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Department of Philosophy


Professor Matthew Ratcliffe, BA, MPhil, PhD

Professor (On Research Leave) in the Department of Philosophy
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 46560

Email: M.J.Ratcliffe 'at' durham 'dot' ac 'dot' uk


I did my BA in Philosophy and Psychology here at Durham between 1991 and 1994. I then studied for my MPhil and PhD degrees at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge. My PhD was awarded in October 1999, for a dissertation entitled Self and Purpose. I went on to lecture in Philosophy at University College Cork, Ireland, and returned to Durham in October 2002. I live in Durham City with my wife Beth and our sons Thomas (born December 2007) and Samuel (born December 2009). Most of my recent research addresses issues in phenomenology, philosophy of psychology and philosophy of psychiatry. Topics I'm currently working on include emotions and feelings, the phenomenology of depression, delusions and hallucinations, interpersonal experience, trust, and temporal experience.

Recent Grants and Awards

• Australasian Journal of Philosophy 2012 Best Paper Prize for my article 'What is Touch?'
• Wellcome Trust Strategic Award for a three-year project entitled ‘Hearing the Voice’, beginning in October 2012. The Principal Investigator is Dr Charles Fernyhough (Psychology, Durham), and I am one of the co-investigators.
• Arts and Humanities Research Council research grant for a major project entitled ‘Emotional Experience in Depression: A Philosophical Study’ (2009-2012). The project was funded by the AHRC and German Research Council (DFG) joint scheme. I was the UK-based Principal Investigator and the Germany-based Principal Investigator was Professor Achim Stephan (University of Osnabrück).
• Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Network Grant for a project entitled ‘Emotions and Feelings in psychiatric Illness’ (2008-2010). Dr Anthony Atkinson (Psychology, Durham) was co-investigator and played an equal role in the project.
• Durham University Institute of Advanced Study Christopherson/Knott Fellowship (2009)
• British Academy Small Research Grant for a series of workshops on ‘The Varieties of Moral Experience’. Co-investigator, with my colleagues Dr Simon James and Dr Benedict Smith (2008)
• Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Leave award(2006).
• British Academy Conference grant for the August 2006 conference of the International Association for Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.

Research supervision

I have supervised a range of postgraduate projects in the areas of phenomenology, philosophy of psychology and psychiatry, and philosophy of science. I would especially welcome enquiries from students wishing to pursue philosophical and interdisciplinary research on topics including intersubjectivity and folk psychology, the nature of belief, emotions, feelings and moods, bodily experience, the sense of touch, and the phenomenology of psychiatric illness (particularly depression).

Administrative duties

  • Head of the Applied Phenomenology Research Group

Research Groups

  • Applied Phenomenology


Books: authored

Books: edited

  • Ratcliffe, M. & Stephan, A. (2014). Depression, Emotion and the Self. Exeter: Imprint Academic. Also published as a special double issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies (20/7-8) in 2013.
  • Atkinson, A. P. & Ratcliffe, M. (2012). Emotions and Feelings in Psychiatric Illness. Emotion Review 4/2 (special issue based on an AHRC-funded project).
  • Ratcliffe, M. & Gallagher, S. (2008). Situated Cognition: Perspectives from Phenomenology and Science. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16/3 (special issue).
  • Hutto, D.D. & Ratcliffe, M. (2007). Folk Psychology Reassessed. Dordrecht: Springer.

Books: sections

  • Ratcliffe, M. (2014). Evaluating Existential Despair. In Emotion and Value. Roeser, S. & Todd, C. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2014). Existential Feeling and Narrative. In Funktionen des Lebendigen. Breyer, T. & Mueller, O. Berlin: De Gruyter. (forthcoming).
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2014). How is Perceptual Experience Possible? The Phenomenology of Presence and the Nature of Hallucination. In Normativity in Perception: Phenomenological, Analytical and Psychopathological Perspectives. Breyer, T. & Doyon, M. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (forthcoming).
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2014). The Structure of Interpersonal Experience. In Phenomenology of Embodied Subjectivity. Moran, D. & Jensen, R. Dordrecht: Springer. 221-238.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2013). Delusional Atmosphere and the Sense of Unreality. In One Century of Karl Jaspers' General Psychopathology. Stanghellini, G. & Fuchs, T. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 229-244.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2013). Depression and the Phenomenology of Free Will. In Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry. Fulford, K. W. M., Davies, M., Graham, G., Sadler, J., Stanghellini, G. & Thornton, T. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 574-591.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2013). Some Husserlian Reflections on the Contents of Experience. In Philosophical Methodology. Haug, M. London: Routledge. 353-378.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2013). Touch and the Sense of Reality. In The Hand: An Organ of the Mind. Radman, Z. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. 131-157.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2013). Why Mood Matters. In Cambridge Companion to Being and Time. Wrathall, M. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 157-176.
  • Ratcliffe, M. & Broome, M. (2012). Existential Phenomenology, Psychiatric Illness and the Death of Possibilities. In Cambridge Companion to Existentialism. Crowell, S. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 361-382.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2012). The Phenomenology of Existential Feeling. In The Feeling of Being Alive. Marienberg, S. & Fingerhut, J. Berlin: de Gruyter. 23-54.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2012). There can be no Cognitive Science of Dasein. In Heidegger and Cognitive Science. Wheeler, M. & Kiverstein, J. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 135-156.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2010). Delusional Atmosophere and Delusional Belief. In Handbook of Phenomenology and Cognitive Science. Gallagher, S. & Schmicking, D. Dordrecht: Springer. 575-590.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2010). The Phenomenology and Neurobiology of Moods and Emotions. In Handbook of Phenomenology and Cognitive Science. Gallagher, S. & Schmicking, D. Dordrecht: Springer. 123-140.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2010). The Phenomenology of Mood and the Meaning of Life. In Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion. Goldie, P. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 349-371.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2009). Understanding Existential Changes in Psychiatric Illness: The Indispensability of Phenomenology. In Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience. Broome, M. & Bortolotti, L. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 223-244.
  • Ratcliffe M. (2007). From Folk Psychology to Commonsense. In Folk Psychology Reassessed. Hutto D.D. & Ratcliffe M. Dordrecht: Springer. 223-243.
  • Ratcliffe, M. & Hutto, D.D. (2007). Introduction. In Folk Psychology Reassessed. Hutto, D.D. & Ratcliffe, M. Dordrecht: Springer. 1-22.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2006). Function. In The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Sarkar, S. & Pfeifer, J. Routledge. 315-322.
  • Ratcliffe M. (2006). Neurotheology: A Science of What?. In The Neurology of Religious Experience. McNamara P. Westport: Praeger. 81-104.
  • Ratcliffe M. (2006). Phenomenology, Neuroscience and Intersubjectivity. In Blackwell Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism. Dreyfus H. & Wrathall M. Oxford: Blackwell. 327-343.
  • Ratcliffe, M. (2005). Folk Psychology and the Biological Basis of Intersubjectivity. In Philosophy, Biology and Life. O’Hear, A. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 211-233.

Journal papers: academic

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