Foundations of Thought


All are examples of representation, where one thing stands for another. Sometimes representation involves what goes on in the head of an individual, sometimes it involves artefacts made by them, and sometimes it involves the groups they compose.

No matter where it arises, we should ask the question: what does the world have to be like for one thing to represent another?


The Nature of Representation (NATREP, 2012-17) examined the metaphysics and epistemology of individual representation, concentrating on metaphysics in individual’s perceptions and intentions, in their beliefs and desires, and in their words. Some results of this research are forthcoming in my monograph The Metaphysics of Representation, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2019.

Group Thinking: New Foundations (GROUNDS, 2019-2024) examines the case of collective representation: group beliefs, desires, actions and evidence.

Both projects are supported by five-year grants from the European Research Council, and the Principal Investigator in both cases is Robert Williams of the University of Leeds. For more information: find out who is/has been involved under “People”. Find reports of what we did for each year of the project under the “What we did” tab.  Details of what we read each week and what speakers spoke about are in the “seminar” tab. Interim news and reports are in the “news” tab.