Dr Elliot Porter

Department of Philosophy
Teaching Fellow in Ethics

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Elliot is an early career researcher, interested in personal autonomy, the philosophy of madness and mental health, and brodaer themes in social and political philosophy.  In particular, he is interested in mad perspectives as a starting point form which to do philosophy, and in the kinds of specialised moral knowledge that we have privileged access to when our perspectives are some distance from what is normal or neurotypical.  He is currently developing a project for the near future, examining moral responsibility from a mad theoretic perspective.  


  • PhD in Philosophy, University of Kent, 2023
  • MSc in Philosophy, University of Glasgow, 2017
  • MA (Hons) in Philosophy, University of Glasgow, 2015


I began my studies at the philosophy department at the University of Glasgow in 2011, with particular interest in political philosophy, paying attention to the role of autonomy in liberal and republican political thought.  I became interested in a particular chauvinism that is commonplace in the autonomy literature, the use of mental disorder as the negative example, as ipso facto reason to doubt someone’s autonomy.  It’s reasonable to think that autonomy requires very sophisticated mental capacities, but there are many ways in which our capacities might be sophisticated, even if our minds are strange, disordered, or otherwise ills suited to our environments.  Both my MSc and subsequent PhD dissertations explored this chauvinism and the wide space of variant autonomy that it obscures.  Having completed my PhD at the University of Kent in 2023, I worked as a Lecturer in Bioethics at Brighton & Sussex Medical School. 


  • LM Bioethics 
  • LM Bioethics DL
  • LH Just War
  • Problems of Philosophy (semester B)


My research addresses questions in social and political philosophy from a mad theoretic perspective.  I am interested in mad mental states as a starting point form which to do philosophy, and the kinds of insights we can get from taking seriously those perspectives and contributions that are more readily dismissed or pathologized.  My PhD research examined personal autonomy in the context of bipolar disorder, examining what the ideal of autonomy looks like when the recurrent mood shifts of bipolar disorder is taken as a starting point.  I argued for a much more pluralist and contextual ideal of autonomy that accommodates the many ways our agency can be configured, given the great diversity of human minds.  I continue to explore this theme, explicating the relationship between autonomy, mental disorder, and human flourishing.

I am more broadly interested in social and political questions informed by this perspective: how do we live well together, given this diversity in the way our minds might be?  Mad conceptions of value and agency can inform novel and revisionary ways of understanding our social relations.  I am currently developing a project to examine moral responsibility form a mad perspective, exploring the role of recognition in relationship repair. 


  • Mental Health, including public mental health – conceptual and ethical issues.  
  • Neurodivergence, minority minds, and Mad Activism/Politics.  
  • Languages and other information:
  • Toilichte conaltradh a dhèanamh ann an Gàidhlig no Beurla.
  • Gaelic, (Scottish).