Dr R.A. Rowland


I joined the University of Leeds in 2020. I obtained my PhD from the University of Reading in 2014. Before coming to Leeds I held temporary positions at Oxford and Warwick, and permanent positions at La Trobe University and the Dianoia Institute of Philosophy at ACU.

Research interests

I think of my research as falling mostly into 4 projects. First, a project on the structure of normativity, the relationship between different normative properties and their normative significance. My first monograph, The Normative and the Evaluative: The Buck-Passing Account of Value (OUP, 2019), provides a detailed motivation, defence, and extension of the buck-passing account according to which for something to be good or of value is just for there to be reasons to have pro-attitudes towards it (such as to desire it or admire it); it is the first book-length treatment of the account. In his review in Ethics, Jussi Suikkanen says that it is ‘an excellent book and a forceful defence of the buck-passing account. It is rich and sophisticated in argumentation, it masters the vast literature on the topic, it provides powerful objections to the alternatives and compelling responses to objections, and it even applies the view to new domains. For these reasons, this is the book to read for anyone interested in understanding how the evaluative, normative and moral realms are connected to one another’. Subsequent to publishing this monograph I have been thinking more about what reasons are, about what normativity is, and about fittingness. Two papers of mine on these topics have been published on these topics in 2022 in Oxford Studies in Metaethics and American Philosophical Quarterly, and my edited volume Fittingness came out with Oxford Universiy Press in November 2022.

A second project is on moral disagreement and its metaphysical, epistemological, practical, and political implications. I have published papers from this project in Noûs, Analysis, and Philosophy Compass. My second monograph Moral Disagreement (Routledge, 2020) is on this topic. In this area, I am also co-editing the Routledge Handbook of Disagreement and a special issue on moral disagreement. A third project is on the moral error theory and in particular the implications of the moral error theory for epistemic normativity. I have published papers in this area in the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy and Philosophical Quarterly (X2). I have also co-edited a volume related to this project, Companions in Guilt Arguments in Metaethics (Routledge, 2019)

Most of my current research is on a fourth project. This project focuses on gender identity, what it is, how it relates to gender more broadly, and the moral and political rights that gender identities give rise to. The big idea behind this project is that if we understand gender identities as consisting in normative experiences of what gender fits us, and gender concepts and properties as normative properties, we can better understand and demystify gender identity, better understand the relationship between gender identity and gender, understand why gender identities merit respect, and better explain why there are such seemingly intransigent disagreements about gender. I have recently finished a first draft of a book manuscript on this topic, Gender Identity: What It Is and Why It Matters. I also have several papers forthcoming in this area. Beyond this project on gender identiy I am also thinking about expanding my normative fit based account of gender and gender identity to other social properties and identities, as well as thinking about the future of gender and the future of other social kinds and categories.  

I am interested in supervising projects in any area of metaethics or normativity as well as on social and political philospohy, gender and gender identity, and normative ethics.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Philosophy
  • MA Legal and Political Theory
  • BA Politics

Student education

I lead and teach on modules in social moral and political philosophy and supervise undergraduate final year projects and MA projects.

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>