Centre for the History of Philosophy (CHiPhi)



CHiPhi (kī fī) was established in 2009, with a grant from the White Rose University Consortium, to bring together the wide-ranging expertise in history of philosophy at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York to consolidate and promote research and teaching in the field. As the UK's largest group of scholars working in history of philosophy, our aim is to develop and maintain an international network to encourage research and disseminate its results through a programme of joint events, collaborative projects, and postgraduate teaching.

We have links with a number of other Centres and Institutes across the world. Details are available through the links tab above.

CHiPhi is directed by Keith Allen (York), Jessica Leech (Sheffield) and Bob Stern (Sheffield). For our responsibilities, see the contact us tab.

The founding directors of CHiPhi were Mike Beaney (York, 2009–14), Alix Cohen (Leeds, 2009–11; York, 2011–13) and Bob Stern (Sheffield, 2009–).


Details of past and current workshops and other activities are available from our events page.

About us

About CHiPhi

Aims of CHiPhi

The specific aims of CHiPHi are to:

  1. promote research and teaching in the field of history of philosophy;
  2. offer an attractive environment for international scholars and postgraduates;
  3. provide a long-term collaborative locus for funding applications;
  4. enhance dissemination and impact.



There is a great deal of individual expertise in history of philosophy in many universities in the UK, not just in departments of philosophy but also in other departments. No single university, however, has the critical and stable mass to genuinely promote the subject as a major research strength across the full range of historical periods, and many scholars work in relative isolation in their own fields. The Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, all of which have first-class departments of philosophy in their own right, have come together to form the largest and strongest group of scholars working in history of philosophy in the UK. Combining our resources enables us to provide the most attractive place to pursue research in the field not just in the UK but more widely.

Collaborative activity in the history of philosophy is especially appropriate. Fruitful work involves exploring the relationships between different thinkers, for example, or placing their ideas in wider context, which requires drawing on the expertise of other scholars. Fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration is thus of enormous value to all those working in the area. We aim to build on our White Rose strengths in developing an international network to encourage all aspects of work in history of philosophy.

Playing a leading role in history of philosophy

In a report published in 2009, Leading the world: The economic impact of UK arts and humanities research, the AHRC argues that research in the arts and humanities is "an investment that generates wealth, improves public policy and helps to maintain quality of life" (p. 2). It identifies 'History, Thought and Systems of Belief' as the first of four principal areas of research (p. 6). Work in history of philosophy lies at the core of the endeavour to understand our past ways of thinking and acting, elucidating their underlying assumptions (scientific, metaphysical, religious, moral and political). The aim is not just to understand the past for its own sake but to shed light on our own assumptions and suggest ways forward.

There is growing interest throughout the world in the history of philosophy, in which British thinkers have played a central role, and many foreign scholars and postgraduates come to the UK to pursue their research. Given the rich intellectual tradition that the UK offers, and with English the dominant language for academic research, our White Rose consortium is ideally placed to play a leading role in this area.

At York there already exists a Centre for Medieval Studies, a Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, a Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, and a Centre for Modern Studies. At Leeds there is an Institute for Medieval Studies, a Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, and a Centre for History and Philosophy of Science. At Sheffield there is a Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies. Several staff at York are on the Management Committee of the British Society for the History of Philosophy and the British Journal for the History of Philosophy is edited from York. Both the European Journal of Philosophy and Mind are also edited from White Rose universities. A Yorkshire Ancient Philosophy Network was established in 2009 which has since become a research group of CHiPhi. So the broader environment is already in place for collaborative and cross-disciplinary work. CHiPhi aims to draw on and develop this environment in establishing itself as the leading Centre for History of Philosophy in the UK and as one of the strongest and most active research institutes in the field in the world.

(August 2009; updated January 2012)



An inception event for White Rose staff was held on 11 November 2009, with a workshop on early modern philosophy. This was followed by a workshop on the history of analytic philosophy in March 2010, and on Hume, Kant and Hegel in June 2010.

In Spring 2010 the Yorkshire Ancient Philosophy Network (YAPN), established in 2009, became a research group of CHiPhi, and took over responsibility for activities in the area of ancient philosophy. A workshop on ancient philosophy took place on 5 November 2010.

Since then there have been regular workshops in all areas of the history of philosophy. Our inaugural conference on 'Emotions in the History of Philosophy' took place on 13–14 May 2011.

For a comprehensive list of upcoming and past events, see the events page.


Collaborative links


We are developing collaborative links with a number of other Centres and Institutes both in the UK and across the world. We currently have particular links with the following:
For details about some of our collaborative activities, see the page on research projects.


CHiPhi resources

We work in close association with the British Society for the History of Philosophy.

For a list of other societies, research groups, and resources in the history of philosophy, see the page on the BSHP site.

Contact us

Contact us

For information about our events, please contact:

Dr Jessica Leech, Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S3 7QB
Tel. +44 (0) 114 222 0587 (Sec.)
Email: jessica.leech@sheffield.ac.uk

For inquiries about postgraduate study in the history of philosophy, please contact:

Prof. Robert Stern, Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S3 7QB
Tel. +44 (0) 114 222 0587 (Sec.)
Email: r.stern@sheffield.ac.uk

For all other matters, please contact:

Dr Keith Allen, Department of Philosophy, University of York, York, YO10 5DD
Tel. +44 (0) 1904 32 3255
Email: keith.allen@york.ac.uk

Immanuel Kant

Martin Heidegger


Friedrich Nietzsche

John Stuart Mill

Rene Descartes