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Stacie Friend


Stacie Friend is a Senior Lecturer and the Director of Education and Undergraduate Programmes in Philosophy. She taught at Birkbeck from 2005-2007 and rejoined the department in 2014, having taught in between at Heythrop College, University of London. She previously lectured at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania (2003-05) and at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (2002-03). She received her PhD in Philosophy from Stanford University in 2002.

Stacie is the President of the British Society of Aesthetics and an organiser of the London Aesthetics Forum series of talks at the Institute of Philosophy. She is also a co-investigator on a three-year Leverhulme Trust research project on 'Learning from Fiction' (2018-2021), with Gregory Currie (Philosophy, York) and Heather Ferguson (Psychology, Kent). For more information about the project, see:

Stacie has been a Visiting Professor at the Institut Jean-Nicod/Ecole normale supérieure (Paris), the LOGOS Research Group at the University of Barcelona and the Aesthetics Department at the University of Uppsala. She was a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow in 2013-14.

Research papers may be found at

Watch a video of Stacie's keynote address at the Korean Society for Aesthetics, 'Based on a True Story', at

Hear a podcast of Stacie's talk at the Moral Sciences Club, University of Cambridge, 'Fiction and Emotion: The Normative Question', at

Hear a podcast of Stacie's talk for the Aristotelian Society, 'Fiction as a Genre', at

Hear a podcast of Stacie discussing Philosophy and Literature with Professors Gregory Currie (Nottingham) and Edward Harcourt (Keble College, Oxford) on the Philosophy Now radio show at

Research Activity

  • Stacie's research has focused primarily on issues at the intersection of aesthetics, mind and language, especially as these pertain to problems raised by our engagement with fictional narratives and fictional characters.
  • She has published on empty names, the nature of fiction, the metaphysics of fictional characters, emotional responses to fiction and tragedy, and the cognitive values of fiction and literature.
  • She is currently engaged in research concerning how we learn from fiction. Other projects include an analysis of the role of fiction and imagination in scientific modelling.

Selected Publications

  • 'Fiction and Emotion: The Puzzle of Divergent Norms', British Journal of Aesthetics (forthcoming)
  • 'Categories of Literature', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (2020)
  • 'The Fictional Character of Scientific Models', in The Scientific Imagination, edited by Peter Godfrey-Smith and Arnon Levy, Oxford University Press (2019)
  • 'Real Portraits in Literature', in Portraits and Philosophy, edited by Hans Maes, Routledge (2019)
  • ‘Elucidating the Truth in Criticism’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (2017): 387-399
  • ‘The Real Foundation of Fictional Worlds’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2017): 29-42
  • ‘Notions of Nothing’, in Empty Representations: Reference and Non-Existence, edited by Manuel García-Carpintero and Genoveva Martí, Oxford University Press (2014)
  • ‘Believing in Stories’, in Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind, edited by Gregory Currie, Matthew Kieran, Aaron Meskin, and Jon Robson. Oxford University Press (2014)
  • ‘Fiction as a Genre’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (2012): 179-209
  • ‘The Great Beetle Debate: A Study in Imagining with Names’, Philosophical Studies 153 (2011): 183-211
  • ‘Getting Carried Away’, Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. XXXIV: Film and the Emotions, edited by Peter French and Howard Wettstein. Wiley-Blackwell (2010): 77-105

Research Supervision

  • Aesthetics, language, and mind, especially (but not exclusively) where these are related to fiction, literature, film, reference/intentionality, and non-existence
  • Some topics that students are researching include learning from fiction, non-existence, natural kind terms and aesthetic appreciation


Please contact me by email to arrange a suitable time.