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Jennifer Hornsby


Jennifer Hornsby’s BA, MPhil and PhD are from Oxford, London and Cambridge respectively. She is Emeritus Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where she was a Tutorial Fellow from 1978 until she came to Birkbeck where she has been Professor since 1995. She was a founder member of the Centre for the Study of the Mind in Nature, Oslo, and a Co-Director for ten years until 2017. She has held research positions in U.S.A., Australia and Norway. She is a Fellow of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and of the British Academy. In 2017–18, she is a Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford.

Research Activity

    An indication of Jennifer Hornsby’s own recent work can be got from lectures/talks she gave in the last eighteen months:

    - presented a paper “Causality and Perception”, to the Activity and Perception conference, University of Patras, 7th–8th May 2014.

    - presented a Postscript to her 2008 paper at a workshop (named after that paper) Agency and Alienation, University of Leipzig, 22nd–24th May 2014.

    - was the speaker at two events at HowTheLightGetsIn (a philosophy festival organized by the Institute of Ideas) Hay on Wye, May 2014.

    - gave a talk “Perception: from phenomenology to epistemology via metaphysics” to the Serious Metaphysics Group, Cambridge, 11th June 2014.

    - was the Townsend visitor (delivering three lectures), UC Berkeley, 22nd–28th Sept 2014.

    - was the invited speaker at the XXIII SIUCC Conference, presenting three papers, and responding to ten others on her work, Seville, 6th–8th Nov 2014.

    - was a contributor to In Our Time: Truth, BBC Radio 4, 18th December 2014.

    - gave the Simon Lectures at the University of Toronto, 24th and 26th March 2015.

    - presented a paper “Knowing How and Intending”, At the Speed of Thought: Celebrating Paul F Snowdon, 19th June 2015.

    - gave the Canadian Journal of Philosophy Distinguished Lecture, “Infinitives in Practical Thought”, at the Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Congress, Ottawa, 31st May–3rd June 2015.

    - gave the Theoria lecture, “What to think? and What to do?”, at the Swedish Annual Philosophy Congress, Linköping, 12th–14th June 2015.

    - will give a paper to the Oxford Graduate Workshop, “Propositions and Acts”, 14th Nov 2015.

    - will give a lecture “Means/End Beliefs vs Knowledge How To” at the Royal Institute of Philosophy, 20th Nov 2015.


  • Recent publications include:
  • “Intending, knowing how, infinitives”. Canadian Journal of Philosophy (2016), vol.46.
  • “Causality and ‘the mental’“. In Humana Mente, vol 29 (2015) (volume entitled Causality and Mental Causality), 125–140.
  • “A Contrast Between Two Pictures: The case of perception”. Philosophical Topics 42 (2015)
  • “Pornography and ‘Speech’” in The Philosophy of Pornography: Contemporary Perspectives, eds. L.Coleman and J.Held (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2014).
  • Basic Activity”. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (2013): 1–18.
  • “The Politics We Live By: Leveson and Women”. Women: A Cultural Review 24 (2013), 128–32.
  • A full list of Jennifer Hornsby’s publications is available here, and many of her publications can be got from here.

Research Supervision

  • Jen welcomes research students in any of the areas of her research interests:
    • Philosophy of action, mind and language
    • Metaphysics: especially causality and “events, states, processes”
    • Topics in social and feminist philosophy relating to language use
  • She currently is, or recently has been, supervising research students on questions about agency, personal identity, practical knowledge, evolution (in biology).
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