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UOA 60 - Philosophy

Lancaster University

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

 UOA 60 Philosophy


Research environment: Overview


Philosophy in Lancaster used to be part of an interdisciplinary institute (The Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy). At the beginning of 2003 five full-time and two half-time philosophers formed one element of an academic unit whose other four members were sociologists. The research environment and principal research activities of the Institute followed its title and membership. Research was largely interdisciplinary and was in the main directed to environmental issues. The flagship taught postgraduate programme was a Masters in Environmental Values.


Since 2003 philosophy at Lancaster has undergone significant changes institutionally and in terms of staff, research direction and research culture. Such changes were prompted, initially, by a number of retirements and departures of staff to other institutions. The response has been to embark upon a deliberate and focused shift towards becoming a department of philosophy (achieved in May 2007).


Many new appointments have been made (indeed, of the nine full time philosophers in post on the census date all but two have been appointed since September 2003). The strategy in making appointments has been to appoint philosophers on the basis of their own individual research excellence. The previous selective emphasis upon environmental issues has completely disappeared and the department of philosophy is now engaged in high-quality research in a range of core philosophical areas.


The cumulative upshot of these various changes is that as of September 2007 there is a Department of Philosophy which contains nine philosophers and an empirical bioethicist with research interests and expertise in a range of key philosophical areas.


Research structure


Three particular areas of strength have emerged. One is in philosophy of mind, psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis around which a research group has formed (including Archard, Cooper, Garvey, Manson, Todd and Unwin). Since October 2005 this cluster has held a weekly Mind and Psychology reading group, with, in addition, regular participation from postgraduate students in the department, and from Prof. Tim Thornton and postgraduate students at UCLAN. Within this broad area, Garvey has been involved in setting up a more focused interdisciplinary web-based discussion group, EvoPsA, on psychoanalysis and evolutionary psychology. We are currently investigating the possibility of developing an MA pathway in the Philosophy of Mind and Psychology to capitalise on this emerging research strength.  Associated with this cluster Lancaster will host a philosophy of psychiatry conference in early 2008.


Several members of this group are working on a range of topics in philosophy of mind and psychology.  Unwin is working on a paper which examines how some results in colour vision science can assist us with the 'explanatory gap' that is widely regarded as being fundamental to the mind-body problem. He is also working on the nature of explanation itself and the relationship between explicability and reduction, especially with regard to the explanation of colour perception.  Manson is working on a series of articles on topics to do with unconscious mind and the conscious/unconscious contrast, to be worked into a monograph on Philosophy and Unconscious Mind.  Cooper is working on a monograph on disease with special reference to mental disorder. Garvey is currently working on a paper on the implications of evolutionary psychology for compatibilist accounts of free will, and has a paper forthcoming in an edited volume (Leuven University Press) on the role of subdoxastic states in theories of the unconscious mind. He is planning a book on the concept of innateness.  Todd is working on material on the emotions, especially upon emotional responses to fiction. 


Bioethics is a second growing area of research strength, which led in 2005 to the establishment of a Centre in Bioethics and Medical Law. This brings together academics from philosophy (Archard, Manson, and Williams), law, religious studies and applied social sciences to address issues in bioethics and medical jurisprudence, with a unifying focus on the legal and medical dimensions of biomedicine. An MA degree in Bioethics and Medical Law will begin in October 2008 with the aim of promoting postgraduate research interest in this area. 


Within this group Archard's current and future research is focused upon three broad issues: what role should normative philosophy have in the formulation of public policy? How should a liberal polity regulate the sphere of 'intimate' personal life? How can agreement on foundational democratic principles be combined with continuing disagreement on matters of democratically legislated policy? Williams is currently working on a project on the ethics childhood obesity and is completing a monograph on responsibility. Manson is working on an article on data protection and genetic information for an edited (Cambridge University Press) collection on the regulation of bioinformation.


A third emerging area of strength is post-Kantian European philosophy where Stone has published monographs on Hegel (SUNY, 2004) and French feminist philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2006). Stone was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2007 and plans to use the research opportunity to produce a series of articles with a view to completing a monograph on conceptions of nature in Early German Romanticism and German Idealism.  Williams has edited a multi-volume collection on Hannah Arendt (Routledge, 2006) and is working on a book-length introduction to Kant's account of reason. 


Since 2001 the philosophers have established a wide range of mechanisms for supporting research and promoting a strong research culture. A Philosophy Society hosting visiting speakers takes place every two weeks in term-time. Since 2005 the department has hosted a branch of the Royal Institute of Philosophy. Each year, in 2005, 2006 and 2007 the department organised a well-attended Public Lecture Series with the Royal Institute's support, which attracted high-profile speakers including Anthony Duff, Sue Mendus, Anthony O’Hear, Onora O’Neill, Suzanne Uniacke, and Jo Wolff. The department organises regular conferences and workshops, including, in the two years before the RAE census: Understanding Minds (May 2007, funded by the Royal Institute of Philosophy), Implicit Knowledge in Medicine (Oct 2006, funded by the Royal Institute of Philosophy), Consent and Informed Consent (April 2006, funded by the Society for Applied Philosophy), the North West Bioethics Network (Mar 2006).


Since 2005, the philosophers have held Work-in-Progress sessions every two weeks at which each individual in turn presents, and receives feedback on current research and advice on publishing. Published papers and papers submitted to journals acknowledge the helpful support provided by these sessions. The recent appointments in the department have resulted in a supportive and collegial research environment which promotes discussion of research and philosophical topics in a range of less formal environments (such as our lunches in the "mixing bay" and in regular evening social events).


In terms of University support, all staff have their own up-to-date networked IT equipment. The University Library has an extensive philosophy section and provides free access to a huge range of electronic journals and databases, including the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy and access to philosophy journals via JSTOR and Ingenta. There is also faculty and University advice and support available for those seeking external research funding.


Generation of research income


Philosophy at Lancaster has had a consistently excellent record of attracting external research income. Firstly philosophers have been centrally involved in the establishment and directing the first phase of the ESRC funded Centre for Social and Economic Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen) . CESAGen is a collaboration between Lancaster and Cardiff universities and funded as part of the ESRC Genomics Network. CESAGen’s objective is to work with the relevant genomic sciences whilst attempting to clarify the human (social, ethical and economic) factors which shape this natural knowledge, and to explore the social, ethical and economic implications of developments in genomic science. Archard, Stone and Williams had a time commitment to CESAGen. Williams oversaw postgraduate training for the Centre (2003-2006). Stone organised workshops with CESAGen on Informed Consent and The Natural. Archard was a member of the management committee (2002-07). Manson is an advisor on the Criminal Genes and Public Policy project (2006-07) and there will continue to be opportunities to collaborate on projects, conferences and workshops in phase 2 (2007-12).


The department is also active in two EU-funded projects. We are partners in the IDEFICS project on childhood obesity (Coordinated at Bremen University commenced 2006). The work at Lancaster (under Williams) examines the ethical and public policy implications of intervention trials that scientific partners in the project will be making. This project has provided funding for one research associate and two four-year postgraduate studentships each covering one research training (Masters) year and three years PhD study. The approximate budget which the project brings in to the department is €450,000. Running since 2004, INES, the Institutionalisation of Ethics in Science Policy, is a project which investigates the incorporation of ethics in Science and Technology policy (budget €700,000). Williams and Levitt have contributed to this project, coordinated by Professor Ruth Chadwick (now at Cardiff University).

Faculty officers regularly distribute information on research opportunities. Staff are encouraged to apply for funding for attending conferences from both Department and Faculty funds, and are also made aware of other potential source of funding.

Staffing policy


All appointments made in Philosophy since 2003 have been made with a view to strengthening the research profile of the department and ensuring that, as far as possible, all core areas of the subject are adequately represented. The appointment in 2003 of David Archard as professor and head of department has enhanced the research profile of the group in applied ethics and political philosophy. Other appointments in the period have brought in a range of areas of expertise: Stone in 2002 (post-Kantian European and feminist philosophy); in 2003 Williams (moral and political philosophy, bioethics), Cooper (philosophy of science, philosophy of mind), and Todd (aesthetics); in 2005 Manson (philosophy of mind, applied ethics) and Garvey (philosophy of biology, philosophy of psychoanalysis) and, in 2007, Clark (moral and political philosophy, history of philosophy) and Unwin (metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind).


A range of policies are in place to support the research activities in which all staff are active. Each staff member has a more experienced colleague as a mentor; biannual appraisals assess the individual’s research progress and needs, and define strategies for meeting these. Newly appointed staff are on a 70% workload for their first year. Lancaster University’s policy is to allow one term of sabbatical leave in every eight terms. Additionally, since 2004 the philosophers have operated an informal system of freeing one staff member per term from all teaching commitments, from which most members of the department have by now benefited. Undergraduate teaching loads are relieved through the use whenever possible of postgraduate students and teaching assistants to take first year tutorials. The workload of all the philosophers is carefully monitored to ensure that at least one full day per week is available for research activity. Staff are also encouraged to seek external funding to support research activity and in 2004-5 Stone received a Leverhulme Research Fellowship.


Teaching within the department is also designed to facilitate and develop staff research. Each year, each staff member offers a course of advanced seminars to third year students on their area of expertise. Over the past few years, ideas developed in these seminars have led to linked publications. Seminar series offered by Cooper (on the Normal and the Pathological), Manson (on the Unconscious Mind), and Stone (on feminist philosophy) all form the bases of published or planned books.


Research strategy


Since 2001 and particularly since 2003 there has been a significant change in the research orientation of the department. The previous emphasis upon interdisciplinary and applied work especially on environmental issues has completely disappeared. Now the department can claim to have distinctive research strengths in the three areas of bioethics, philosophy of mind, psychoanalysis and psychiatry, and post-Kantian European philosophy. The department is both inclusive and constituted by an unusually diverse range of areas of interest and specialisation. Our main research strategic aims are: to engage in high quality philosophical research and to continue to provide a supportive and collegial research environment; to secure external funding for individual research leave and to improve recruitment of postgraduate research students. The overall aim is thus to consolidate and build upon our now-growing reputation for excellence as a young philosophy department and to strengthen our position with further appointments.


Research students and studentships


Recruitment of PhD and MPhil students to the Department of Philosophy has been consistently healthy throughout the period. We have a large proportion of part-time students, and overall 51 students have been enrolled for MPhil/PhD study in philosophy in the Department of Philosophy during the census period. 19 of these students have completed their PhDs during the period. Of the total 51 students, 7 have been fully funded.


Recently the department itself has awarded a number of funding opportunities: a one-year living expenses bursary in 2005-6, a three-year £10,000 bursary in 2006-09 (part funded by the Faculty), and two four-year awards (2006-2010) covering a Research Training year and 3 years of doctoral study funded through the IDEFICS project. We have recently been successful in gaining Interdisciplinary ESRC PhD quota awards: Krystian Burchnall (with Applied Social Sciences, 2006), Meredith Williams (with Psychology, 2007), and Andrew Divers (with Politics, 2007). In 2007 Stefan Dragulinescu and Jenny Svensson gained AHRC funding for their PhDs, and Dragulinescu was awarded a PhD scholarship by the British Society for the Philosophy of Science.


The department has a well-structured postgraduate research training programme which follows the terms of Lancaster University’s Postgraduate Regulations and its Code of Practice, which set out the mutual expectations and obligations of both supervisor(s) and supervisee. There is an extensive Research Student Training Programme (RTP) on offer in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, a programme that was highly commended by the ESRC in 2006. Research students are also supported by a Faculty Graduate School web portal which enables students to access and assess available resources and form connections and networks with other PGRs including PGRs in other departments working on related subjects.


Subject-specific skills are fostered through the supervisory process and through encouragement to participate in the departmental research environment, particularly including the work-in-progress seminars for postgraduates. The PGRs have their own representation at departmental meetings. PGRs are normally expected to undertake undergraduate tutorial teaching at first-year level. They are supported in this by an intra-departmental system of mentoring and a University-level programme of training in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.


Every full-time research postgraduate receives their own office space and a networked laptop. During term-time there is a fortnightly work-in-progress session for postgraduates at which they take it in turn to present papers based on their research. Postgraduates are strongly encouraged to attend the full range of departmental, faculty and university research events and reading groups and have often established their own reading groups; in 2005-6 there was one on Philosophy of Technology and one on Environmental Philosophy. In June 2007 we instituted an annual internal graduate conference for postgraduates to present work in progress. Postgraduates are eligible for departmental funding to deliver conference papers, and students have recently delivered papers at conferences for example: the British Society for the Philosophy of Science (2006 and 2007); at the environmental philosophy section of the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference (2007); and at an international conference on Critical Theory ('Nostalgia for a Redeemed Future: Critical Theory) at the John Cabot University, Rome (2007).


Of our 16 recently completed students, at least three have gone on to hold academic posts. A number of our current and former PhD students have published their work in journals including Environmental Values (forthcoming), Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy (forthcoming), Ethics and the Environment (2006), Genetics Society and Policy (2006) and in edited collections published by Routledge, and Blackwell. Anne Chapman’s 2005 PhD has been published as Democratizing Technology: Risk, Responsibility and the Regulation of Chemicals by Earthspan (2007).



Contribution to national and international research environment


Members of the philosophy department have refereed manuscripts for publishers including Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Routledge and for a wide range of journals including the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Critica, Locke Studies, Mind and Language, Philosophical Papers, Inquiry, Political Studies, Hypatia, Philosophical Studies, The Philosophical Quarterly, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Continental Philosophy Review, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Contemporary Political Theory.


At the national level, staff participate in a range of projects aimed at improving teaching within philosophy: Cooper is the representative for the British Society for the Philosophy of Science on the Steering Group of the Higher Education Academy’s Subject Centre for Philosophy and Religious Studies. She is also the Philosophy of Science advisor for the British Postgraduate Philosophy Association. Cooper and Garvey are members of the Editorial Board of Philosophical Writings (the main UK postgraduate philosophy journal). Cooper is also on the editorial board for Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies.


In 2005-6 Cooper and Garvey participated in a project sponsored by the Subject Centre for Philosophy and Religious Studies in which they worked with a dyslexia specialist to develop ways of improving philosophy teaching for students with dyslexia. A paper based on this project has been published in Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies 2006. Vol. 6.

RA5b: Evidence of esteem


1. Editing, editorial boards and refereeing


Archard was executive editor of The Philosophical Quarterly from 2002-3 and co-edits Routledge Contemporary Political Philosophy, a new series introducing students to key topics in political philosophy series. He is on the editorial boards of The Philosophical Quarterly (until 2003), Journal of Applied Philosophy, Contemporary Political Theory, and of Res Publica.


Williams also sits on the editorial board of Res Publica. He is a corresponding editor of the Hannah Arendt Newsletter and has edited the 4-volume Hannah Arendt set in the Critical Assessments of Leading Political Philosophers series (Routledge 2006).


Stone is editing a volume on Nineteenth-Century Philosophy for the Edinburgh Critical History of Philosophy series (Edinburgh University Press). Stone co-edited Environmental Values (2005-7) and was on the editorial board of Women’s Philosophy Review (the former journal of SWIP-UK). She edited a special issue of the former journal on ‘Nature and Continental Philosophy’ (2005).


Cooper guest edited a 2007 issue of Philosophical Papers on Disease (jointly with Dr Chris Megone, Leeds).


2. Invited conference papers and keynote lectures


The international standing of members of the Lancaster philosophy group is evidenced by invitations to speak at a wide variety of international conferences and seminars. Archard was an invited speaker at Hong Kong Chinese University-Tsinghua University and at the International Political Philosophy Conference in Beijing (2003). He has been the keynote speaker at the Irish Philosophical Club (March 2003), at the Workshop on ‘Privacy and the Criminal Law’ at the Catholic University of Leuven (May 2004), and at the annual conference of the Society for Applied Philosophy on ‘The Family’ (June 2007). 


Williams gave the keynote address to a centennial conference on Hannah Arendt at the Autonoma University of Madrid (2006). He gave invited conference papers at Bari (2005), Beijing and Chongqing (2004), the Open University (2004), the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard (2004) and Münster (2003).


Stone has given invited conference papers at a Hegel conference in Berlin (2007), SPEP (2007) for an author-meets-critics session on her Irigaray book, the Pacific APA (2005) for another author-meets-critics session on her Hegel book, and in London (2006), Warwick (2004), and Oxford (2002). In 2008 she will visit La Laguna University in Tenerife for an invited lecture series. She is keynote speaker at an Irigaray conference in New York (2007)


Cooper has given invited papers at Royal Institute of Philosophy conferences on philosophy of psychiatry (Birmingham 2006) and on natural kinds (Durham 2003) and was a keynote speaker at the 2007 conference of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science (on the concept of disorder, with Professor Derek Bolton).


Garvey gave the keynote address at a conference in Cork (2006) and invited talks at Vitenskapsteoretisk Forum at NTNU (University of Trondheim) in September 2006 and 2007


Following the recent publication of his book Living without Domination Clark has been invited to speak at the Political Studies Association conference in 2008.



3. Research fellowships and visiting fellowships


Archard has been a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (October-December 2001; and February-March 2004). He has held a visiting fellowship as Cole Scholarship in Residence, University of South Florida (Jan 2006).  He is also a Visiting (Research) Professor at the University of Bergen, Norway, (2006-2008) and attached to a major Norwegian Research Council project on the ethical and legal aspects of child welfare policies.


Stone had a Leverhulme Research Fellowship from 2004 to 2005. In 2007 she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme prize, which awards £70,000 to internationally renowned scholars whose future contributions are held to be of high promise. Williams was a visiting fellow at the Europäische Akademie zur Erforschung von Folgen wissenschaftlich-technischer Entwicklungen, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler (Jul-Oct 2003), and a tutor (with Onora O’Neill, Sebastian Gardner and Thomas Pogge) at the Philosophy Summer School on Kant in China (2006).


Manson had a Wellcome Trust Research fellowship 2002-2005.


4. Professional societies and organisations


Archard is (since 2005) an Executive Committee member of the British Philosophical Association and is (from 2006) Chair of the Society for Applied Philosophy. He was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics working party on ‘Prolonging Life in Fetuses and the Newborn’ (2004-6) and since 2005 has been a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. He was also a member of the British Council bio-ethics delegation to Beijing and Chengdu (2004) and has been since 1988 a member of the British Executive Committee for the China Philosophy Summer School. He was a member of the Hong Qian Memorial Essay Prize Committee (2002). 


Manson is an executive committee member of the Society of Applied Philosophy and (since 2006) treasurer of the Society, and a member of the management committee for the Journal of Applied Philosophy


Stone is Secretary of the Hegel Society of Great Britain (since 2002) and an executive committee member of the UK Society for Women in Philosophy (since 1998- ). 


Cooper is Secretary of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science and a member of the executive committee of the Aristotelian Society. 


Unwin was Treasurer and Membership Secretary of the British Society for the History of Philosophy from 2000-6, and a member of their management committee from 2000-2008.


5. External Examining


Unwin is the external examiner for the BA and MA in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham (2005-8), and was external assessor for the revalidation of the Philosophy degree at the University of Wolverhampton in 2002.


Williams was external examiner to the MA in Medical Ethics and Law, Departments of Philosophy and Law, Keele University, 2002 - 2004, and since Sept 2004 has been external examiner to the MA in Health Care Ethics by distance learning, Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, University of Manchester.


Archard is the external examiner for the BA and MA in Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast (2004- 08), and has been the External Examiner for the MSc/Diploma in Political Theory at the University of Edinburgh (2002-06), and the BA and MA in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow (2001-2005)


Stone is BA external examiner for Philosophy at Middlesex University and was an external assessor for a new MA programme coming in at Liverpool on Art, Aesthetics and Cultural Institutions.


6. External assessing on tenure/chairs


Archard was external adviser for a Professorial Appointment in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham (May 2005). He was also external adviser for a Professorial appointment in Human Rights at the University of York (February 2007).

He has also been external adviser for departmental reviews of philosophy at the Universities of Southampton (April, 2006), and Glasgow (March 2007)