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Department of Philosophy

Women and Philosophy

International Women's Day Conference 2016

Mary Midgley celebrating International Women's Day 2016

Durham philosophy department is a gender balanced department -- one of the few in the world. In addition, we have research expertise in feminist philosophy and women in the history of philosophy from the medieval period to the twentieth century. We also have a community of women postgraduate researchers, working on topics from stem cell research to the philosophy of war.

Dr Sylvie Gambaudo works on gender, theories of sexual difference and narcissism and is founder of Durham's Gender and Sexuality Research Network. Dr Alison Wylie is an expert in feminist philosophy of science and former editor of Hypatia, Journal of Feminist Philosophy.

Dr Sara L. Uckelman is working on women logicians in the medieval period. Dr Emily Thomas's work on time in Early Modern Metaphysics highlights the work of neglected women philosophers during this period. Drs Clare MacCumhaill, Luna Dolezal and Rachael Wiseman's 'Women In Parenthesis' project examines the philosophy of the twentieth century philosophers Mary Midgely, Elizabeth Anscombe, Iris Murdoch, and Philippa Foot.

We are proud of the work of our Diversity and Inclusion Group, which works to make the intellectual and professional environment in which we think, work and learn together, a welcoming and respectful setting in which philosophical talent can thrive and feel supported. To that end, we have implemented the Good Practice Scheme, developed by the British Philosophical Association and Society for Women in Philosophy UK, and further initiatives are in the works!

Find out more about the work of our women philosophers:

  • Prof Nancy Cartwright
    • Nancy's research interests include philosophy and history of science (especially physics and economics), causal inference, causal powers, scientific emergence and objectivity and evidence, especially for evidence-based policy. She is director of CHESS.
  • Dr Felicity Deamer
    • Felicity is currently a Post-doctoral Research Associate on the 'Language and Mental Health' project in the Philosophy department at Durham University. The aim of the project is to investigate the linguistic profile of individuals with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia. To date, her research has been concerned with the context-dependent aspects of linguistic communication, and is both theoretical and experimental. During her PhD, her interests lay primarily with truth-conditional pragmatics, with a particular focus on figurative language comprehension. More recently, her research has been positioned at the intersection between psycholinguistics, pragmatics, and philosophy of psychology and psychiatry.
    Dr Luna Dolezal
  • Dr Sylvie Gambaudo
    • Sylie works on gender, theories of sexual difference, narcissism; narratives of madness, melancholia; subjectivity in the work of Julia Kristeva; the work of writer Janet Frame
  • Dr Sophie Gibb
    • Sophie is our Head of Department. Her research interests lie within contemporary metaphysics (in particular, ontology) and the philosophy of mind (in particular, the mental causation debate). She is associate editor for the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
  • Dr. Clare Mac Cumhaill
    • Clare's work concerns our perceptual experience of space and spatial properties, as well as the nature of perceptual experience more generally. She is the principal investigator for the In Parenthesis project.
  • Prof Anna Marmodoro
    • Anna will join the department in 2017, taking the Chair in Metaphysics
    Dr Elizabeth McKinnell
    • Liz's research interests include environmental philosophy, feminist philosophy, moral psychology, phenomenology, philosophy and literature, and political philosophy
  • Dr Wendy Parker
    • Wendy's research interests include philosophy of science (especially computer simulation, evidence), philosophical Issues in climate Science & meteorology, science and public policy
  • Dr Emily Thomas
    • Emily works on the history of metaphysics and in this context has studied various historical women, including the early eighteenth century philosopher Catharine Cockburn, and the early twentieth century idealist Hilda Oakeley. She is currently editing a collection for Cambridge University Press on Early Modern Women on Metaphysics.
    Dr Sara L. Uckelman
    • Sara's research interests include logic (mathematical, philosophical, modal, etc.), philosophy of logic and mathematics, medieval philosophy (especially logic/philosophy of language), informal argumentation, and human and machine reasoning. She is currently investigating women logicians in the medieval period.
  • Dr Rachael Wiseman
    • Rachael is a scholar of Elizabeth Anscombe and a member of the In Parenthesis project. Her research interests include philosophy of mind and action, self conciousness, and integrity.
  • Prof Alison Wylie
    • Alison's abiding philosophical interests are in epistemic questions grounded in research practice: What counts as evidence? Are ideals of objectivity viable given the central role that contextual values play in all aspects of inquiry? She is particularly interested in these issues as raised by archaeological practice and by feminist research in the social sciences.

Diversity and Inclusion Group


Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities


We have a woman as Head of Department for the first time in our history. Sophie Gibb took up post in April 2016.