diverse range of material evidence, from garbage dumps to monuments, from finely crafted artifacts rich with cultural significance to the detritus of everyday life and the inadvertent transformation of landscapes over the long term. Each contributor to Material Evidence identifies a particular type of evidence with which they grapple and considers, with reference to concrete examples, how archaeologists construct evidential claims, critically assess them, and bring them to bear on pivotal questions about the cultural past.

Historians, cultural anthropologists, philosophers, and science studies scholars are increasingly interested in working with material things as objects of inquiry and as evidence – and they acknowledge on all sides just how challenging this is. One of the central messages of the book is that close analysis of archaeological best practice can yield constructive guidelines for practice that have much to offer archaeologists and those in related fields.

J. Reiss, Causation, Evidence, and Inference (Routledge)

In this book, Reiss argues in favor of a tight fit between evidence, concept and purpose in our causal investigations in the sciences. There is no doubt that the sciences employ a vast array of techniques to address causal questions such as controlled experiments, randomized trials, statistical and econometric tools, causal modeling and thought experiments. But how do these different methods relate to each other and to the causal inquiry at hand? Reiss argues that there is no "gold standard" in settling causal issues against which other methods can be measured. Rather, the various methods of inference tend to be good only relative to certain interpretations of the word "cause", and each interpretation, in turn, helps to address some salient purpose (prediction, explanation or policy analysis) but not others. The main objective of this book is to explore the metaphysical and methodological consequences of this view in the context of numerous cases studies from the natural and social sciences.

Simon James, Environmental Philosophy (Cambridge: Polity)

Climate change, habitat loss, rising extinction rates - such problems call for more than just new policies and practices. They raise fundamental questions about the world and our place in it. What, for instance, is the natural world? Do we humans belong to it? Which parts of it are we morally obliged to protect?

Drawing on an exceptionally wide range of sources, from virtue ethics to Buddhism, leading environmental philosopher Simon P. James sets out to answer these vitally important questions. The book begins with a discussion of animal minds, before moving on to explore our moral relations with non-human organisms, ecosystems and the earth as a whole. James then considers environmental aesthetics, humanity's place in the natural world and the question of what it means to be wild. In the concluding chapter, he applies his findings to the topic of global climate change, building a strong moral case for urgent action.

This accessible, entertainingly written book will be essential reading for students of the environment across the humanities and social sciences. It will, moreover, be an ideal guide for anyone keen to deepen their understanding of environmental issues.

Geoffrey Scarre (ed.) The Palgrave Handbook of the Philosophy of Aging (Palgrave Macmillan)

This handbook presents the major philosophical perspectives on the nature, prospects, problems and social context of age and aging in an era of dramatically increasing life-expectancy. Drawing on the latest research in gerontology, medicine and the social sciences, its twenty-seven chapters examine our intuitions and common sense beliefs about the meaning of aging to confront topics such as the experience and existential character of old age, aging in different philosophical and religious traditions, the place of the elderly in contemporary society and the moral rights and responsibilities of the old. This book offers innovative and cutting-edge research that will help to determine the parameters of the philosophy of aging for years to come.

The Palgrave Handbook of the Philosophy of Aging is an essential resource for scholars, researchers and advanced students in moral and political philosophy, bioethics, phenomenology, narrative studies and philosophy of economics. It is also an important tool for researchers and professionals in gerontology, health care, psychology, sociology and population studies.

J. Reiss and H. Chaos (eds) Philosophy of Science in Practice (Springer 2016)

This volume reflects the ‘philosophy of science in practice’ approach and takes a fresh look at traditional philosophical problems in the context of natural, social, and health research. Inspired by the work of Nancy Cartwright that shows how the practices and apparatuses of science help us to understand science and to build theories in the philosophy of science, this volume critically examines the philosophical concepts of evidence, laws, causation, and models and their roles in the process of scientific reasoning. Each chapter is an important one in the philosophy of science, while the volume as a whole deals with these philosophical concepts in a unified way in the context of actual scientific practice. This volume thus aims to contribute to this new direction in the philosophy of science.‚Äč

A. Wiley and R. Chapman, Evidential Reasoning in Archaeology, (Bloomsbury 2016)

How do archaeologists work with the data they identify as a record of the cultural past? How are these data collected and construed as evidence? What is the impact on archaeological practice of new techniques of data recovery and analysis, especially those imported from the sciences?

To answer these questions, the authors identify close-to-the-ground principles of best practice based on an analysis of examples of evidential reasoning in archaeology that are widely regarded as successful, contested, or instructive failures. They look at how archaeologists put old evidence to work in pursuit of new interpretations, how they construct provisional foundations for inquiry as they go, and how they navigate the multidisciplinary ties that make archaeology a productive intellectual trading zone. This case-based approach is predicated on a conviction that archaeological practice is a repository of considerable methodological wisdom, embodied in tacit norms and skilled expertise – wisdom that is rarely made explicit except when contested, and is often obscured when questions about the status and reach of archaeological evidence figure in high-profile crisis debates.

Matthew Ratcliffe (with A. Stephan) - Depression, Emotion and the Self: Philosophical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

This volume addresses the question of what it is like to be depressed. Despite the vast amount of research that has been conducted into the causes and treatment of depression, the experience of depression remains poorly understood. Indeed, many depression memoirs state that the experience is impossible for others to understand. However, it is at least clear that changes in emotion, mood, and bodily feeling are central to all forms of depression, and these are the book's principal focus. In recent years, there has been a great deal of valuable philosophical and interdisciplinary research on the emotions, complemented by new developments in philosophy of psychiatry and scientifically-informed phenomenology. The book draws on all these areas, in order to offer a range of novel insights into the nature of depression experiences. To do so, it brings together a distinguished group of philosophers, psychiatrists, anthropologists, clinical psychologists and neuroscientists, all of whom have made important contributions to current research on emotion and/or psychiatric illness.

Matthew Ratcliffe - Experiences of Depression: a Philosophical Study

Experiences of Depression is a philosophical exploration of what it is like to be depressed. In this important new book, Matthew Ratcliffe develops a detailed account of depression experiences by drawing on work in phenomenology, philosophy of mind, and several other disciplines. In so doing, he makes clear how phenomenological research can contribute to psychiatry, by helping us to better understand patients' experiences, as well as informing classification, diagnosis, and treatment.

Throughout the book, Ratcliffe also emphasizes the relevance of depression to philosophical enquiry. He proposes that, by reflecting on how experiences of depression differ from 'healthy' forms of experience, we can refine our understanding of both. Hence phenomenological research of this kind has much wider applicability. He further shows how the study of depression experiences can inform philosophical approaches to a range of topics, including interpersonal understanding and empathy, free will, the experience of time, the nature of emotion and feeling, what it is to believe something, and what it is to hope.

This book will be of interest to anyone seeking to understand and relate to experiences of depression, including philosophers, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, therapists, and those who have been directly or indirectly affected by depression.

David Knight - Voyaging in Strange Seas: The Great Revolution in Science

An ambitious, landmark history of the Scientific Revolution, from the age of Columbus to the age of Cook. In 1492 Columbus set out across the Atlantic; in 1776 American colonists declared their independence. Between these two events old authorities collapsed-Luther's Reformation divided churches, and various discoveries revealed the ignorance of the ancient Greeks and Romans. A new, empirical worldview had arrived, focusing now on observation, experiment, and mathematical reasoning. This engaging book takes us along on the great voyage of discovery that ushered in the modern age. David Knight, a distinguished historian of science, locates the Scientific Revolution in the great era of global oceanic voyages, which became both a spur to and a metaphor for scientific discovery. He introduces the well-known heroes of the story (Galileo, Newton, Linnaeus) as well as lesser-recognized officers of scientific societies, printers and booksellers who turned scientific discovery into public knowledge, and editors who invented the scientific journal. Knight looks at a striking array of topics, from better maps to more accurate clocks, from a boom in printing to medical advancements. He portrays science and religion as engaged with each other rather than in constant conflict; in fact, science was often perceived as a way to uncover and celebrate God's mysteries and laws. Populated with interesting characters, enriched with fascinating anecdotes, and built upon an acute understanding of the era, this book tells a story as thrilling as any in human history.

Publications by year

Aesthetics, Ethics and Politics

Applied Phenomenology

Mind, Language and Metaphysics

History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine

History of Philosophy