Amia Srinivasan


About Me

I am a fellow in philosophy at All Souls College, Oxford. I recently completed my DPhil under the supervision of John Hawthorne and Tim Williamson. In my dissertation I suggest an approach to epistemology, ethics and metaphilosophy that is more tragic. A tragic approach is one that acknowledges the way in which our knowledge -- of our own minds, of what is normatively required of us, and of philosophical truths -- is hostage to forces outside our control. I’m currently thinking about the role of anger in politics, the nature of feminist philosophy, and what sort of metaphysics/epistemology (realist or anti-realist) is required for political action (and what such a requirement might amount to).

My next big project will be on the genealogical contingency of belief: what should we make of the fact that all of our beliefs, concepts and commitments are radically contingent on our particular location in space and time? What do naturalistic stories of belief-formation imply for the relationship between mind and world, reason and cause?The project will trace thinking about this question from Xenophanes through the great 19th and 20th century debunkers (Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Foucault) to contemporary experimental attacks on philosophy. Along the way I hope to show how such genealogical anxiety has shaped the vexed relationship between Analytic philosophy and the rest of the Humanities, why an epistemology that is sanguine about the role of luck in knowledge acquisition might be the best defence against genealogical anxiety, and how a certain kind of pragmatism can offer a different sort of metaphilosophical refuge.

I’ll be joining the UCL Philosophy Department in Autumn 2015.


My philosophical interests lie in epistemology, ethics, metaphilosophy, feminism, political and social philosophy, Kant and post-Kantian philosophy.

I’m also interested in alternatives to liberalism and capitalism, aesthetic modernism, the politics of sex and gender, the long-form essay and food.


You can email me at: <amia [dot] srinivasan [at]>, or write me at:  All Souls College, Oxford OX1 4AL, U.K.

I tweet occasionally from @amiasrinivasan.

Seminars & Teaching:

THROWNNESS OF BELIEF (Trinity 2015): On the genealogical contingency of belief, from Xenophanes to contemporary evolutionary debunking arguments.

SCHMILOSOPHY (Trinity 2013). We discussed an eclectic selection of philosophically interesting texts from outside the analytic philosophy canon: from postcolonial theory, sociology, musicology, film theory, cultural criticism, psychoanalysis, and Continental philosophy. Open to open-minded philosophers. For information, including a syllabus, click here.

FEMINISM IN ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY (Michaelmas 2012). I co-convened (with Paul Lodge) a seminar on feminist analytic philosophy, focussing on the question of what a feminist perspective can contribute to first-order issues in philosophy. For more information click here.

READING RORTY (Trinity 2012). I ran a seminar on the metaphilosophy of Richard Rorty at Oxford in Trinity 2012. For more information, including a syllabus, please click here.

THE GENEALOGY SEMINAR (Trinity 2011). I co-convened (with Josh Billings) a multidisciplinary seminar on the theme of Genealogy. For more information please click here.

Philosophy papers

The Aptness of Anger”: defending the role of anger in politics [draft]

Normativity without Cartesian privilege”: on the implications of an Anti-Cartesian view of the mind for ethics and epistemology, forthcoming in Philosophical Issues [draft]

The Archimedean Urge”: on genealogical scepticism about philosophical judgment [draft]

Comments on Nussbaum (given at Why Love Matters for Justice: Workshop on Nussbaum’s Political Emotions, UCL Institute for Human Rights, 31 May 2014)

Disagreement without Transparency: Some Bleak Thoughts” (with John Hawthorne), in Jennifer Lackey and David Christensen (eds.), The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays (OUP, 2013) [uncorrected proof]

Are We Luminous?”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2013) [this is an uncorrected proof -- for the published version, click here]


General audience philosophy things

After the Meteor Strike” (review of Scheffler’s Death and the Afterlife) London Review of Books (25 September 2014)

In Defence of Anger, BBC Radio 4, 27 August, 2014. (Transcript here.)

Philosophy bites podcast on genealogy, August 02, 2014.

Dependents of the State”, The Stone, The New York Times (26 February 2013); reprinted in Social Journal Europe (2 April 2013).

In The Long Cool Hour” (review of Kitcher’s The Ethical Project), London Review of Books (6 December 2012)

Laboratory v Armchair” (review of Gendler’s Intuition, Imagination and Philosophical Methodology), London Review of Books (22 September 2011)

Other general audience things

Damn the Dishes” (on the Serial podcast), London Review of Books Blog (10 December 2014)

Armed and Ludicrous” (on North Korea), TANK Magazine, Vol. 7, issue 8.

At 195 Mare Street”, (on squatting) London Review of Books Blog (19 August 2013)


My academic CV is available here.

(Photograph by Nina Subin)