Joshua Forstenzer

BA, MA, PhD (University of Sheffield), FHEA, FRSA

Department of Philosophy

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Joshua Forstenzer stood outside HRI building

Full contact details

Joshua Forstenzer
Department of Philosophy
45 Victoria Street
S3 7QB

I am a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Co-Director of the Centre for Engaged Philosophy. I work mostly on John Dewey, the tradition of American pragmatism, democratic education, and other related topics. My work has been supported by the British Academy, the Yale Centre for Faith and Culture, and Higher Education Innovation Funding. My research and teaching are driven by the sense that philosophy, at its best, can operate across disciplinary boundaries and engage meaningfully with public concerns. I have held visiting and residency roles at the Harvard Kennedy School, Tufts' College of Civic Life, the European Parliament, and in civic organisations in the UK and in France.

Research interests

My research interests are in American Pragmatism, Philosophy of Education, and Social and Political Philosophy. My first book, Deweyan Experimentalism and the Problem of Method in Political Philosophy (Routledge, 2019) addresses the relevance of John Dewey's philosophy for contemporary social and political philosophy. I have also published papers on Dewey's democratic ideal, theories of citizen disengagement, Richard Rorty's ethnocentric liberalism, the benefits of philosophical education, and epistemic vice in higher education policy.

My current projects address the role of gratitude in Cornel West's prophetic pragmatism, the significance of 'consummatory experiences' in undergraduate education, and the civic benefits of philosophical education. In particular, Dr Vachararutai Boontinand and I were awarded a British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship and a Thailand Research Fund grant to undertake a project entitled 'Philosophical Enquiry as a Pedagogy for Teaching Critical Thinking and Democratic Citizenship in Higher Education' (2018-2021).




  • Forstenzer J (2019) Deweyan Experimentalism and the Problem of Method in Political Philosophy. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • Forstenzer J (2021) Re-enchanting Undergraduate Education: On the Project of Metamorphosis in English Higher Education, Debating Higher Education: Philosophical Perspectives (pp. 81-92). Springer Singapore RIS download Bibtex download
  • Forstenzer J (2019) Beyond Relativism? Rorty and MacIntyre on Historicism and Progress In Müller M (Ed.), Handbuch Richard Rorty Springer VS View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Forstenzer JI (2017) Reconsidering Dewey's Democratic Socialism in the Age of Populism In Reder M, Filipovic A, Finkelde D & Wallacher J (Ed.), Jahrbuch Praktische Philosophie in Globaler Perspektive / Yearbook Practical Philosophy in a Global Perspective Schwerpunkt: Pragmatistische Impulse / Focus: Exploring Pragmatist Options (pp. 50-73). Munchen: Verlag Karl Aber. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Forstenzer JI (2016) Humanism, Democracy and Engaged Learning RIS download Bibtex download
  • Forstenzer J (2012) Education, active citizenship and applied social intelligence: Some democratic tools to meet the threat of climate change, Rethinking Climate Change Research: Clean Technology, Culture and Communication (pp. 177-191). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Forstenzer J () Paying Tribute: Cornel West’s Prophetic Gratitude as Social Movement Building and Self-Transcendence In Siddiqui M & Vette N (Ed.), A Theology of Gratitude: Christian and Muslim Perspectives RIS download Bibtex download

Book reviews

  • Forstenzer J (2015) "Inequality and the 1%" by Danny Dorling. Marx and Philosophy Review of Books. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Forstenzer J (2011) A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy. Journal of Moral Philosophy, 8(1), 161-164. RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers

  • Forstenzer J (2018) Something Has Cracked: Post-Truth Politics and Richard Rorty’s Postmodernist Bourgeois Liberalism. Ash Center Occasional Papers, Vol. July 2018. Cambridge, Massachusetts View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download


  • Forstenzer J (2016) Written evidence submitted by Dr. Joshua Forstenzer (PQE0106) in response to 'Purpose and quality of education in England' Parliamentary inquiry RIS download Bibtex download
  • Forstenzer JI (2016) The Teaching Excellence Framework: What's the Purpose? View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Forstenzer J (2015) Written evidence by Dr Joshua Forstenzer (QHE 13) in response to 'Assessing quality in Higher Education' Parliamentary inquiry RIS download Bibtex download

Website content

Research group

I am keen to supervise postgraduate students in the Philosophy Department or through the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies. Students interested in the philosophy of education, democratic theory, social and political philosophy (especially those working in the traditions of pragmatism and critical theory), and American Pragmatism are welcome to get in touch with me.

Primary supervision:

  • Peter Worley: Why Philosophy for Children? The Greeks and the Pragmatists 
  • Tahmin Yesmin Shova: Active Citizenship and Multiculturalism

Secondary supervision:

  • Bayram Gunce: Religious Education and Critical Realism 
Teaching interests

My teaching is driven by an engaged pedagogic outlook, rooted in the Deweyan tradition of 'learning by doing'. I have received training from both SAPERE and The Philosophy Foundation, so my teaching is influenced by pedagogic practices rooted in the community of philosophical enquiry, as well by pedagogic efforts spear-headed by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical orientations to flourishing.

Teaching activities
Teaching Activities:

PHI 135 - Writing Philosophy

PHI 31011 - How to Change the World From Here? Utopia, Reform and Democracy

PHI 61012 - How to Change the World From Here? Utopia, Reform and Democracy