James Kirkpatrick

Fixed-Term Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy

My research focuses mainly on philosophy of language. I am particularly interested in the meaning of generic sentences, definite descriptions, proper names, and pronouns, as well as foundational issues in formal semantics. I also work on related issues in epistemology and ethics, and, more recently, the philosophy of AI.

At Somerville, I teach General Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, Introduction to Logic, Ethics, Knowledge and Reality, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophical Logic, Philosophy of Logic and Language, and Practical Ethics.

Before Somerville, I taught at St Catherine’s College, Oxford and Magdalen College, Oxford, as well as the Linguistics Department at UCL.

I read for my DPhil (PhD) at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof Paul Elbourne and Prof Timothy Williamson. Before that, I read for a BPhil in Philosophy at Oxford, an MLitt in Philosophy at the Universities of St Andrews and Stirling (SASP), and a BA in Philosophy at the University of Reading.

In addition to philosophy, I enjoy art, photography, and ashtanga yoga.


‘Generic Conjunctivitis’, Linguistics & Philosophy 46, pp. 379–428 (2023).

‘Indicative Conditionals and Epistemic Luminosity’, Mind 131(521), pp. 231–258. (2022) (with Matthew Hewson)

‘Contextualism Preserved’, Philosophical Perspectives. 35, pp. 320-339 (2021).

‘Permissibility and the Aggregation of Risks’, Utilitas 30(1), pp. 107–119 (2018).

‘Broome’s Theory of Fairness and the Problem of Quantifying Strengths of Claims’, Utilitas 27(1), pp. 82–91 (2015). (with Nick Eastwood)

Where Next?