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Jennifer Hornsby


Jennifer Hornsby’s BA, MPhil and PhD are from Oxford, London and Cambridge respectively. She was a founder member of the Centre for the Study of the Mind in Nature, Oslo, and has been CoDirector of its Rational Agency section since 1997. She has held research positions in U.S.A., Australia and Norway. 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.

Currently her office hours are Mondays: 2.15 - 3.30.

Research Activity

  • An indication of Jennifer Hornsby’s own recent work can be got from lectures/talks she gave in 2013:
  • ‘Zeno in Action’ (Utrecht, Feb.);  ‘Process in Mind’ (London, Mar.); ‘Thompson's initial segment argument’ (London, Mar.); ‘What’s Intentionally Done’ (Toronto, Apr.);  ‘On Ryle’s Knowing How To’ (Leipzig, Apr.);  ‘Accuracy and Integrity’ (York, May);  ‘Basic Activity’ (Exeter, Jly);  ‘Free Speech and Pornographic “Speech Acts”‘ (London, Jly.); ‘Imperfectivity and Paradox’ (Kirchberg, Aug.); ‘Causality and Activity’ (Mülheim an der Ruhr, Sept.);  ‘Implications of the Imperfective Paradox’ (London, Sept.);  ‘Knowledge Acquired and Put into Practice’ (Saarbrucken, Oct.);  ‘Acts and Other Events, and Subsequent Happenings’ (Cambridge, Oct.);  ‘The Imperfective Paradox and the Nature of Events’ (St Andrews, Nov.).
  • Jen continues to work on questions about speech and free speech, and in philosophy of action. She plans to develop her work in the metaphysics of action in a larger project about the occupancy of the “temporal world”.
  • Jen has recently organized three recent Workshops. Two were Birkbeck based, and focused on topics in the project of Christos Douskos, a post-doc in the Department: Habits, Skills and Action Explanation (March), and Aspect, Process and Know-How (May). The third, on Helen Steward’s book A Metaphysics for Freedom, was held at C.S.M.N., Oslo (April). A special issue of Inquiry containing eight papers from that workshop with replies by Helen Steward has been published (2013).


  • Recent publications include:
  • Basic Activity". Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):1-18, 2013.
  • “Actions and Activity”. Philosophical Issues 22 (1): 233-245, 2012.
  • “Knowledge of Meaning and Epistemic Interdependence". In Prospects for Meaning, ed. R. Schantz (De Gruyter, Berlin), 2012.
  • “Ryle’s Knowing How, and Knowing How to Act”. In Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action, eds. J. Bengson and M. Moffett. (Oxford University Press, 2011.)
  • “Actions in Their Circumstances”. In Essays on Anscombe’s Intention, eds. A. Ford, J.Hornsby and F. Stoutland (Harvard University Press, 2011).
  • A full list of Jennifer Hornsby’s publications is available 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 is currently supervising research students on questions about agency, personal identity, practical knowledge, freedom.