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Professor Derek Matravers

BA (London), PhD (Cambridge)

Profile summary

Professional biography

Derek Matravers read for a degree in Philosophy at University College, London, after which he completed a Ph.D. at Darwin College, Cambridge. He was supervised by Hugh Mellor on the topic of ‘Art and the Emotions’. He spent a further three years in Cambridge as a post-doctoral Research Fellow before moving to The Open University in 1994. He has written on various areas of aesthetics and the philosophy of art, as well as in ethics and the philosophy of mind.

He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge.

He has held visiting positions at the University of Latvia, the University of British Columbia, the University of Otago, Shanghai Normal University, Rhodes University, South Africa, and The University of Auckland.

Research interests

Matravers has published five books: Art and Emotion (OUP, 1998); Reading Political Philosophy: Machiavelli to Mill (with Jon Pike and Nigel Warburton) (Routledge, 2000); Introducing Philosophy of Art: Eight Case Studies, (Routledge, 2013); Fiction and Narrative (OUP, 2014); and Empathy (Polity, 2017). He has also edited four collections of papers: Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy (with Jon Pike) (Routledge, 2003); Figuring Out Figurative Art (with Damien Freeman) (Routledge, 2014); Philosophical Perspectives on Empathy (with Anik Waldow) (Routledge, 2018); and Heritage in War: Ethical Issues (with William Bulow, Helen Frowe, and Joshua Lewis Thomas).

Along with Paloma Atencia-Linares, of UNED, he edits The British Journal of Aesthetics and is an Associate Editor of AI and Society.

Along with Alessandra Marino and Natalie Trevino, he Directs the OU Space Ethics Group.

He serves on the Executive Committee of the Royal Music Association Music and Philosophy Study Group.

He is an elected member of the Steering Group of the European Society for Analytic Philosophy.

Matravers is interested in supervising graduate students in aesthetics, the philosophical issues around heritage and conservation, and the ethics of space exploration.

Current Graduate Students

Alessio Antonini: 'Reading as a Technology: An Integrative Theory of Reading Experience for Digital Humanities'.

Ian Watson: 'A Mazzinian Inspired Moral Form of Partiality: Mfp-Patriotism.'

Claudia Giupponi: 'How does Renaissance Intarsia Relate to the 'Fine Arts?'

Bob Watt: 'Salvador Dali, Illusionist or Magician? Perception and Phenomenology of Selected Works by Salvador Dali.'

Teaching interests

Most recently Matravers has written for the Philosophy MA, writing about Environmental Aesthetics and about Consciousness.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
The Arts and their Audiences Research ClusterClusterFaculty of Arts