The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Dr Simon Kirchin
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
Faculty of Humanities, Director of Learning and Teaching and sub-Dean
- 01227 (82)7585
Office: CGAN 9b
Simon is a gifted teacher who maintains great relationships with his students. He clearly has a passion for his subjects and is keen to get everyone to feel his way.
Simon Kirchin's research interests are mainly in metaethics and normative ethics, although he is increasingly interested in aesthetics, and has longstanding secondary interests in medical ethics, metaphysics, political philosophy, and epistemology.
He is currently finishing a project on thick evaluative concepts, with both a book and an edited collection to come. He also published a textbook on metaethics in 2012.
He is currently interested in a number of topics: moral phenomenology and metaethics, reasons and rationality, and the relation between normativity and evaluation. His main focus is a joint project with Steve Pethick in Kent's Law School on the relation between agreement and disagreement, and the concept-conception distinction.
He organizes too many conferences and workshops for his own good. For a list of some of these see 'research'.
He is the President of the British Society for Ethical Theory, which is the leading society in the UK for moral philosophy. He is also an Associate Editor of Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. He co-edits a book series, Bloomsbury Ethics, with Thom Brooks.
Lastly, Simon is the current Faculty of Humanities Director of Learning and Teaching.back to top
- Metaethics (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012). An argumentative book surveying many of the main competitors in modern metaethics which argues for a mind-dependent version of nonnaturalism.
- Arguing About Metaethics (ed.) with Andrew Fisher (Routledge, 2006).
- A World Without Values: Essays on John Mackie’s Moral Error Theory (ed.) with Richard Joyce (Springer: 2010). Read a review HERE
Forthcoming Books and Collections
- Thick Evaluation. This monograph will pull together much draft material written over the past few years in which I argue, overall, for a nonseparationist account of thick concepts. If you wish to see any draft material, please email.
- Thick Concepts (OUP, Mind Association Occasional Series; April 2013). An edited collection based on papers from the ‘Thick Concepts’ conference organised in July 2009.
- Reading Parfit: On What Matters (Forthcoming with Routledge.) An edited collection of papers commenting on Derek Parfit’s On What Matters. Thirteen contributors, plus replies by Parfit.
Forthcoming Papers and in Drafts
[Email me if you want to see anything]
- ‘Evaluation, Normativity and Grounding’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, supp. vol., 2013.
- ‘Disagreeing with Parfit’, to appear in the Routledge volume I am editing on On What Matters.
- ‘The Appraisive Nature of Essentially Contested Concepts’, with Steve Pethick.
- ‘Concepts, Conceptions and the Epistemology of Disgareement’, with Steve Pethick.
In moral philosophy:
- ‘The Shapelessness Hypothesis’ Philosophers’ Imprint (21,000 words), vol. 10, no. 4, February 2010. Read it HERE
- ‘Introduction’ in Joyce and Kirchin (eds.) A World without Values:… 2010 pp. ix-xxiv.
- ‘A Tension in the Moral Error Theory’, in Joyce and Kirchin (eds.) A World without Values:…, 2010 pp. 167-182.
- ‘Moral Particularism: An Introduction’, Journal of Moral Philosophy, April 2007, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 8-15. From a special edition on moral particularism.
- ‘Particularism and Default Valency’, Journal of Moral Philosophy, April 2007, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 16-32. From a special edition on moral particularism.
- ‘What is Intuitionism and Why be an Intuitionist? A Critical Discussion of Ethical Intuitionism: Re-evaluations (ed.) Philip Stratton-Lake, Social Theory and Practice vol. 31, October 2005.
- ‘Ethical Phenomenology and Metaethics’ Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, vol. 6, no. 3, September 2003, pp. 241-264. ‘Particularism, Generalism and the Counting Argument’, European Journal of Philosophy, vol. 11, no. 1, April 2003 pp. 54-71.
- ‘Quasi-Realism, Sensibility Theory and Ethical Relativism’, Inquiry, vol. 43, No. 4, December 2000 pp. 413-428.
In medical ethics:
- ‘Research Ethics Committees: Differences and Moral Judgement’, Bioethics, vol. 18, September 2004, pp. 408-427 (with Sarah Edwards and Richard Ashcroft).
- ‘Altruism, Paternalism and RECs’ Journal of Medical Ethics vol. 30, February 2004, pp. 88-91 (with Sarah Edwards and Richard Huxtable)
- ‘Rationing, Randomising and Researching in Health Care Ethics’, Journal of Medical Ethics, 2002, vol. 28, pp. 20-23 (with Sarah Edwards).
Reviews and Encyclopedia Entries
- Review: Contextualism in Practical Reason by A. W. Price, Philosophy, (2009), vol. 84, pp. 295-299.
- Review: Beyond Moral Judgement by Alice Crary, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews posted January 2008. Read it HERE.
- Review: Ethics and the A Priori by Michael Smith, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews posted April 2005. Read it HERE.
- Review: Forms of Justice: Essays in honour of David Miller (eds.) Bell and de-Shalit, Philosophical Quarterly vol. 55, January 2005 pp. 147-149.
- Review: Natural Goodness by Philippa Foot, Philosophical Books vol. 44, April 2003 pp. 179-181.
- Encyclopaedia Entry: ‘Philippa Foot’, Encyclopaedia of Twentieth Century British Philosophers, (Thoemmes Press).
- Encyclopedia Entry: ‘J. L. Mackie’, International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Blackwell), forthcoming.
- Encyclopedia Entry: ‘Thick and Thin Concepts’, International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Blackwell), forthcoming.
- 2012: Practical Reasoning. Kent. June. Speakers: Michael Smith, Daniel Star, Jonathan Way.
- 2011: Knowing What to Do. Kent. April. Co-organised with Joel Rickard . Supported by The Aristotelian Society, The Mind Association, The Analysis Trust and University of Kent. Keynote speakers: Chappell, Goldie, Hooker, Lenman, Price, Roeser.
- 2009: Thick Concepts, July 3rd-5th, Kent. Keynote speakers: Jonathan Dancy, Daniel Elstein, Allan Gibbard, Chris Hookway, Tom Hurka, Simon Kirchin, Jerry Levinson, A. W. Moore, Michael Smith, Alan Thomas, Pekka Vayrynen , Nick Zangwill.
- 2008: The 10th Anniversary of Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. Amsterdam, 19th-20th March 2008. Organizing committee.
- 2007: Kendall Walton and the Aesthetics of Photography and Film, November 2007. Organizing committee.
- 2004: Moral Particularism, one-day conference (December), co-organised with Alan Thomas, Kent. Speakers: Roger Crisp, Jonathan Dancy and Mike Ridge as well as speakers from Kent’s faculty.
- 2004: British Society for Philosophy of Science annual conference (July).
- 2004: Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and Mind Association annual conference (July).
- 2004: British Society for Ethical Theory annual conference (July).
- 2004: Kant’s Practical Philosophy Reconsidered, one-day conference (March), co-organised with Alan Thomas. Speakers: Robert Louden, Adrian Moore and Philip Stratton-Lake as well as speakers from Kent’s faculty.
During 2012-2013 Simon is teaching:
- Philosophical Texts 2: On What Matters – 2nd/3rd year
- Metaethics – 2nd/3rd year
- Thick Concepts – MA seminars
- Contemporary Aesthetics – MA module
Research Postgraduate Supervision
Simon is currently supervising the following PhD students:
- Claudia Jansen (email@example.com): ‘Reimagining Metaethics’
- Joe Walsh (firstname.lastname@example.org): ‘Metaethics and Evolution’
- Emma Topham (email@example.com) (in Law, co-supervising with Steve Pethick): ‘Thick Concepts and Jurisprudence’
- Tom McGuffog (firstname.lastname@example.org): ‘Aesthetics Concepts’
Previous research students:
- Lisa Grover, ‘Moral Virtue, Personality and Narrative’ [now a post-doc at Essex]
- Joel Rickard ‘Particularism, Generalism and Moral Knowledge’ [now an A-Level Philosophy and Politics tutor]
Simon has also supervised a number of MA students on various topics, most often in aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and political philosophy.back to top
- Aesthetics Online
- The Aristotelian Society
- Arts and Letters Daily
- Bioethics Web
- British Philosophical Association
- British Society for Ethical Theory
- Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
- The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
- Jimmy Lenman’s Metaethics Bibliography
- The Philosophers’ Magazine
- The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
- Wolverhampton Wanderers FC