Discover understanding

Welcome to the Royal Institute of Philosophy. We are devoted to creating, sharing and enabling philosophical thinking. We empower the curious of every age and background to think more deeply about fundamental questions. We encourage a better understanding of our world and our place in it, for personal good and for the good of the society we live in.

Our history 

The Royal Institute of Philosophy was established in 1924 to explore “matters which constitute the deepest and most permanent interests of the human spirit”. We continue to do so today.

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Get involved 

We imagine a future where everyone is inspired to think critically and fundamentally about life and the world we inhabit. We can’t do this without your support. Discover how you can get involved.

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President of the Royal Institute

Baroness Onora O’Neill 

A crossbench member of the House of Lords, Baroness O’Neill is a former Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and President of the British Academy.

Chair of the council

Professor Lucy O’Brien 

Professor O’Brien is Professor of Philosophy at University College London and the co-editor of Mind. She is the author of Self-Knowing Agents and co-editor of Mental Actions.

Vice-Chair of the council

Professor Sarah Sawyer 

Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex, Professor Sawyer is author of articles on philosophy of mind, language, metaphysics and epistemology. She is editor of New Waves in Philosophy of Language.

Managing Director

Melanie Nightingale 

Melanie Nightingale joined The Royal Institute of Philosophy as Managing Director in July 2022, with over 20 years experience at both CEO level and as an organisational consultant.

Academic Director

Professor Edward Harcourt 

Professor Harcourt is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Keble College. His research lies in moral psychology, and on the boundaries between ethics and the philosophy of mind. From 2018-22 he was Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation at the UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Finance Director

Tony Philip FCA 

A Chartered Accountant with a lengthy career in the commercial oil and charity sector, Tony has served the Royal Institute of Philosophy for 20 years, and volunteers in the charity sector.

Co-Editor of Philosophy

Professor Maria Alvarez 

Professor Alvarez is Professor of Philosophy at King’s College London and author of Kinds of Reasons; an Essay in the Philosophy of Action. She works mainly on philosophy of action, reasons and normativity.

Co-Editor of Philosophy

Professor Bill Brewer 

Susan Stebbing Professor of Philosophy at King’s College London, Professor Brewer is author of Perception and Reason and Perception and Its Objects. He works on Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics, and Epistemology and has an abiding interest in the objectivity of perceptual experience.

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Members of the Council

Our large Council appoints the Executive Committee, and helps to determine the policies that we adopt as an educational charity and as a company limited by guarantee.

Professor Arif Ahmed 

Dr. Anna Alexandrova 

Dr. Charlotte Alderwick 

Professor Maria Rosa Antognazza 

Dr. Maria Balaska 

Professor Michael Beaney 

Dr. Alix Cohen 

Professor Ben Colburn 

Dr. Sam Coleman 

Joan Concannon 

Dr. Alexandra Couto 

Dr. Rowan Cruft 

Professor Max de Gaynesford 

Dr. Joe Diekemper 

David Edmonds 

Professor Fiona Ellis 

Dr. Nadine Ellen 

Dr. Yasemin J. Erden 

Dr. Suki Finn 

Jules Goddard 

Professor John Haldane 

Dr. Margaret Hampson 

Professor Angela Hobbs 

Professor Susan James 

Dr. Anneli Jefferson 

Joanna Kavenna 

Dr. Jason Konek 

Professor Kristjan Kristjansson 

Paul Keyte 

Dr Mary Leng 

Lizzy Lewis 

Professor Hallvard Lillehammer 

Professor John Lippitt 

Dr. Beth Lord 

Dr. Federico Luzzi 

Dr. Anna Mahtani 

Professor John Marenbon 

Professor Matt Matravers 

Professor Véronique Munoz-Dardé 

Professor Alex Neill 

Dr. Fay Niker 

Professor Lucy O’Brien 

Dr. Sarah Patterson 

Professor Pauline Phemister 

Dr. Tina Rock 

Dr. Léa Salje 

Professor Constantine Sandis 

Professor Sarah Sawyer 

Professor Genia Schönbaumsfeld 

Dr. Tasia Scrutton 

Dr. Shyane Siriwardena 

Dr. Edward Skidelsky 

Professor Robert Stern 

Dr. James Wilson 

Ed Winters 

Dr Rachael Wiseman 

Professor Lea Ypi 

Policies and governance  

Our charitable purpose is to advance the education of the public in the subject of philosophy. Our main governing document was originally drafted in 1925 when the Institute was founded and revised in 2009.

Policies and governance

Information for council 

If you’re a member of the Council or Executive Committee, you can keep up to date with the latest discussions and information from our meetings here.

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