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Values and Reasons Research Group

Value and Reasons banner image

Suspected witch being lowered into the water to find out if she would float, indicating guilt. Woodcut, England, 17th century.

Most of the group’s activities are hosted by Philosophy within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, but values, reasons, and reasoning about values, figure in every subject. The group is therefore disciplinarily open and aims to bring together staff from across the entire University.

This openness is reflected in the wide range of topics and questions taken up at our events, which include:

  • Why fund museums when there are urgent unmet needs?
  • Are there virtues of good reasoning in the same way that there are virtues of good agency?
  • What is humility and what is it for?
  • Is truth the sole regulative ideal for belief, merely one among many, or not one at all?
  • What makes something a sport, and what does that show about sporting values?
  • What can the history of science tell us about the nature of scientific reason?
  • What can the history of philosophy tell us about the genealogy and changing nature of values?
  • Is the desire for a meaningful life a selfless desire?
  • What could count as evidence for literary interpretation?

The group fosters individual and collaborative research on these and many other topics related to values and reasons. Its main activities are regular two-day events at Chicheley Hall, near to The Open University’s Milton Keynes campus (and home of the historical Royal Society) as well as ad hoc events on the Open University campus itself.

One significant sphere of activity relates to the value of heritage in war. When is it appropriate to dedicate military resources to the protection of heritage, for example? The Heritage in War project page has more information on this.

Banner image: Lebrecht Music & Arts / Alamy