Dr Stephen Burwood

Dr Stephen Burwood

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Business, Law and Politics
  • School of Politics and International Studies


I first came to Hull as an undergraduate and studied philosophy under Alan R. White, Paul Gilbert, and Kathleen Lennon. My degree was an eclectic mix of philosophical styles and interests that provided the foundation for an open approach the subject and which still characterizes the way philosophy is taught at Hull. After a prolonged spell outside HE, I returned to Hull and have been teaching here for 25 years. My PhD thesis was on Merleau-Ponty and Wittgenstein.

I consider myself to be a philosophical generalist (philosophy is a holistic discipline and is never uninteresting), though my research tends to focus primarily on the later Wittgenstein, philosophy of mind and embodied subjectivity (including the phenomenology of medicine and health), and the philosophy of higher education. Happily, these areas often overlap, allowing a productive conversation between otherwise distinct areas of enquiry. Recently, my interest in philosophy of mind and embodiment has led to a Templeton funded research project in trans-humanism, immortality, and the afterlife.

SFHEA - Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

The undergraduate modules on which I currently teach are:

(a) 400269 Science and Society

(b) 500409 Contemporary Epistemology

(c) 500413 Mind, Brain, and Behaviour

(d) 500416 Philosophical Research Methods

(e) 551184 Environmental Philosophy

(f) 600599 Philosophy Dissertation

(g) 600600 Wittgenstein on Knowledge and Certainty

(h) 600612 Combined Dissertation

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Book Chapter

The existential situation of the patient: Well-being and absence

Burwood, S. (2018). The existential situation of the patient: Well-being and absence. In K. Galvin (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Well-Being (133-140). London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315724966-14

"A spontaneous following" : Wittgenstein, education and the limits of trust

Burwood, S. "A spontaneous following" : Wittgenstein, education and the limits of trust. In M. A. Peters, & J. Stickney (Eds.), A Companion to Wittgenstein on Education :Pedagogical Investigations (161-177). Singapore: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-3136-6_11

Turned into body by the other

Burwood, S. (2012). Turned into body by the other. In S. Gonzalez-Arnal, G. Jagger, & K. Lennon (Eds.), Embodied selves (119-138). London: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137283696_8

Journal Article

The creation of equals

Burwood, S. (2009). The creation of equals. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 43(4), 485-506. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9752.2009.00723.x

Are we our brains?

Burwood, S. (2009). Are we our brains?. Philosophical Investigations, 32(2), 113-133. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9205.2008.01366.x

Research interests

The later Wittgenstein (particularly On Certainty).

Philosophy of mind and embodied subjectivity.

Phenomenology (broadly construed).

Philosophy of higher education.

Recent Publications

(a) ‘Dredging and Sedimentation: Wittgenstein, Naturalism, and Conceptual Change’, Journal of Philosophy of Education (forthcoming, 2019). SJR 0.655

(b) ‘Karl Jaspers: Truth, Academic Freedom and Student Autonomy’, in Ron Barnett (UCL) and Amanda Fulford (Leeds Trinity) (eds.), Philosophers on the University (Singapore: Springer - forthcoming, 2019).

(c) ‘The Existential Situation of the Patient: Well-being and Absence’, in Kathleen Galvin (Brighton) (ed.), Routledge Handbook on Well-being (London & New York: Routledge, 2018), pp.133-140. ISBN 978-1-138-85010-1.

(d) ‘A Spontaneous Following: Wittgenstein, Education and the Limits of Trust’, in Michael A. Peters (Waikato) & Jeff Stickney (Toronto) (eds.), A Companion to Wittgenstein on Education: Pedagogical Investigations (Singapore: Springer, 2017), pp.161-177. ISBN 978-981-10-3134-2.

(e) An Introduction to Metaphilosophy (with Søren Overgaard & Paul Gilbert) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), vii + pp.245. ISBN 978-0-521-19341-2. (Korean edition, 2014. ISBN 978-89-98739-18-8.)

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to consider supervision in a range of philosophical topics, as well as those with an interdisciplinary theme, and not just those directly related to my own research interests.

Current Research Students and Topics

(a)Blessing Chapfika, 'Toward an African Philosophy of Education.'

(b)Rebecca Daley, 'The Moral Self and Nurse Education.'

(c)Michael Simmons, 'Wittgenstein, Folk-psychology, and Religious Belief.'

(d) Sasha Wrzosek, 'Kinaesthesia and Somatic Practices in the Philosophy of Mind and Body.'

Former Research Students and Topics

(a)Sarah Warriner, 'An Existential Phenomenology of Eating Disorders in Older People: An Ontological Reflection and Analysis.'

(b)Anthony Okpanachi, 'Karl Popper's Philosophy and the Possibility of an African Approach to Science.'

(c)Thomas Feldges, 'Cognitive Science and Phenomenology: Varella's "New Science of Consciousness" at the System-theoretical Crossroads.'

(d)Paul Fagan, 'Who Owns Renewable Energy? An Argument for Independent Ownership.'

(e)Joshua Gray, 'Wittgenstein on Subjectivity: A Phenomenological Interpretation.'