You are here

  1. Home
  2. Professor Sophie Grace Chappell

Professor Sophie Grace Chappell

Profile summary

Professional biography

Sophie Grace Chappell has been Professor of Philosophy at The Open University since 2006. Before that she was Reader in Philosophy at the University of Dundee (1998-2006), and before that she held posts at Wolfson College, Oxford (1991-1994), Merton College, Oxford (1992-1994), UEA (1994-1996), and Manchester (1996-1998). Her main interests in philosophy are ethics, the philosophy of literature, the philosophy of sex and gender, ancient and mediaeval philosophy, epistemology, and philosophy of religion.

She has published over 100 articles. Her books include:

Aristotle and Augustine on Freedom

Understanding Human Goods

The Inescapable Self

Reading Plato's Theaetetus

Ethics and Experience

Knowing What To Do

Songs For Winter Rain

Epiphanies: an Ethics of Experience Epiphanies - Sophie Grace Chappell - Oxford University Press (

Sophie Grace wrote Epiphanies with the support of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship, 2017-2020. Some idea of what it is about can be gleaned from here:

Sophie Grace is now pursuing a number of different writing projects, mostly on the ethics of virtue. The biggest thing she is currently engaged with is a new book: Trans Figured: How to survive as a transgender person in a cisgender world. A sneak-peek at some of the things that she hopes to say in this can be found here:

Sophie Grace Chappell was Director of the Scots Philosophical Club 2003-2006, a Governor of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy 2012-2018, and Treasurer of the Mind Association 2000-2021. Since 2021 she has been Executive Editor of The Philosophical Quarterly. She is a member of the REF Sub-Panel for Philosophy 2022.

Sophie Grace Chappell is apparently the first openly transgender philosophy professor in the UK; she transitioned in autumn 2014. She has no objection to having her work from before her transition cited in her previous name.

She likes cycling, skiing, ski-mountaineering, hillwalking, and climbing (but not falling off) [PDF, 66 KB]. She is a member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, with over 50 FWAs to her name. She has translated some of the works of  Aeschylus, Sophocles, Virgil, Horace, Catullus, and Rilke into English verse, and is engaged in long-term projects to translate the Iliad and the Divina Commedia. She dreams of some day being good enough at the piano to be heard in public. She is married with four children, and is a long-term member of All Souls’ Episcopalian Church, Dundee

Some of her published and in-progress work is available online:

Research interests

Ethics, metaethics, applied ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics especially philosophy of literature, ancient philosophy, epistemology, philosophy of religion especially religious experience and mysticism, mediaeval philosophy.

Some examples of Professor Chappell's published and late-draft work in philosophy are available on her  Publications page.

PhD supervision

In progress:

Lucy Fay Manning, "Logical atomism in the Theaetetus and the Tractatus"

First supervisor; with Naoko Yamagata (Classics)

James Holden, "Moral saints"

First supervisor; with Sean Cordell

James Leigh, "Schopenhauer as educator in the thought of Nietzsche and Wittgenstein"

Second supervisor; with Manuel Dries

Rob Jones, "Asceticism in Nietzsche"

Second supervisor; with Manuel Dries


2016-2020 Chris Grey, "Church-musical aesthetics"

Second supervisor; with Martin Clarke (Music)

2014-2018 Sarah Pawlett Jackson, "Second-person-plurality in ethics" (PhD awarded 2019)

First supervisor; with Manuel Dries (second supervisor)

2012-2016 Jon Phelan, "Truth in narrative fictions" (PhD awarded spring 2017)

Second supervisor; with Derek Matravers (first supervisor)

2010-2015 Paul Jackson, "Epicurean atheism and theism in Lucretius' de Rerum Natura" (PhD awarded spring 2015)

First supervisor; with Naoko Yamagata (Classics)

2006-2013 Raymond Boyce, "Moral perception" (PhD awarded spring 2013)

Second supervisor; with Alex Barber (first supervisor)

2006-2013 Luca Sciortino, "Ian Hacking on styles of thinking" (PhD awarded autumn 2013)

Second supervisor; with Cristina Chimisso (first supervisor)

Teaching interests

There is no area of philosophy that Sophie Grace Chappell is not interested in teaching, though she is probably not the Go-To Person for philosophy of quantum physics.

She is an Open University course author on 

A222 (Philosophy of religion)

A333 (Philosophy of narrative art)

A853 (Plato's Meno)

Impact and engagement

Sophie Grace Chappell gives frequent talks in schools and public philosophy clubs and other such forums, both in Britain and elsewhere: for example at the Barnes Philosophy Club (at least when she doesn't stand them up), at the Pinner Philosophy Group, at Chigwell School, at Wellington College, at How The Light Gets In, and at Harris Academy. She also gives the sermon in her church sometimes, and on one occasion in Magdalen College Chapel, Oxford.

She is always happy to consider invitations for further banging on and sounding off in public. 

External collaborations

Sophie Grace Chappell has held the following Visiting Fellowships or Professorships:

School of Latin and Greek, St Andrews University, September 2001-May 2002
University of British Columbia in Vancouver, January-April 2003
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, September-December 2005
Centre for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, St Andrews University, January-May 2006
University of Oslo, February 2010
University of Reykjavik, August 2011
Flinders University, Adelaide, June 2014

Philosophy, St Andrews, 2017-2020

Erskine Fellowship, Univesity of Canterbury, NZ, February to April 2020


Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Mind, Meaning and Rationality Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts


Agamemnon at Aulis: On the Right and Wrong Sorts of Imaginative Identification (2023-05-18)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
Topoi ([Early Access])

Is Consciousness Gendered? (2023-03)
Chappell, Sophie-Grace
European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 19(1) (pp. SI8-13)

Reply to Commentators (2023)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
Journal of Value Inquiry ((Early access))

Transformation and immortality: introducing Dante's Divina Commedia (2022-05-12)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
The Philosopher, 110(2)

To Live Outside the Law You Must Be Honest (2021-07)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 95(1) (pp. 233-252)

Transgender and Adoption: An Analogy (2021)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
Think, 20(59) (pp. 25-30)

Introducing Epiphanies (2019)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
Zeitschrift für Ethik und Moralphilosophie, 2(1) (pp. 95-121)

Utrum Sit Una Tantum Vera Enumeratio Virtutum Moralium (2018-04-16)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
Metaphilosophy, 49(3) (pp. 207-215)

The Cross (2018)
Chappell, Sophie-Grace
International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 26(3) (pp. 478-498)

The Objectivity of Ordinary Life (2017-08)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 20(4) (pp. 709-721)

Commentary: From metaphysics to ethics: three routes (2015)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society: The Virtual Issue(3) (pp. 290-309)

Why ethics is hard (2014-07)
Chappell, Timothy
Journal of Moral Philosophy, 11(6) (pp. 704-726)

Critical Notice. Paul Horwich, Wittgenstein's Metaphilosophy (2014-07)
Chappell, Timothy
Philosophical Investigations, 37(3) (pp. 258-271)

The varieties of knowledge in Plato and Aristotle (2012-10)
Chappell, Timothy
Topoi, 31(2) (pp. 175-190)

Glory as an ethical idea (2011-04)
Chappell, Timothy
Philosophical Investigations, 34(2) (pp. 105-134)

On the very idea of criteria for personhood (2011-03)
Chappell, Timothy
Southern Journal of Philosophy, 49(1) (pp. 1-27)

Mi Kyoung Lee's Epistemology after Protagoras: responses to relativism in Plato, Aristotle, and Democritus (2010-04)
Chappell, Timothy
Philosophical Books, 51(2) (pp. 117-125)

Ethical blindspots: why Socrates was not a cosmopolitan (2010-03)
Chappell, Timothy
Ratio, 23(1) (pp. 17-33)

“A logos that increases itself”: response to Burley (2010-01)
Chappell, Timothy
Philosophy, 85(1) (pp. 105-108)

Book Review. Self-Constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity. By Christine M. Korsgaard (2010)
Chappell, Timothy
Philosophy, 85(3) (pp. 425-432)

Philosophy as a humanistic discipline – by Bernard Williams The sense of the past – by Bernard Williams (2009-10)
Chappell, Timothy
Philosophical Investigations, 32(4) (pp. 360-371)

Ethics beyond moral theory (2009-07)
Chappell, Timothy
Philosophical Investigations, 32(3) (pp. 206-243)

The fear of death (2009-07)
Chappell, Timothy
New Blackfriars, 90(1028) (pp. 413-423)

Moral perception (2008)
Chappell, Timothy
Philosophy, 83(4) (pp. 421-437)

Utopias and the art of the possible (2008)
Chappell, Timothy
Analyse und Kritik, 30 (pp. 179-203)

Defending the unity of knowledge (2008)
Chappell, Timothy
The Philosophical Quarterly, 58(232) (pp. 532-538)

Critical study of Sylvain Delcomminette, Le Philèbe de Platon (2008)
Chappell, Timothy
International Journal of the Platonic Tradition, 2(1) (pp. 65-75)

Infinity goes up on trial: must eternal life be meaningless? (2007)
Chappell, Timothy
European Journal of Philosophy, 17(1) (pp. 30-44)

Reading the peritropê: Theaetetus 170c-171c (2006-04)
Chappell, T. D. J.
Phronesis, 51(2) (pp. 109-139)

Two distinctions that do make a difference: the action-omission distinction and the principle of double effect (2002-04)
Chappell, Timothy
Philosophy, 77(2) (pp. 211-234)

Option ranges (2001-04)
Chappell, Timothy
Journal of Applied Philosophy, 18(2) (pp. 107-118)

The virtues of Thrasymachus (1993)
Chappell, Timothy
Phronesis, 38(1) (pp. 1-17)

Ethics Beyond the Limits: New Essays on Bernard Williams’ Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (2018-12-20)
Chappell, Sophie Grace and van Ackeren, Marcel
ISBN : 9781138481640 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Knowing What To Do: Imagination, Virtue, and Platonism in Ethics (2014-03-27)
Chappell, Timothy
ISBN : 9780199684854 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Ethics and Experience: Life Beyond Moral Theory (2009-07)
Chappell, Timothy
ISBN : 1844651460 | Publisher : Acumen Publishing | Published : Durham

The Inescapable Self: an Introduction to Western Philosophy since Descartes (2005-10)
Chappell, Timothy
ISBN : 029784735X | Publisher : Weidenfeld & Nicholson | Published : London

Reading Plato's Theaetetus (2005)
Chappell, Timothy
ISBN : 872207609 | Publisher : Hackett Publishing Company | Published : Indianapolis, USA

Tempted Like Achilles: Reflections on Roles and Role-Recalcitrance in Ancient and Modern Ethics (2023)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
In: Barber, Alex and Cordell, Sean eds. The Ethics of Social Roles (pp. 25-48)
ISBN : 9780191926228 | Publisher : Oxford Academic

Autonomy in Sophocles' Antigone 1 (2022-12-30)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
In: Colburn, Ben ed. The Routledge Handbook of Autonomy. (pp. 13-22)
ISBN : 9780429290411 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Inwardness in ethics (2022-06)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
In: Panizza, Silvia Caproglio and Hopwood, Mark eds. The Murdochian Mind (pp. 128-141)
Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Republics of Conversation: The Normativity of Talk in Plato up to the Theaetetus (2022-06)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
In: Zucca, Diego ed. New Explorations in Plato's 'Theaetetus' (pp. 83-113)
ISBN : 978-90-04-51601-4 | Publisher : Brill | Published : Amsterdam

Bernard Williams' liberal naturalism (2022-03-15)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
In: MacArthur, David and De Caro, Mario eds. The Routledge Handbook of Liberal Naturalism
ISBN : 9780815381822 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Duty, beauty and booty: an essay in ethical reappropriation (2018-12-20)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
In: Chappell, Sophie Grace and van Ackeren, Marcel eds. Ethics beyond the limits (pp. 94-118)
ISBN : 9781138481640 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Seeds: on personal identity and the resurrection (2016-12)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
In: Cholbi, Michael ed. Immortality and the Philosophy of Death (pp. 85-98)
ISBN : 9781783483839 | Publisher : Rowman & Littlefield | Published : London

How Encounters with Values Generate Moral Demandingness (2015-09-16)
Chappell, Sophie Grace
In: van Ackeren, Marcel and Kuehler, Michael eds. The Limits of Obligation: Moral Demandingness and Ought Implies Can. Routledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory (pp. 84-99)
ISBN : 9781138824232 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Augustine's ethics (2014)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Stump, Eleonore and Meconi, David eds. The Cambridge Companion to Augustine (2nd ed). Cambridge Companions (pp. 189-207)
ISBN : 978-1-107-68073-9 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

Virtue ethics and rules (2013-11-28)
Chappell, Timothy
In: van Hooft, Stan ed. Handbook of Virtue Ethics
ISBN : 184465639X | Publisher : Acumen | Published : London

There are no thin concepts (2013-04-25)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Kirchin, Simon ed. Thick concepts. Mind Association Occasional Series (pp. 182-196)
ISBN : 978-0-19-967234-9 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Virtue ethics in the twentieth century (2013-02)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Russell, Daniel ed. Cambridge Companion to Virtue Ethics. Cambridge Companions to Philosophy (pp. 149-171)
ISBN : 978-1-107-00116-9 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

Kalou Heneka (2012-12-03)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Peters, Julia ed. Aristotelian Ethics in Contemporary Perspective. Routledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory (pp. 158-176)
ISBN : 9780415623414 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London/ New York

Intuition, System, and the “paradox” of deontology (2011-02)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Jost, Lawrence and Wuerth, Julian eds. Perfecting Virtue: New Essays on Kantian Ethics and Virtue Ethic (pp. 271-288)
ISBN : 9780521515252 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

Plato (2010-12-02)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Bernecker, Sven and Pritchard, Duncan eds. Routledge Companion to Epistemology. Routledge Philosophy Companions (pp. 655-665)
ISBN : 978-0-415-96219-3 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Impartial benevolence and partial love (2009-09-16)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Chappell, Timothy ed. The problem of moral demandingness (pp. 70-85)
ISBN : 9780230219403 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London

“Naturalism” in Aristotle's political philosophy (2009)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Balot, Ryan ed. A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought (pp. 382-398)
ISBN : 9781405151436 | Publisher : Blackwell | Published : Oxford

Understanding human goods (2007)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Riordan, Patrick ed. Values in Public Life (pp. 77-96)
ISBN : 978-3-8258-0552-4 | Publisher : Lit Verlag | Published : Berlin

'The good man is the measure of all things': objectivity without world-centredness in Aristotle's moral epistemology (2005-03-03)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Gill, Christopher ed. Virtue, norms, and objectivity: issues in ancient and modern ethics (pp. 233-255)
ISBN : 199264384 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK

Introduction (2004-10)
Chappell, Timothy and Oderberg, David S.
In: Chappell, Timothy and Oderberg, David S. eds. Human Values (pp. 1-10)
ISBN : 1403918104 | Publisher : MacMillan | Published : Houndmills

Absolutes and particulars (2004)
Chappell, Timothy
In: O'Hear, Anthony ed. Modern Moral Philosophy. Royal Instittute of Philosophy Supplement (54) (pp. 95-115)
ISBN : 9780521603263 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

The polymorphy of practical reason (2004)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Chappell, Timothy and Oderberg, David S. eds. Human Values (pp. 102-126)
ISBN : 1403918104 | Publisher : MacMillan | Published : Houndmills

Persons in time: metaphysics and ethics (2003)
Chappell, Timothy
In: Dyke, Heather ed. Time and Ethics. Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy (14) (pp. 189-207)
ISBN : 978-1-4020-1312-6 | Publisher : Kluwer | Published : Dordrecht

Intuition, Theory, and Anti-Theory in Ethics (2015-03-05)
Chappell, Sophie Grace ed.
ISBN : 9780198713227 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

The Problem of Moral Demandingness: New Philosophical Essays (2009)
Chappell, Timothy ed.
ISBN : 9780230219403 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London

Values and Virtues: Aristotelianism in contemporary ethics (2006)
Chappell, Timothy ed.
ISBN : 9780199291458 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Bernard Williams (2010)
Chappell, Timothy
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Knowledge in the Theaetetus (2009)
Chappell, Timothy
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy