NEW: Philosophy, Religion and Ethics BA, for entry from 2019

On the degree:

Professor Robert Stern, Director of Admissions for Philosophy, explains, “On this degree, you will deepen your understanding of philosophy, religion and ethics, and the questions they raise, here and now. This uniquely interdisciplinary degree offers a range of great courses, in all three areas.”
Explaining how these fields relate to each other, Professor Stern said: “Our modules enable you to focus on religious issues from a range of perspectives – from philosophy of religion, to the relation between religion and ethics, to the sociology and politics of our religious practices, covering a range of faith traditions. You will have the chance to experience a variety of teaching styles and forms of assessment, and be taught by leading experts in Philosophy, and Ethics, as well as experts on religion in the faculty.” He also noted, “Our students are highly motivated and engaged, making Sheffield a vibrant intellectual community, while the training you will receive is an excellent preparation for a range of careers, as you will gain knowledge of different subjects across the Arts and Humanities curriculum.”
Dr Minna Shkul, Director of Admissions for Philosophy, Religion and Ethics, commented on how this degree option enhances students’ cultural agility: “Studying Philosophy, Religion, and Ethics together means casting a light of critical analysis on history, society, and culture, involving philosophical questions, ethical debates, as well as religious belief, in all its diversity. We examine religious, ethnic, and cultural traditions, and scholarship from different global contexts, which gives students a more inclusive education.”

What benefits does the interdisciplinarity of this course provide?

Dr Shkul says “Interdisciplinary study gives students an enhanced knowledge and a better academic toolkit, as we bring together philosophy, ethics, history, literary criticism, cultural studies, and social sciences, examining ancient traditions, and contemporary issues, in different global contexts. It also benefits student experience, as this degree offers a more diverse learning experience, while you still have a great range of options. We also offer a greater range of assessments in addition to exams and essays to enhance learning experience: students undertake creative tasks, give presentations, do some fieldwork, or cultural analysis, design posters, enhance their IT skills, and develop a range of fantastic skills relevant to different careers, and confidence in their abilities.”

Is ‘religion’ an outdated subject?

“No, this is a great time to study religion: we are now more aware of, and confident in our individual thoughts, ethics and values, which enables us to examine ancient traditions carefully. However, even if traditional monopolies may be ‘out’, the idiosyncratic diversity is ‘in’, and we find goddesses, mosques and mindfulness in our neighbourhoods, as people incorporate aspects of religion into 21st century life, in ways that would have been unimaginable, before. We have a fantastic group of scholars here at Sheffield, which means that contemporary religiosity and the latest scholarly trends are definitely part of the Sheffield curriculum.”

Find out more about the degree here.

Philosophy PhD Studentship on ‘Climate Ethics and Enhanced Weathering’

Deadline for applications: 17:00 GMT Wednesday 23 January 2019
The Department are inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship in Philosophy, as part of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Sheffield. The studentship includes UK/EU tuition fees and a maintenance stipend at the standard RCUK rate for up to four years. The student will examine ethical questions surrounding climate policy choice with relevance for research into, and deployment of, carbon dioxide removal methods including enhanced rock weathering. The project will be supervised by Dr Megan Blomfield, with a second supervisor to be assigned after selection.

For further information or to request an application form, please contact: Megan Blomfield. Informal enquiries are welcomed.
More information and how to apply can be found here.


Special journal edition released for Harms and Wrongs in Epistemic Practice Conference

A special edition of the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal Philosophy has been released to tie in with the 2017 Royal Insitute of Philosophy annual conference on ‘Harms and Wrongs in Epistemic Practice’.

The conference was organised by current and recent Sheffield Philosophy PhD students Simon Barker, Charlie Crerar and Trystan Goetze. It took place in July 2017 and brought together theorists working on a diverse variety of topics to draw attention to the full range of these harms and wrongs, the ways in which they interact, and the ways in which they can be addressed. The journal, released as a supplement (Volume 84 – November 2018), features the papers that were presented at the conference, from contributors including Miranda Fricker, Alison Bailey, Heather Battaly and Havi Carel.

You can view the journal online here.


BSET – BRITISH SOCIETY FOR ETHICAL THEORY, 17-18 July 2019, University of Glasgow


  • Nomy Arpaly (Brown)
  • David Owens (Kings College London)

The call for papers for our 2019 conference at the University of Glasgow is now closed. Selected papers will be announced in February

Understanding Value VIII, 24th-26th July 2019, University of Sheffield


  • Julia Driver (Washington University in St. Louis)
  • Jules Holroyd (University of Sheffield)
  • Robert Hopkins (New York University)
  • Heather Widdows (University of Birmingham)

Call for Abstract is open, submission deadline is April 15th 2019: We are happy to invite abstracts of 500 words prepared for anonymous review to the eighth annual Understanding Value conference at the University of Sheffield (UK), to be held from the 24th-26th July 2019. Understanding Value VIII is the eighth instalment of a highly successful postgraduate conference at the University of Sheffield that aims at cultivating postgraduate work on value in a welcoming and inclusive space. As such the University of Sheffield and the organisers of Understanding Value highly encourage submissions from members of underrepresented groups in philosophy. At Understanding Value we are interested in papers addressing issues pertaining to value broadly construed.  Value permeates many questions in philosophical discourse and as such we welcome papers from any area of philosophy for consideration. We also welcome interdisciplinary contributions. To get a sense of the diversity of papers we are seeking, check out the programmes from previous iterations.

We invite submissions from those who are currently postgraduates at any level, or from those who have completed a PhD less than two years before the conference date. Speakers will be allotted 20 minutes for their presentation, followed by 10 minutes of questions. More information can be found here.



Emotion and Philosophy at the Millennium Gallery: “Darkness into light: The emotional power of art”

From 24 October 2018 – 13 January 2019, at the Millennium Gallery Sheffield
Philosophy café – Moral sentiments
Monday 29 October 2018, 6-8pm, Millennium Gallery
Speaker: Jimmy Lenman (Philosophy, University of Sheffield)
Join Professor Jimmy Lenman for a talk on philosophy, emotion, and moral values. Specialising in ethics, Professor Lenman will discuss whether morality is based on reason or on sentiments.

Philosophy café – Emotions: Natural, Cultural, or Artificial?
Monday 26 November 2018, 6-8pm, Millennium Gallery
Speakers: Chris Millard (History, University of Sheffield), Tony Prescott (Computer Science, University of Sheffield), and Renee Timmers (Music, Sheffield)
Join thinkers specialising in psychology, history, and artificial intelligence as they debate questions such as: Are emotions biological or cultural phenomena? Are they unique to humans? Can machines feel?

Philosophy café – Lived emotions
Monday 17th December 2018, 6-8pm, Millennium Gallery
Speakers: Chris Bennett, Komarine Romdenh-Romluc, and Bob Stern (Philosophy, University of Sheffield)
Phenomenology is a philosophical movement in Continental Europe seeking to understand human condition on the basis of our first-person, lived experiences, rather than in terms of impersonal and quantitative studies. Join philosophers from the University of Sheffield to explore the fascinating analyses of emotional experiences emerging from the phenomenological work of philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Edith Stein, and Knud Løgstrup.

One-day course: Decolonizing The Mind (DTM)

November 15th & November 16th 2018

About the course: The course explored concepts and tools from the theoretical framework Decolonizing The Mind and was taught by Sandew Hira, independent scholar, activist and organiser of the international decolonial network; organized by Nadia Mehdi. Two narratives of liberation had dominated knowledge, culture and activism the past 150 years: Liberalism and Marxism. They are rooted in the European Enlightenment. Decolonial thinking is a collection of contributions to a third narrative of liberation with different labels (postcolonialism, orientalism, subaltern studies, Islamic liberation theology). DTM aims to develop a coherent theoretical framework as an alternative to Liberalism and Marxism.

The course adressed the following questions:
1. What are the differences in theoretical framework between Liberalism, Marxism and DTM?
2. What are the differences in producing knowledge from the three frameworks: theories of knowledge including logic, methods of research and analysis for academics and activists?
3. What is the DTM framework: concepts, methods of arguments, attitudes of a (de)colonized mind, skills of a (de)colonized mind.
4. How do we apply the DTM framework in different areas of knowledge production and activism? Examples: a. Decolonizing mathematics (you don’t need expert knowledge on mathematics), b. Decolonizing world history: three views on world history, c. Decolonizing economic theory: Islamic economic theory, liberal and Marxist economic theory, d. Decolonizing social theories: three views on race, class, gender en sexuality, e. Decolonizing political theory: three political theories on democracy, political systems and activism, f. Decolonizing cultural theory: three theories about authority of knowledge production, identity formation, religion and ethics.

Each session started with a summary of a PowerPoint presentation followed by debates, presentations by participants and analysis of arguments in propositions that develop the topics in the presentation. Special attention is given to possible critiques of the Decolonise The Mind theoretical framework. An important aim of the course is to enable participants to use the Decolonise The Mind framework to intervene in academic discussions from a decolonial perspective.

MAP and Diversity Reading List Workshop

10 November 2018, University of Sheffield

Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) and Diversity Reading List (DRL) put on a joint event in November – a one-day workshop of talks and discussions about how to diversify and decolonise the curriculum! There also was be an edit-a-thon where you could learn how to add texts to the DRL – an online resource collecting texts by minorities in philosophy.

10.00 – 11.00 Speaker TBA
11.30 – 12.30 Round table discussion on diversifying and decolonising
13.30 – 14.30 Simon Fokt on the Diversity Reading List
14.30 – 16.00 DRL edit-a-thon session (drop in)

BSET – BRITISH SOCIETY FOR ETHICAL THEORY, 12-13 July 2018, Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield

Ruth Chang (Rutgers): Hard Choices
Cécile Fabre (Oxford): Espionage and Treason

Submitted Talks
Graham Bex-Priestley (Sheffield): Error and the Limits of Quasi-Realism
Matej Cibik (Pardubice): Expectations and Obligations
Camilla Francesca Colombo (LSE): Doing, Allowing, Gains and Losses
Alexander Dietz (Southern California): The Bleakness of Telic Subjectivism
Linda Eggert (Oxford): On Harming Beneficiaries of Humanitarian Intervention
Nathan Howard (Southern California): Sentimentalism About Moral Understanding
Benjamin Lange (Oxford): The Right to Parent as a Project
Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu (Chung Cheng ): Reason Holism, Individuation, and Embeddedness

Poster Presentations
David Heering (Leeds): Why and When is Pure Moral Motivation Defective?
Julian Jonker (Pennsylvania): Affirmative Action for Non-Racialists
Joe Slater (St Andrews / Stirling): Motivational Difficulty and Moral Demandingness
Fei Song (Hong Kong): Rights Against High-Risk Impositions
Bastian Steuwer (LSE): What We Owe … To Whom?
Elizabeth Ventham (Southampton): Reflective Blindness, Depression and the Motivational Account of Unpleasant Experiences
Alice Pinheiro Walla (Bayreuth): Kant and the Wisdom of Oedipus

Minorities and Philosophy Annual Lecture

16th February 2018
, 2.30-4.30pm, Humanities Research Institute

Marika Rose (Winchester) “Slaves and Tyrants: Freedom and Domination in the Vindication of the Rights of Women”

The Department of Philosophy hosts the Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) annual lecture organised in conjunction with the Sheffield chapter of the MAP network, which seeks to examine and address issues of minority participation in academic philosophy. It aims to address three closely related areas that, to date, have been largely overlooked by mainstream Anglophone philosophers and philosophy departments:

  1.  Minority issues within academic philosophy
  2. Theoretical issues regarding philosophy of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, native language, and more
  3. Philosophy done from minority perspectives

In encouraging awareness and discussion of these topics, MAP hopes to foster improved department cultures and promote the participation of previously underrepresented groups in philosophy.

Bias in Context 3: Interpersonal Interventions and Collective Action.

January 25th-25th 2017

Implicit biases are a psychological phenomenon, but one deeply embedded in our social context. Our earlier events have focused on how to understand the relationship between psychological and structural explanations. This event focuses on how philosophical and psychological research can be enriched by moving beyond an individualistic focus. We focus on ways that responses to implicit bias can move beyond the individualistic approach often found in empirical psychology, and harness the resources of interpersonal interactions and collective action to combat bias.


Philosophy of Birth Seminars

(co-sponsored with Medical Humanities Sheffield), Stella Villarmea

TALK 1: 28th June, 14:00 – 16:00, Location Jessop West, Seminar Room 3
The debate of the ‘thinking uterus’. Enlightenment, Gender and Obstetrics
One of the more extended theses in the history of philosophy is the claim according to which women’s capacity to create is identified with the fact of being able to give birth. This topic—woman creates by giving birth—is complemented by another idea that is not at all trivial: the process of pregnancy does not need to be reflected upon. The conclusion of this line of thought is clear: women create in an unconscious manner. As a consequence, pregnancy is frequently conceived as an irrational, or at least as a non-rational, process. In my talk I will explore the construction of this thesis in a significant moment of the history of ideas. I will thus present the debate on ‘thinking uterus’ at the beginnings of Obstetrics during the Enlightenment. I will also introduce a little-known contribution to the struggle for women’s equality: Giacomo Casanova’s surprising position on the debate of the thinking uterus. The final aim of the talk is to use the historical analysis to throw light on some contemporary approaches to childbirth.

TALK 2: 29th June, 14:00 – 16:00, Jessop West, Seminar Room 8
Values in Obstetric Controversies: An Epistemological Inquiry
Which philosophical assumptions underlie contemporary obstetrics? The talk will address some of the current debates on obstetrics. In relation to the notion of pregnancy, labour and childbirth, we risk our notions of the world and the human being. Obstetrics is a fruitful field to explore questions and answers such as citizenship, health, body or the relationships between knowledge, power and practices. Philosophy of Birth has an added value when it is supported by empirical data and medical practices analysis. Research in this field is closely linked to innovation and knowledge transference, as it is the case of medical humanities in general.

Care Ethics Conference, June 2016.

June 1st – 2nd 2016, Humanities Research Institute, Sheffield

Wednesday 1st June
10.00-11.15 Elianna Fetterolf (Oxford) and Miranda Fricker (Sheffield): ‘Epistemic Justice as a Virtue of Healthcare Professionals’
11.45-1.00 Tove Pettersen (Oslo): ‘Reconceptualizing Care: Mature Care and Asymmetric Relationships’
2.00-3.15 Robert Stern (Sheffield): ‘Care for the Other: Løgstrup and Care Ethics’
3.30-4.45 Yonatan Shemmer (Sheffield): ‘The Object of Trust’
5.15-6.30 Chris Bennett (Sheffield): ‘Care, Authority and the Structure of Interpersonal Interaction’

Thursday 2nd June
10.00-11.15 Sarah Clark Miller (Penn State): ‘Dignity Redefined’
11.45-1.00 Guy Widdershoven (Amsterdam): ‘Making Care Ethics Work in Clinical Practice: Moral Case Deliberation as a Tool for Ethical Reflection’
2.00-3.15 Stephanie Collins (Manchester): ‘Putting Limits on the Demands of Care’
3.30-4.45 Jonathan Montgomery (UCL): ‘Only Connect… Can We Integrate Care Ethics and Legal Accountability?’


Health Care Seminars, Autumn 2015:

A series of monthly interdisciplinary seminars on the place of Care Ethics in Medicine: 4.30pm-6.30pm, in Arts Tower Lecture Theatre 7, University of Sheffield

14th October – Søren Holm (Manchester): ‘Is a Care Ethics Perspective Necessary to Achieve Proper Partiality in Health Care?’
11th November – Ann Gallagher (Surrey): ‘Developing Ethics in Care: Challenges and Opportunities For Applied Ethics’
16th December – Jenny Saul (Sheffield): ‘Care Ethics and Gender: Is There a Connection?’
20th January – Julia Moses (Sheffield): ‘T H Marshall and the Ethics of Care’
17th February – Stephanie Collins (Manchester): ‘Can Institutions Care?’
16th March – Robert Stern (Sheffield): ‘Care for the Other: Løgstrup and Care Ethics’
20th April – Andrew Thompson (Sheffield): ‘The Relational Aspects of Appearance Concern’ CANCELLED
18th May – Basil Sharrack (Sheffield): ‘The Ethics of Payment to Participants in Clinical Research’

Engaged Philosophy Panel at the fourth annual Understanding Value Conference

30 July 2015, Humanities Research Institute





This session of the fourth annual Understanding Value Conference centers around issues that put philosophy in direct contact with the world and allows philosophy to engage with the social and political.

Catherine Greene: What is the Value of Financial Assets?
Emily McWilliams: Ameliorative Inquiry in Epistemology


Past Launch Events:

The Centre launched with two public lectures at the Upper Chapel

Albert Atkin (Macquarie University): “Roma, Recognition and Reconstruction”

14 May 2015, 8PM

From Henry VIIIth to the present Government all laws and policies directed at Gypsy Roma and Traveller (GRT) groups have been a spectacular failure. This paper argues that the reasons for failure stem from ignoring the importance of positive recognition, and in sidelining GRT perspectives in defining who “Gypsies” are. Drawing on work from the Philosophy of Race, Albert Atkin maintains that unless Governments make GRT perspectives central, and hand over the definitional task to gypsies roma and travellers, policies will continue to fail—recognition will never be more than an ethnic headcount, and attempts to resolve the “problems of Gypsies” will continue to be attempts to solve “the gypsy problem”, collapsing into definitional genocide.


Kristie Dotson (Michigan State University): “Imagining Racial Justice for Black People in the United States”

21 May 2015, 8PM

Kristie Dotson uses philosophy to help support, generate and defend research, advocacy and activism that might change the current plight of Black people in the US, particularly promoting better conditions for Black cis- and trans* women, girls and gender non-conforming people.