Matthew Chrisman


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Matthew welcomes applications from students wishing to do research on any of his areas of research interest.

Personal profile


Matthew Chrisman is a Professor in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. His research is focused on ethical theory, the philosophy of language, epistemology, and political philosophy. He has published widely in these areas, including books with Oxford University Press and Routledge and articles in Noûs, The Journal of Philosophy, the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Synthese, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophers' Imprint and Philosophical Studies. 

Research Interests

Matthew's current research has five interrelated strands.  (i) Metaethics, especially the meaning of ethical statements and the nature of ethical concepts, (ii) Normative thought and language, especially the meaning of ‘ought’ and the nature of rules and norms, (iii) Epistemology, especially epistemic norms and the nature of doxastic agency and virtue, (iv) Philosophy of Language, especially the theory of meaningfulness and the interaction between semantics and metasemantics, (v) Political Philosophy, especially the role of public discourse, civil disobedience and the speech-act of protest. 


Matthew routinely teaches courses across the Philosophy curriculum including (i) lectures on large courses such as Morality and Value, (ii) self-designed and self-contained smallish seminar-style courses such as Environmental Ethics and Meta-Ethics, and (iii) advanced MSc seminars such as Advanced Philosophical Method (on-campus and blended with online versions), Further Topics in Meta-Ethics and Environmental Ethics MSc.

He has contributed to the development of pedagogical methods both with the University of Edinburgh and internationally, including curriculum enhancement reviews, the development of Edinburgh's Introduction to Philosophy MOOC, the associated the associated textbook Philosophy for Everyone, pedagogical publications in various handbooks and encyclopaedias. He has also written a textbook What Is This Thing Called Metaethics. He was nominated for EUSA Teaching Awards in 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Administrative Roles

Deputy Head of PPLS (2018-2019)

Head of Philosophy (2015-2018)

Eidyn Research Centre, Steering Committee (2012-2016)

Senior Tutor for Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (2012-2014)

Course Organiser, Knowledge and Reality (200+ student prehonours course) (2012, 2013)

Convener of the Philosophy Speaker Series (2006-2010)

Open-Days Organizer for Philosophy (2008-2009)


External Committees

2015-2018  Executive Committee of the Scots Philosophical Association

2015-present   Young Academy of Scotland, Royal Society of Edinburgh


University Committees

2014-2018   PPLS “Champion” for Mentoring Connections

2012-2014       Enhancing Student Support, Working Group on Monitoring, Evaluation and Enhancement of Personal Tutoring

2012-2014       Senior Tutor Network


School Committees

2018     Head of School recruitment/appointment panel

2017-2018   Academic Lead on School Working Group on Academic Leadership Roles

2017           Chancellor Fellow Progress Review Panel

2016-2019   School Strategy Group

2012-2019   School Management Committee

2012-2016   Steering Committee for Eidyn Research Centre

2016                Chancellor Fellow Progress Review Panel

2013                Appointment Committee for new philosophy lectureships

2012-2014       School Undergraduate Studies Committee

2009                Appointment Committee for new PPLS HoS


Subject Area Committees

2017-2019      Academic Leadership Roles Working Group (academic lead)

2018        Shortlisting/Hiring panel for Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Metaphysics & Philosophy of Science

2018        Shortlisting/Hiring panel for Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Social & Political Philosophy 

2016                Working Committee on honours Curriculum reform

2015-2018   Staff-Student Liaison Committee

2015                Hiring Committee for Epistemology Lectureship

2013-2014       Working Committee on PhD admissions and funding

2012                Organiser of Logic & Language Group

2012                Hiring Committee for Philosophy Lectureship

2012                Hiring Committee for Philosophy Lectureship

2009                Short-listing Committee for Philosophy Lectureship

2009                Philosophy Workload Review Committee

2009                Ethics/Decision Theory Msc Proposal Committee


1999 Rice University, BA, cum laude
2002 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MA
2006 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, PhD


External positions

Member of the Young Academy of Scotland, The Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland

2015 → …


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