Philosophy of Language and Philosophy of Mathematics Research Cluster

The Philosophy department at Birmingham has recently invested heavily in philosophy of language and philosophy of mathematics.

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New members of staff who work in these areas include Professor Ian Rumfitt, Professor Scott Sturgeon and Dr Alex Silk, Birmingham Fellow Nicholas Jones, and Distinguished Research Professors Paul Boghossian, Hartry Field, Kit Fine, Stephen Neale and Ralph Wedgwood. As a result of these stellar appointments, our philosophy of language and philosophy of mathematics research cluster is one of the most exciting research communities in this area.

Some research topics that are of particular interest to the cluster include:

In Philosophy of Language:

  • Naturalistic theories of content determination
  • Internalist and Externalist theories of content
  • Normativity of meaning
  • Phenomenal concepts
  • Semantic relationism
  • Vagueness and semantic paradoxes
  • Model theoretic semantics
  • Theories of truth
  • The semantics of deontic terms
  • Meaning and understanding
  • Logical connectives and quanitification
  • Theory of descriptions

In Philosophy of Mathematics:

  • Fictionalism
  • Objectivity and decidability
  • Epistemology of mathematics
  • Mathematics and science
  • Indeterminacy
  • Frege's philosophy of mathematics
  • The status of sets
  • Sets, types and the foundations of mathematics


Professor Paul Boghossian is a Distinguished Research Professor at Birmingham and Silver Professor of Philosophy at NYU. In philosophy of language he has done ground-breaking work on topics such as rule-following, the status of content, relativism and analyticity.

Dr Darragh Byrne is a lecturer in Philosophy. In the philosophy of language he has written on reference, compositionality and externalism, and defends broadly empiricist views.

Dr Justin Clarke-Doane is a Birmingham fellow. In philosophy of mathematics, his main interests are in the foundations of mathematics including the metaphysics and epistemology of mathematics.

Professor Hartry Field is one of the leading philosophers of mathematics in the world. He is especially famous for defending and developing fictionalism. At Birmingham, he is a Distinguished Research Professor. He is also University Professor and Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University.

Professor Kit Fine  is a Distinguished Research Professor at Birmingham and University Professor and Silver Professor of Philosophy and Mathematics at New York University. In philosophy of language, he is best known for defending semantic relationism. He has also published many groundbreaking works on the foundations of mathematics including The Limits of Abstraction in which he put forward his Fregean theory of abstraction. 

Dr Nicholas Jones is a Birmingham fellow. His research lies at the intersection of metaphysics with the philosophy of language and logic. Within the philosophy of language and logic, he works on truth, logical consequence, vagueness, and the relationship between formal semantic theories and their subject matter.

Professor Stephen Neale is a Distinguished Research Professor. He holds the John H. Kornblith Family Chair in the Philosophy of Science and Values at Graduate Centre, CUNY. In philosophy of language, he is famous for his work on Russell's theory of descriptions, the slingshot argument, Gricean accounts of meaning, Donald Davidson, quantification, pronouns, demonstratives, anaphora and many other linguistic phenomena.

Professor Ian Rumfitt’s primary research interests are in the fundamental questions of philosophy of language and logic, but he also has an interest in philosophy of mathematics. He has written extensively on connectives, predication, truth-conditional semantics, meaning and understanding and many other central topics in philosophy of language. 

Dr Alex Silk is a lecturer in philosophy. His research interests in philosophy of language are in modal expressions, conditionals, expressivism, relativism and contextualism and in normative language generally. He also has an interest in linguistics.

Professor Scott Sturgeon’s main research interests in this area of philosophy are in the nature of logic and the foundations of mathematics. He has a special interest in univalent approaches to both.

Professor Ralph Wedgwood is a Distinguished Research Professor. His primary research interest in this area is the meaning of normative language where he is famous for defending conceptual role semantics. He is also known for exploring the view that content is normative more broadly.

Dr Alastair Wilson is a Birmingham Fellow. He is interested in contextualism as it applies to epistemology and metaphysics and he also has a long-standing interest in fictionalism, mathematical structuralism, the status of set theory and the problem of the applicability of mathematics. 

Postgraduate study  

For postgraduates interested in studying programmes or modules in these areas of philosophy, we offer the Philosophy MA .Our combined research and taught Philosophy MRes programme also includes modules in philosophy of language, and those wishing to conduct pure research in the field may register for our Philosophy PhD programme.

All our postgraduate students benefit from the academic strengths of our research cluster. They are often co-supervised by our Distinguished Research Professors and members of staff from associated clusters across the University, so that they have access to different perspectives on their research topic. If you are interested in doing postgraduate research in the philosophy of language or philosophy of mathematics at Birmingham, please feel free to contact our Director of Research Admissions, Professor Scott Sturgeon (