Research centres and projects

The department is home to the European Journal of Philosophy, the Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies, and a number of major research projects.


Research centres

Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies

The Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies is based in the Department and directed by Stephen Laurence. It organizes seminars, workshops, and conferences to address foundational issues in the study of the mind and cognition. Since its founding in 1992, there have been more than 40 workshops and conferences, resulting in seven volumes, published by Cambridge and Oxford University Presses.

Centre for the History of Philosophy

The Centre for the History of Philosophy (ChiPhi) is the UK's largest group of scholars working in the history of philosophy, composed of philosophers from Leeds, Sheffield, and York.

Centre for Engaged Philosophy 

The Centre for Engaged Philosophy promotes philosophy that engages deeply in and with real-world issues of significance such as race and racism and ethics in health care.

Current research projects

Journal of Applied Philosophy

The Journal of Applied Philosophy is edited by Chris Bennett. It specializes in promoting philosophical research having direct bearing on areas of practical concern.

Philosophy in the City

Philosophy in the City is a volunteering project led and run by students in the Department. It aims to promote philosophy beyond the university, introduce philosophy to pupils from underperforming schools, and to encourage those pupils to pursue their education and strive towards university. The project was cited as a factor in Sheffield's being named University of the Year 2011.

White Rose Aesthetics Forum

The White Rose Aesthetics Forum involves philosophers from the Universities of Hull, Leeds, Sheffield, and York. It meets three times a year.

AHRC Culture and the Mind

The AHRC Culture and the Mind project brings together top scholars in a broad range of disciplines to investigate the interaction of culture and the mind and it’s philosophical consequences. 

Leverhulme Trust Project Grant

Jules Holroyd's Leverhulme Trust Project Grant is on the topic of 'Bias and Blame' and investigates the impact of moral interactions on the expression of implicit bias. It is an interdisciplinary project with Dr Tom Stafford and Dr Robin Scaife who are based in the Department of Psychology at The University of Sheffield. The aim of the project is to gain a better understanding of how interpersonal interactions can be harnessed to combat discrimination due to implicit racial bias. We have also turned our attention to the sorts of institutional changes that may serve this task, and the sorts of interpersonal interactions that motivate institutional change.


PhilonoUS, the Sheffield Undergraduate Philosophy Journal is run by current undergraduate Philosophy students and showcases some of the best undergraduate work from Sheffield, as well as other national and international undergraduate students.

Other recent projects

Ideas gallery

Daniel Herbert and Daniel Viehoff collaborated with the National Civil War Centre in Newark on an AHRC funded cultural engagement project to create an 'Ideas Gallery'. The Ideas Gallery aimed to introduce some of the philosophical and political ideas- such as political and social equality, religious toleration, freedom of expression, and authority based on a social contract- that played an important part in the Civil War era and still influence our thinking today. The political philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, and their subsequent legacies, were particular points of focus for this project.

Modelling International Cooperation Between States

Holly Lawford-Smith's Marie Curie FP7 Grant "Modelling International Cooperation Between States" is a three-year project aiming to both model cooperation between state agents, and make recommendations about the conditions under which such cooperation is likely to be successful, with a final view to commenting on current negotiations over climate change. The first stage of the project focuses on the nature of states as collective agents. The second stage focuses on whether state agents behave sufficiently similarly to ordinary human agents in at least some contexts that certain lessons from the wide experimental literature on cooperation between human agents apply across. You can watch Holly give a talk about this project here (overview from 1.02-15.40).

Implicit Bias and Philosophy

The Implicit Bias and Philosophy project brings together an international team of philosophers, psychologists, and policy professionals to reflect upon the phenomenon of implicit bias; the project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the University of Sheffield.

Democracy and Criminal Justice

The Democracy and Criminal Justice project inquires into the justice of denying prisoners the right to vote.  It asks whether offenders should lose any of the rights of citizenship and if so, to what extent they should helped to regain them.

Idealism & Pragmatism: Convergence or Contestation? 

This research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, aims to explore the connections between these seemingly opposed philosophical traditions.  It links the Sheffield Philosophy Department with those at Cambridge, Columbia, Frankfurt, Pittsburgh, Sydney, Vanderbilt, and the Collège de France.

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.