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Philosophy, Ethics and Critical Thinking

Everyday we make judgments: true or false, right or wrong, beautiful or ugly. Politicians make declarations about freedom and justice, while advertisers and entertainment try to sell us a vision of the good life.

Philosophy questions these basic ideas. Is there such a thing as truth? How can a society be free? And what does it mean to lead a good life? Each of these concepts has a rich history; philosophers have debated their meanings throughout history and around the world. Studying this history of ideas allows us to think more carefully and critically about the present.

The Department has particular expertise in the area of extremism and contemporary politics. Dr Tommy Lynch and Dr Hannah Strømmen hosted a conference on this theme with representatives from the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Hungary, Australia, and Iran. They also recently received a grant from the American Academy of Religion to investigate discussions of Islam in early liberal political philosophy and theology. In addition to this specialism, Dr Strømmen has written on the relationship between humans and animals, while Dr Lynch has published on climate change, race and materialist philosophy.

These issues are at the heart of many of the world’s most pressing problems. Thinking critically about the ideas that shape our view of the world is essential to developing a response to these challenges.