Women In Parenthesis was founded in 2015 as a research collaboration between Dr Clare MacCumhaill (Durham University) and Dr Rachael Wiseman (University of Liverpool). Since then we have been joined by numerous friends, researchers, students and archivists! You can find out about some of them and their work below.
There is now a global community of experts and enthusiasts drawing inspiration from the work and lives of the Quartet. You can join too by logging your details on Mapping The Quartet, funded by the British Academy, to ‘map the quartet’!
Women In Parenthesis is a partner of Extending New Narratives in the History of Philosophy.
Meet the philosophy students who have worked with us and are doing graduate studies on the Quartet.
Dr Rachael Wiseman
Lecturer, University of Liverpool
Rachael is a philosopher of mind, action and ethics and works especially on the philosophy of G. E. M. Anscombe. With Clare she co-directs the In Parenthesis Project. More…
Dr Clare MacCumhaill
Lecturer, Durham University
Clare is a philosopher of perception, aesthetics and mind. With Rachael she co-directs the In Parenthesis Project. More…
Rachel is a project manager working in the arts and cultural sector. She joined our team in 2019 to oversee the production of our public programme and partnership work.
Sally is a graphic and web designer with a passion for projects that drive positive social change. Her work includes the design and delivery of participatory projects, brand strategy and visual identity, artist-led collaborations and all kinds of work across print and web. She collaborates with clients to shape meaningful projects that make a difference.
PhD student, University of Liverpool
Sam Cooper has a BA and MA from University of York. He is working on, among other things, Simone Weil, Iris Murdoch, Aquinas and Wittgenstein. He has written a number of pieces for the website, which you can find here.
Amber is a PhD student at Durham working (with Clare MacCumhaill) on Environmental philosophy, specifically, on Mary Midgley’s use of the concept ‘Gaia’. She is also interested in meta-philosophy, and is keen to explore creative ways of practicing philosophy which challenge problematic hegemonic practices. She has been working with the In Parenthesis project since 2017.
Read more here.
Sasha Lawson Frost
BPhil Student, Oxford University
Sasha completed her BA in Philosophy at UCL, and is currently doing her MA at Durham. Next academic year, she will be starting a PhD at Durham on Simone Weil and Iris Murdoch, particularly looking at the theme of obedience in their ethical thought. In the meantime, she is thinking lots about Plato, Wittgenstein, and Syriac philosophy.
Read more here.
PhD student, Manchester University and University of Liverpoool
Annie worked as an intern on In Parenthesis 2016-17 and designed our reading programme. Her PhD research investigates women’s representation in philosophy – with a particular emphasis on reasons for women’s attrition from the discipline…
PhD Student, Birkbeck College, London
Ellie completed a BA and MA at Durham and started working with the In Parenthesis team at the beginning of 2017. Ellie has a specific interest in Mary Midgley on whom is writing her PhD.
Find out more about Ellie’s research here.
PhD student, Antwerp University
Lotte writes a dissertation at the University of Antwerp with Iris Murdoch as a source of inspiration. Lotte focuses on the combination of love and ethics and combines this with feminist ethics and feminist epistemology. She is a very active pop-philosophy writer and podcast producer in the low countries (Netherlands and Belgium), where a community of Murdoch enthusiasts is now growing. In 2021 she will publish the book Liefde en Revolutie (translated: Love and revolution) which discusses Murdoch’s concept of loving attention as a revolutionary companion.
Hazel is an aspiring theorist and writer from South Wales. Having studied her BA at the University of Gloucestershire and MPhil at Cardiff university she has a broad range of philosophical interests straddling the analytic-continental divide. She agrees with Midgley that philosophy is a necessary and integral part of life and is currently working on a piece ‘Who is philosophy for?’ which seeks to argue that philosophy is for everybody.
You can read her introduction to Midgley’s Rings and Books here.
Interns, Volunteers & Reading Group Facilitators
Student Intern, 2020
Nav is a Durham Social Sciences undergraduate, drawn to the Quartet after reading Murdoch’s “The Idea of Perfection”. He joined the programme to explore the context in which these four philosophers fundamentally changed the landscape of modern philosophy, and what this teaches us about how we ought to teach and learn. He is also interested in the application of philosophical propositions to their logical ends in fields like economics and anthropology.
Post graduate, Durham University
Jazmine was intern on the project (2017-18). She convened the Durham University reading group and worked with PhilSoc. more…
Westminster School graduate 2022
Amia’s work with Women in Parenthesis hopes to connect A-Level students with the wider depth of philosophy, helping to centralise the female voice in their introductions to Philosophy and bring recognition to those influential philosophers like Midgley, Foot, Anscombe, and Murdoch who, in the face of Ayer and logical positivism, brought metaphysics “back to life.” She presented her paper at the Westminster Philosophical Horizons conference answering, ‘Is there a universal right to cross borders and on what basis is citizenship conferred or denied?’ At a seminar entitled, The Scientific View on the Humanities, she engaged with academics from Stanford Online School about denouncing the myth that sciences and the humanities offer competing visions for the human being. She also responded to a paper at the Young Philosophers’ Conference, rebuking William James’ claim that the history of philosophy is to a great extent that of a clash of human temperaments. You can read her piece aimed at other A-Level students to inspire them to read and engage with Midgley’s papers here.
PhD student at the University of Sheffield
Will works on the philosophy of action and perception, and his thesis is about the role that habits play in the explanation of action. In 2019 he worked for a month on a primarily historical project for Women in Parenthesis, focussing on the background condition they have identified in the flourishing of the four of them: the fact that a lot of men at Oxford fought in the war, or were seconded by the intelligence services. He will be looking at what a number of these philosophers did during the war, and charting how it affected the philosophical output and culture of Oxford throughout the wartime period.
Student, Durham University
Georgia is in her second year of her Philosophy BA at Durham and is convening the Durham University Reading Group for 2021. She was drawn to the project after reading Murdoch’s Sovereignty of Good. Her aims are to explore how learning about the Quartet impacts the work of current undergraduate women in philosophy like herself. Additionally, she is particularly interested in feminist epistemology and the philosophy of love.
M. St. Student, Oxford University
Mitch is currently completing the M. St. in English (1900-Present strand) at Hertford College, Oxford University. Before this, they were an undergraduate in English at The University of Manchester and at Freie Universität, Berlin. They are interested in the possibilities of genetic criticism, textual theory, and book-historical approaches as they relate to the work of queer and/or women writers of the C20th, with particular emphasis on the poetry notebooks of Iris Murdoch, as well as her wider ‘literary’-philosophical milieu.
Student, Durham University
Amber is in the third year of her English and Philosophy BA. She was drawn to the quartet by Anscombe’s ‘Intentionality of sensation’ and stayed for Midgely’s Gaia and Murdoch’s novels! She is interested in the intersection between the philosophy of action and the philosophy of Psychiatry.
Student Intern 2020, MA student, University of Guelph
Amy worked as an intern with In Parenthesis in 2020 and 2022 and produced the Women In Parenthesis podcast. In 2021 she completed her BA in philosophy at Mount Allison University, Canada, and for her honours thesis she explored the concept of privacy in Iris Murdoch’s picture of moral growth. Amy is now pursuing an MA in philosophy at the University of Guelph.
Running a Reading Group?
Let us know if you would like to be included among our collaborators
Hannah Marije Altorf
Hannah is Reader in Philosophy at St. Mary’s University. Her work on Iris Murdoch’s philosophy explores Murdoch’s understanding of human beings as ‘imaginative fantasising animals’, using the work of Michèle le Doeuff. She has a published a monograph (Iris Murdoch and the Art of Imagining, Continuum 2008).
Lecturer, University of Hertfordshire
Maria is lecturer in philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire. She is the author of ‘Wittgenstein and Lacan at the Limit: meaning and astonishment’ and the editor of the collection ‘Cora Diamond on Ethics’ (forthcoming). Her current research project brings together Heidegger and Arendt on the significance of earthly nature for humans, and studies the concepts of nature, earth, and technology.
Ana is an independent scholar interested in ethics and metaethics, and is trying to understand which metaethical framework and what conception of morality the women of the Quartet worked with. Early inroads into that turned into her ‘Murdoch and Freedom’, forthcoming in Freedom after Kant, Bloomsbury, edited by Joe Saunders. Ana is also a frequent contributor to In Parenthesis projects: with Hannah Altorf, she co-facilitated the reading group at the Royal Institute of Philosophy 2018-2019 marking the centenary of the Quartet, she lead a summer school on the moral thought of the Quartet hosted by the University of Munich in 2019, she put together the locations of Mapping the Quartet, is the main author of the Book Club questions for Metaphysical Animals and of the Oxford self-guided tour. She has also given numerous talks on the thought of the Quartet to both professional and lay audiences.
Mara is interested in the relation between reason and emotions, in particular regarding human-animal-relations. She agrees with Mary Midgley that “sensitivity requires rationality to complete it, and vice versa”. Drawing on her background in political philosophy and philosophical pragmatism, she has just published Humans and other Animals, a book on becoming passionate (about) animals (in German, the English version will follow suit soon). Mara is also pursuing a literary career, mostly in poetry, and has come up with a couple of creative “animal-assisted philosophy” interventions that allow her to combine all of her interests – and share them with others.
Professor of Philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University (Maryland)
Jessy’s current scholarly work is focused on defending Neo-Aristotelian natural normativity from its detractors. He has published articles on Philippa Foot and Iris Murdoch
Ian James Kidd
Ian is a lecturer in philosophy at University of Nottingham. He works on epistemic virtues and vices, philosophy of illness and broadly across ethics and history of philosophy. With Liz McKinnell, he co-edited Science and the Self: Animals, Evolution, and Ethics: Essays in Honour of Mary Midgley (Routledge, 2015).
PhD researcher, Cambridge University
David is interested in the history of gender performance in modern British philosophy. His research details the adoption of elite modes of gender expression by first-generation female post-graduate students in the Moral Sciences Faculty at Cambridge. He contributes to Women (in Parenthesis) perspectives on the nature of doing philosophy with men after 1922, especially as it concerns the intellectual lives of women of talent like the American logician Alice Ambrose (1906-2001).
Professor, The College of Idaho
Greg McElwain is Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies at The College of Idaho, USA. His research focuses on the thought of Mary Midgley and the intersection of animal and environmental ethics. He is author of Mary Midgley: An Introduction (Bloomsbury, 2019) and collaborated with Midgley during the final years of her life.
Post Doctoral Research Assistant
Liz works primarily in environmental ethics and feminist philosophy. She co-edited Science and the Self Animals, Evolution, and Ethics: Essays in Honour of Mary Midgley. She is the project’s PDRA and philosopher in residence at the Midgley Archive.
Visual Artist, UK
Carol is interested in the contemporary relevance of Iris Murdoch’s fictional writing about women’s experience and her ideas about classification. Carol’s practice is rooted in the aesthetic context of conceptual writing, and she is the author of ‘Cartography for Girls, an A-Z of Orientations identified within the Novels of Iris Murdoch’. She uses Instagram as a platform to share and explore these representations of female agency, most recently in relation to the lockdowns.
Teaching Fellow, Durham University & IP Research Assistant
Richard works on Aesthetics, with specialism in the philosophy of Adorno. He designed the Resources for Teachers on this website.
Senior Lecturer, University of Liverpool
Dr Vassilopoulou is an expert in Plotinus — the topic of Mary Midgley’s thesis — and works, among other things, on feminist pedagogy and the role of myth in philosophical argument. Read more…
Teaching Fellow, Durham University
Peter West works primarily in the history of philosophy and is especially interested in recovering the work of women philosophers. He is particularly interested in the metaphysics and epistemology of Margaret Cavendish and the popular philosophical writings of Susan Stebbing. Read more…
Archivist, Durham University
Andrew is archivist at Durham University. He has catalogued the material gifted by Mary Midgley and her family and is on hand to discuss all things Midgley!
Program & communications coordinator, Collegium Institute, UPenn
Jess works at the Collegium Institute and is also the founder of a new project, Commonplace Living. She studied Art History and English during her undergraduate years and received her MA in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Her current research interests surround an exploration of enclosed gardens, particularly as the trope has developed and changed throughout the history of art, it’s use in nineteenth and twentieth century painting and it’s relation to the depiction of women. She is coordinating the partnership between #philosophybypostcard and the Collegium Institute, and developing a new arts initiative for the Collegium Institute.