Ellie Robson is a CHASE funded Doctoral Research at Birkbeck, University of London (2019-2022). She completed both her BA and MA at Durham University (2015-2018) under the supervision of Dr Clare MacCumhaill.

Ellie’s PhD thesis is the contextual revival and analysis of Mary Midgley’s moral philosophy – most specifically, Midgley’s moral naturalism. Though never specifically placing herself in such as school, Ellie’s thesis excavates and examines the specific flavour of naturalism that runs through the naturalism of Midgley. Ellie’s research takes off from Durham University’s In Parenthesis project. Before In Parenthesis Midgley’s philosophy had not been situated within this mutually enlightening female school. Though popular outside the discipline, out of the four Midgley faces the strongest oversight within academic philosophy. Historically, Ellie’s specific contribution to the task of reviving this school is an excavation of the connections between the naturalisms of Midgley and Philippa Foot, within which there are important similarities and differences. If connected with Midgleyan naturalism, the success of Footian naturalism within the academic tradition lays claim to the historic and continued relevance of Midgleyan naturalism. Thus, tracing Midgley’s connection with Foot is worthwhile in establishing her legitimacy and status in the history of philosophy. Ellie aims to excavate and establish Benjamin Lipscomb’s suggestion that Beast and Man, ‘in its level of detail and consequent applicability, in its accessibility and potential influence, in its engagement with relevant science and empirical adequacy (…) is more powerful than Natural Goodness’.

Beyond her PhD, Ellie has contributed a chapter on Mary Midgley to the recently published book The Philosopher Queens (edited by Lisa Whiting and Rebecca Buxton). As part of a team up between the Philosopher Queens and The View Magazine, Ellie contributed to a blog post on women in philosophy, which is available here.

For In Parenthesis, Ellie wrote a blog post on Midgley’s concept of philosophical plumbing here. She also contributed to the graduate reading list, coordinated by Annie MacCallian, here. Ellie also contributed to the In Parenthesis project podcast, episodes available here.

Some of Ellie’s recent talks and events include:

  • HowTheLightGetsIn: The Big Sofa. A friendly exchange of ideas with fellow In Parenthesis friends: Ian James Kidd and Amber Donovan. Podcast forthcoming.
  • British Postgraduate Philosophy Association. A Talk Entitled: Naturalism as World-Oriented: Midgley as a Supplement to Foot. Available on YouTube, here.
  • British Society for the History of Philosophy, Annual Conference, talk entitled Delimiting the Ethical Domain. Breakout room called: Ethics and Emotions in the British Analytic Tradition.
  • Panellist on LSE Philosophy Forum ‘Mary Midgley and Why she Matters’ event. Available to watch on YouTube here.
  • Key speaker at ‘100 years on: Mary Midgley Memorial’ event.
  • Coordinator of ‘Open and Archives’ session at Durham University Book Festival 2019.

Email address: ellie.robson@btinternet.com
Twitter: @philosophellie