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Current PhD Students

Ian Watson

I chose the OU for its excellent standard of education and academic support, including easy access to expert material and people essential to the success of my project.

Hi, My name is Ian Watson, and I’m a second-year full time PhD student in the Philosophy department at the OU.

With my research I aim to develop a morally acceptable form of partiality that seeks to recapture a nineteenth century form of patriotism connected to the ancient Roman Republic. My Guiseppe Mazzini (Italian politician and revolutionary) inspired form of partial sentiment, what I call MfP, is a moderate, inclusive and moral form of patriotic love of one’s country and loyalty to the political community that connects it. MfP could help break down barriers, create common endeavour and assist in reconciling the divisions between the Anywheres and the Somewheres; all too obvious during the process of the UK leaving the EU. I hope to justify MfP, not only as the sentiment best placed to foster and sustain the social fabric of the patria and secure the common good of the polity, but to help advance the good of humanity.   

I was lucky to take voluntary early retirement in 2017, and having completed the MA in Philosophy with the OU in 2019. I was delighted to be undertaking a full-time PhD with the OU funded through the OU, Oxford and Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership. I have previous experience in the military and as a Human Resources Director in the private/public sector and the NHS.

I chose the OU for my PhD for its excellent standard of education and academic support, including easy access to expert material and people essential to the success of my project. My supervisors have been brilliant in supporting me but also providing challenge and critical comment, essential for learning. The OU offers the best possible research environment backed up by an experienced support team, and once I complete the PhD, I’d love to be able to continue writing and further my research effort. I’ve built a comprehensive research database and personal library that offers significant opportunities for further exploration. My journey inspired by the OU will, I’m sure, continue.

Sally Latham

I’ll always be grateful to the OU for recognising that there are people with exciting and worthwhile research ideas who need flexible options to pursue them.

Hi, my name is Sally Latham and I’m in the second year of a part time PhD in Philosophy. 

I’m studying the philosophical support for Narrative Therapy and exploring non-narrativity in philosophy and therapy. Narrative Therapy presupposes that one can and should think of ones’ life as a ‘story’ which can be reinterpreted to offer new possibilities. I argue that there are some people who do not and cannot understand their lives in this way, and that it would be unethical to expect them to conform to Narrative Therapy.

When I started my PhD I’d been teaching A-level Philosophy for 17 years and had been out of ‘proper’ academia for a long time. I chose the OU because it allowed me to study part-time with distance learning whilst still teaching, running a small business and most importantly, being a mum to two boys. I’ll always be grateful to the OU for recognising that there are people with exciting and worthwhile research ideas who need flexible options to pursue them.

Starting my research was a steep learning curve, but over the course of my virtual supervisor meetings, I developed my academic writing and honed my thesis objectives into something I’m proud of. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with the wider PhD community and share my work – it’s a really supportive and encouraging learning environment.

In the future I hope my research positively impacts mental health therapy and includes those previously marginalised. I’m particularly passionate about reaching those with a non-narrative experience of themselves that does not fit the currently dominant field of Narrative Therapy.

Current PhD students

Rafal Adametz
Topic: Endurance Sport and the Mind-Body Problem
Supervisors: Dan Cavedon-Taylor and Jon Pike
Jayant Ahalawat
Topic: The Power of Predictive Algorithms
Supervisors: Cristina Chimisso and Dan McCulloch (Social Policy and Criminology)
Topic: Reading as a Technology
Supervisors: Derek Matravers and Francesca Benatti (English)
Sally Barker
Topic: Consistency and the Regulation of Women’s Sport
Supervisors: Don Pike and Derek Matravers
Topic: Nietzsche and the Fact-Value Distinction
Supervisors: Manuel Dries and Cristina Chimisso
Claudia Giupponi
Topic: Intarsia and the Nature of Art
Supervisors: Derek Matravers and Mark Pinder
Miranda van der Heijning
Topic: Jobs Well Done: An Analysis of Moral Responsibility of Corporate Employees in the Light Of Collective Responsibility and Role Ethics
Topic: Nietzsche and Moral Psychology
Supervisors: Manuel Dries
Funding: Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership
Sally Latham
Topic: Narrativity and Mental Health
Supervisors: Mark Pinder and Alex Barber
James Leigh
Topic: Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein
Supervisors: Manuel Dries and Sophie-Grace Chappell
David Redfield
Topic: Citizenship and Responsibility
Supervisors: Alex Barber and Jon Pike
Alec Schulz
Topic: The Aesthetic Experience and Content of Magic
Supervisors: Dan Cavedon-Taylor and Derek Matravers
Peter Vernon
Topic: Nietzsche on Will too Truth and Nihilism
Supervisors: Manuel Dries and San Cavedon-Taylor
Ben Watkins
Supervisors: Paul Anand (Economics) and Derek Matravers

Current MPhil students

Topic: Bachelard and the Imagination
Supervisors: Cristina Chimisso and Manuel Dries
Jo Morrison
Topic: Ethics of Performance Enhancing Drugs
Supervisors: Jon Pike and Sean Cordell
Bob Watt
Topic: Dali and Perception
Supervisors: Kim Charnley (Art History) and Derek Matravers

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