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Our Research

The Philosophy Department supports UCC's mission as a research-intensive university. Department members and postgraduate students aim to advance human knowledge and achieve meaningful impact on society and policy in Ireland, the European Union, and the world.

The department's research interests are broad, with researchers working in most major areas of philosophy.

We have particular strengths in contemporary issues in philosophy, from Ethics to Philosophy of Science. Our Department is the only one in Ireland to offer several courses in East Asian philosophy to undergraduates. 

We combine these fields to offer complementary courses in topics such as:

  • political theory and international values
  • philosophy and public policy
  • motivation and moral psychology
  • cognition, agency, and phenomenology
  • philosophy of social science, epidemiology, and economics
  • East Asian philosophy

The Department features a signature research theme in Philosophy and Public Health, anchored around our MA programme in Health and Society, administered jointly with the School of Public Health.

We continually have major research projects running in the department, each hosting a number of workshops, conferences, reading groups and visiting scholars throughout the year. For more details about our research see our staff profiles

Research projects

A selection of current and recent projects:

  • Philosophy in Schools and related joint project with The Collaborative (Canada)
  • Political Philosophy Looks to Antarctica – Territorial Rights, Climate Change and International Legal Theory applied to the ocean and landmasses of the Antarctic. Funded by the Norwegian Research Council, 2017-2020.
  • Territory and Rivers – Territorial rights and global justice theories applied to international rivers. Funded by the IRC, 2014-2015.
  • C. D. Broad’s philosophy of mind– a project intended both to outline and defend Broad’s theory of “emergence” in philosophy of mind, and more generally to reinvigorate and disseminate his lamentably neglected work. Funded by the University of Cambridge and the Templeton Foundation, 2016-2017.
  • Welfare as Life-Course Risk Management- a project, joint with the Center for Economic Analysis of Risk (CEAR), inspired by the increasing dimensions of insecurity arising from technological change and labour market volatility, involving reconceptualization of relationships between welfare and other aspects of well being, based on incentivised laboratory experiments in multiple countries.
  • Measuring and Responding to Gambling Addiction- a project, joint with the Center for the Economic Analysis of Risk (CEAR), aimed at increasing accuracy in measuring the impact on addiction prevalence and harm to public health of new commercial gambling technologies (electronic gaming machines and internet gambling).
  • Assessing Risk Preferences of African Elephants- a project, joint with the Center for Economic Analysis of Risk (CEAR), that involves, as a philosophical component, testing the hypothesis that elephants fall short of full personhood not due to lesser intelligence but to deeper behavioural conservatism. 
  • The Philosophy and Practice of Improvisation – a networking project, joint with several Scandinavian Universities, aimed at elucidating the cognitive and practical ability of improvisation by looking into the professional and artistic practices in which this ability figures most prominently (2016-2018)
  • The Method of Phenomenology – a networking project, joint with the University of Okayama and the University of Hiroshima, aimed at investing phenomenological methodology and its relation to contemporary approaches to the philosophy of mind (2017-18)
  • Social Self-Conscious Emotions - a networking project, joint with the University of Okayama and the University of Hiroshima, aimed at investing emotions of self-assessment, like shame and pride, and the way in which they are impacted by society and culture (2016-17)

Associated Research Groups

Staff in the department of Philosophy are also involved with these other projects:

Collaborative research

We have developed strong collaborative ties with researchers in a number of disciplines outside philosophy, such as economics, epidemiology, geography, psychopathology, cognitive sciences, social and developmental psychology, and political studies.

Many of our academics collaborate in their research with academics from other institutions, such as University of Bristol, Georgia State University, University of Oslo, University of Durham, London School of Economics, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen Business School, Xi’an Jiaotong University, University of Okayama, University of Hiroshima, University of Exeter, École Normale Supérieure (Paris).

Department of Philosophy

2,3 & 4 Elderwood, College Road, Cork