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Andrew Fisher

Professor, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2000 with a first class honors degree in Philosophy and an MPhil. I then completed a PhD at St Andrews University and graduated in 2004. The title of my thesis is 'Naturalism, Normativity and the "Open Question" argument' and was supervised by Professor John Skorupski. In the thesis I argued that reductive accounts of morality will always fail, due to the normativity of morality; and that this is best illustrated via the 'Open Question' argument. I started work as a Teaching Fellow at The University of Nottingham in 2003, I was then promoted to Lecturer in 2006, then to Associate Professor in 2010. In 2009 I completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (full 60 credits). In 2010 I graduated from Nottingham with an MA in Higher Education. In 2011 I was appointed the first Director of Teaching for the Faculty of Arts, in 2015 I applied for and was awarded Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Teaching Summary

I love all aspects of teaching and I am fascinated by the philosophy of education, and what a University should be. I am passionate about the transformative features of education and the way… read more

Research Summary

I jointly supervise with Professor Pat Thomson (Education) Julia Molinari - who is working on the nature of academic writing. I am interested in the nature of teaching, and applying analytic… read more

Recent Publications

From September 2018, Dr Fisher is working with a team of six researchers in a project to increase the presence of ethnic diversity in the curricula of politics and philosophy (also referred to as 'decolonising' the curriculum) in an effort to achieve greater representation of a wider range of perspectives, debates, and interpretations of the world. Entitled 'Represent! Regularising ethnic presence in the curriculum', the project will run for two years.

Project team

The project is funded by the Birmingham-Nottingham Education Partnership Fund. The project team is formed of:

  • Dr Helen Williams (principal investigator), School of Politics and IR, University of Nottingham
  • Dr Helen McCabe, School of Politics and IR, University of Nottingham
  • Dr Peter Kerr, Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham
  • Dr Emma Foster, Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham
  • Dr Vipin Chauhan, Project Research Assistant/Associate

Brief description

This project will take a curriculum-based approach to the undergraduate attainment gap between white and BAME students in philosophy and politics.

Descriptive representation matters, including in the curriculum, and mainstreaming perspectives that are not the traditional white, European, middle class, male approaches is very important for increasing retention, engagement, and attainment of other demographics. The importance of mainstreaming more diverse perspectives has been highlighted under many guises, starting with critical pedagogy in the 1960s and proliferating into other headings, such as hidden curriculum, critical race pedagogy, and more recently decolonisation of the curriculum. Each of these headings addresses a slightly different aspect of the same underlying phenomenon: the decisions we make about what we teach and how we teach it, as well as the expectations our students have, can either foster inclusion or perpetuate social and ethnic inequalities.

Recently, decolonisation (or ethnic diversification) of the curriculum has received considerable press, but there is a clear call for a coherent methodology for decolonisation. The project will start with a review of the ways that educationalists across the world have undertaken diversification to propose a methodology for systematically improving representation without assuming unlimited knowledge and resources of those trying to decolonise their curriculum. Alongside this, we will audit what we already do, uncovering the implicit and explicit curriculum. In the second year, the main activity will be to work with staff and students to identify examples, authors, readings, and topics to ensure greater visibility of BAME authors and ideas in the mainstream curriculum, including diversifying our expectations in assessments. The Department of Philosophy has already begun such a review; Peter Kerr and Emma Foster (Birmingham) have undertaken a similar review for gender; Helen McCabe (Nottingham) has made a review of political philosophy the focus of her PGCHE project.

Potential outcomes

The project will result in the incorporation of more BAME authors and themes as part of the core curricula in the participating departments. The resources (website with database, curriculum changes) will provide a blueprint to expand the changes beyond the participant departments.

I love all aspects of teaching and I am fascinated by the philosophy of education, and what a University should be. I am passionate about the transformative features of education and the way education can raise aspirations. It is for this reason that I regularly engage with the community by teaching Philosophy in local primary schools. I was the Director of Teaching for the Faculty of Arts and am currently a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I'll be on research leave Autumn 2019

Current Research

Past Research

  • I successfully supervised (with Dr Neil Sinclair 50/50) PhD student Greg Scorzo whose thesis discussed the epistemological weight of evidence in favour of moral realism
  • I successfully supervised (with Dr Neil Sinclair 50/50) PhD student Luke Taylor whose thesis discussed the theism and its relation to metaethics.
  • I successfully supervised (with Dr Neil Sinclair 80/20) PhD student Kipros Lofitis whose thesis discussed error-theory and fictionalism.
  • I successfully supervised (with Dr Neil Sinclair 50/50) PhD student Mark Dimmock whose thesis discussed error theory and the abolition of morality.

Future Research

I would be very interested in working with PhD students on the following broad themes:

1. Metaethics - e.g. moral realism, moral psychology, moral ontology, the link between metaethics and normative ethics

2. Philosophy of education - e.g. analytic philosophy of education; virtue and vice epistemology; indoctrination; the performative nature of teaching; the phenomenology of learning; power in the classroom

3. Philosophy for Children - e.g. what is P4C and how does it relate to critical thinking? the role of questioning; the role and nature of creativity; ideology and the education of children.

4. Philosophy of Higher Education - e.g. what is a university for? widening participation and the University; A-level as a preparation (or not) for HE; Internationalization; technology and education; MOOCs and the nature of the classroom; educational spaces/architecture and teaching; the value of the Arts and Humanities.

These are just some suggestions. I'd love to hear from you if you are thinking of doing a PhD and we can work something out together. Just drop me an email.

Department of Philosophy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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