University of Reading
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2000
London, London, City of, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  •  13
    A Truthful Way to Live? Objectivity, Ethics and Psychoanalysis
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 85 175-193. 2019.
    Is there a best way to live? If so, is this a form of ethical life? The answer, I believe, turns on what we can say about the nature and place of the passions – emotions and desires – in our lives, including in particular, our ability to be truthful about our passions and our relations with other people. I approach the question through the work of Bernard Williams. I consider first what it might be for a way of life to be ‘objectively’ best, before looking more closely at the psychological condi…Read more
  •  32
    In Philosophy, psychoanalysis and the a-rational mind, Brakel focuses her discussion on the nature of primary process, and its relation to a range of philosophical views. While the discussion, and Brakel’s project, is both original and much-needed in the philosophy of psychoanalysis, in the end, I found the book disappointing. The arguments and connections are repeatedly indicative rather than deeply and cogently unified into a coherent whole.
  •  165
    Introduction: Know thyself
    In Richard Gipps & Michael Lacewing (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis. pp. 1-22. 2019.
    In this introduction to the Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis, we provide an overview of the promise and problems of connecting philosophy and psychoanalysis through a focus on the age-old theme central to both disciplines, 'know thyself'.
  •  95
    I review the debate between ‘realist’ and ‘constructivist’ understandings of the psychoanalytic unconscious. To oversimplify, realists hold that unconscious mental states exist in the analysand’s mind fully formed and with determinate intentional content, independent of consciousness, and these are discovered in analysis. Constructivists (including relationalists and intersubjectivists) hold that the unconscious meaning of clinical material does not exist ‘pre-organised’ in the analysand’s mind,…Read more
  •  23
    Evidence, Inference and Causal Explanation in Psychoanalysis
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 25 (2): 119-122. 2018.
    In my paper, 'The science of psychoanalysis,' I make two assumptions. First, I assume that a 'hermeneutic science' is not a contradiction in terms. Second, I assume that explanations of why someone behaved as they did in terms of motives are a form of causal explanation, and therefore that inferring what someone's motives are from their behavior is a form of causal inference. In his commentary, Gipps objects to both of these assumptions, and this gives me the opportunity to clarify them. Followi…Read more
  •  22
    Statistics, Desire, and Interdisciplinarity
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 19 (3): 221-225. 2012.
    I am very grateful to both Edward Erwin and Peter Fonagy for their thoughtful and engaging comments. I do not have space to deal fully with all the issues they raise, but I will try to clarify some key points at which perhaps I implied more than I intended, or failed to be clear. Erwin states that I claim the following principle is a method for inferring causes: “if X is causally relevant to the occurrence of Y, then the incidence of Ys in the class of Xs and Ys will be different compared with t…Read more
  •  18
    The Science of Psychoanalysis
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 25 (2): 95-111. 2018.
    Can psychoanalysis take its place in the science that is psychology? I want, for now, to put aside the therapy, and ask about the theory, its evidence and generation. For at the heart of psychoanalysis as theory and therapy is a theory about the nature, development, and functioning of the human mind, especially in relation to motives. There are a number of features of this theory, in particular the role and nature of unconscious mental states and processes, that makes it recognizably distinct an…Read more
  •  1
    Philosophy for A2: Unit 4 is the definitive textbook for students of the current AQA Advanced Level syllabus for philosophy. Structured very closely around the AQA specifications for Unit 4: Philosophical Problems, Michael Lacewing helps students to engage with and understand the arguments of the five key texts: Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding Plato's The Republic Mill's On Liberty Descartes' Meditations Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil . All chapters are helpfully subdivided in…Read more
  • Philosophy for AS _and A Level _is an accessible textbook for the new 2017 AQA Philosophy syllabus. Structured closely around the AQA specification this textbook covers the two units shared by the AS and A Level, Epistemology and Moral Philosophy, in an engaging and student-friendly way. With chapters on 'How to do philosophy', exam preparation providing students with the philosophical skills they need to succeed, and an extensive glossary to support understanding, this book is ideal for student…Read more
  •  1
    _Philosophy for A Level_ is an accessible textbook for the new 2017 AQA Philosophy syllabus. Structured closely around the AQA specification this textbook covers the two units Metaphysics of God and Metaphysics of Mind, in an engaging and student-friendly way. With chapters on 'How to do philosophy', exam preparation providing students with the philosophical skills they need to succeed, and an extensive glossary to support understanding, this book is ideal for students studying philosophy. Each …Read more
  •  57
    Emotion, Perception, and the Self in Moral Epistemology
    Dialectica 69 (3): 335-355. 2015.
    In this paper, I argue against a perceptual model of moral epistemology. We should not reject the claim that there is a sense in which, on some occasions, emotions may be said to be perceptions of values or reasons. But going further than this, and taking perception as a model for moral epistemology is unhelpful and unilluminating. By focusing on the importance of the dispositions and structures of the self to moral knowledge, I bring out important disanalogies between moral epistemology and typ…Read more
  •  103
  •  19
    Review of Marcia Cavell, Becoming a Subject (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2006 (10). 2006.
    Marcia Cavell’s recent book is the continuation of a ‘conversation between philosophy and psychoanalysis’ in which she has been engaged for some time. Her previous monograph, The Psychoanalytic Mind (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), was a powerful and sustained argument in favour of an interpretation of psychoanalysis and children’s mental development informed by a broadly Davidsonian perspective on mind and meaning. Her theme in Becoming a Subject is the nature of self, which she…Read more
  •  9
    Philosophy for A2: Unit 4 is the definitive textbook for students of the current AQA Advanced Level syllabus for philosophy. Structured very closely around the AQA specifications for Unit 4: Philosophical Problems, Michael Lacewing helps students to engage with and understand the arguments of the five key texts: Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding Plato's The Republic Mill's On Liberty Descartes' Meditations Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil . All chapters are helpfully subdivided in…Read more
  •  108
    Emotion and cognition: Recent developments and therapeutic practice
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 11 (2): 175-186. 2004.
    As is widely known, the last 25 years have seen an acceleration in the development of theories of emotion. Perhaps less well-known is that the last three years have seen an extended defense of a predominant, though not universally accepted, framework for the understanding of emotion in philosophy and psychology. The central claim of this framework is that emotions are a form of evaluative response to their intentional objects, centrally involving cognition or something akin to cognition, in whic…Read more
  •  28
    The problem of suggestion in psychoanalysis: An analysis and solution
    Philosophical Psychology 26 (5): 718-743. 2013.
    From its inception, psychoanalysis has been troubled by the problem of suggestion. I defend an answer to the problem of suggestion understood as a methodological concern about the evidential basis of psychoanalytic theory. This purely methodological approach is relatively uncommon in discussions in psychoanalysis. I argue that suggestion in psychoanalysis is best understood in terms of experimenter expectancy effects. Such effects are not specific to psychoanalysis, and they can be corrected for…Read more
  •  248
    Real Love
    The Philosophers' Magazine 29 (29): 63-66. 2005.
    The idea that love is one of the most fundamental forces in the world, if not the most fundamental force, has a long and influential history. But does the idea of a fundamental connection between love and reality have a future? Can it hold any meaning for us if, for example, we do not believe in God? I want to offer some speculative thoughts that it can, thoughts that derive from a philosophical reflection on psychoanalysis. My central claim is that love reveals and points us toward reality, tha…Read more
  •  54
    Philosophy for A2: Unit 4
    Routledge. 2009.
    Philosophy for AS is the definitive textbook for students of the current AQA Advanced Subsidiary Level. Structured closely around the examination specifications, it covers the two units of the AS Level in an exceptionally clear and student-friendly style. As an invitation to philosophy, the book encourages and enables students to engage philosophically with the following syllabus topics: reason and experience Why should I be governed? Why should I be moral? the idea of God persons knowledge of t…Read more
  •  179
    How are we to distinguish between appropriate emotional responses that reveal morally salient reasons and inappropriate emotional responses that reflect our prejudices? It is often assumed that reason – considered as distinct from emotion – will make the distinction. I argue that this view is false, and that the process by which emotional responses are vetted involves ‘emotional self-awareness’. By this, I mean feeling an emotion, being aware of so doing, and feeling some usually subtle emotiona…Read more
  •  215
    Book review of Dancy, J., "Ethics Without Principles" (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 55 (221). 2005.
    Book review
  •  23
    _Revise Philosophy for AS Level_ is the definitive revision guide for students of the Advanced Subsidiary level syllabus. Following the AQA syllabus, it helps students revise using past exam questions, examiner's reports, and tips on revision for the examination. Also included are a helpful glossary and annotated further reading. It covers all three units of the AS Level syllabus: Unit 1: Theory of Knowledge Unit 2: Moral Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion Unit 3: Texts. The four set texts ar…Read more
  •  23
    Philosophy for AS is an accessible textbook for the new 2014 AQA Advanced Subsidiary Philosophy syllabus. Structured closely around the AQA specification this textbook covers the two units, Epistemology and Philosophy of Religion, in an engaging and student-friendly way. With chapters on 'How to do philosophy', exam preparation providing students with the philosophical skills they need to succeed, and an extensive glossary to support understanding, this book is ideal for students studying philos…Read more
  •  37
    Philosophy, academic philosophy, and philosophy for children
    The Philosophers' Magazine 69 90-97. 2015.
    A Platonic dialogue, an undergraduate lecture, an enquiry in philosophy for children (P4C): Are all three activities "philosophy"? Is there a difference between doing philosophy and studying philosophy? What is the importance of philosophy in each guise, and how might the different guises relate to the aims of "teaching" philosophy? Drawing on the work of Bernard Williams, I suggest that doing philosophy involves making sense of our lives, and that this requires a wider knowledge base than tradi…Read more
  •  248
    What Reason Can't Do
    In N. Athanassoulis & S. Vice (eds.), Morality and the Good Life, Palgrave Macmillan. 2008.
    The aim of this paper to analyse the central argument of Cottingham’s (1998) Philosophy and the Good Life, and to strengthen and develop it against misinterpretation and objection. Cottingham’s argument is an objection to ‘ratiocentrism’, the view that the good life can be understood in terms of and attained by reason and strength of will. The objection begins from a proper understanding of akrasia, or weakness of will, but its focus, and the focus of this paper, is the relation between reason a…Read more
  •  32
    Ever since Freud, psychoanalysts have explored the connections between psychoanalysis and literature and psychoanalysis and philosophy, while literary criticism, social science and philosophy have all reflected on and made use of ideas from psychoanalytic theory. The Academic Face of Psychoanalysis presents contributions from these fields and gives the reader an insight into different understandings and applications of psychoanalytic theory. This book comprises twelve contributions from experts …Read more
  •  6
    Real love
    The Philosophers' Magazine 29 62-65. 2005.
    The idea that love is one of the most fundamental forces in the world, if not the most fundamental force, has a very long, very prestigious history.Plato argued in the Symposium and the Phaedrus that love is our response to the Forms. We can infer that as the Forms are the higher form of reality, the models for everything that exists, love is our most basic response to reality, at least reality in its purest form. The thought that God is love, and through love created the world, that love will r…Read more
  •  71
    Philosophy for AS is the definitive textbook for students of the current AQA Advanced Subsidiary Level. Structured closely around the examination specifications, it covers the two units of the AS Level in an exceptionally clear and student-friendly style. As an invitation to philosophy, the book encourages and enables students to engage philosophically with the following syllabus topics: reason and experience Why should I be governed? Why should I be moral? the idea of God persons knowledge of t…Read more