Dr Thomas Brouwer

Dr Thomas Brouwer


I'm a philosopher working in a few areas including social ontology, the philosophy of logic and metasemantics. I first came to Leeds in 2009 to do my PhD under the supervision of Robbie Williams, Jason Turner and Robin Le Poidevin, on a topic at the intersection of metaphysics and the philosophy of logic. Before that I was at Leiden University, in the Netherlands. After getting my PhD at Leeds I was at the Northern Institute of Philosophy in Aberdeen for a few years, working with Francesco Berto and Toby Meadows on the AHRC project The Metaphysical Basis of Logic (2013-15). While at Aberdeen I first developed an interest in social ontology, which has since become one of my central research areas.  In 2015 I returned to Leeds to work on the ERC project The Nature of Representation (2012-2017), led by Robbie Williams, and then joined the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science on a permanent basis as a Research Development Assistant, in which capacity I help develop research funding applications, alongside other academic duties.


  • PGR professionalisation fellow

Research interests

In the philosophy of logic, my interests include the nature and normativity of logical consequence (when A follows from B, what does that mean and why should we care?) logical complexity and the logical constants (what kinds of facts (if any) are expressed by logically complex statements?) and truth and falsity in non-classical logics (is there a common core to these notions that's constant across different logics?). 

In social ontology, my interests include the general nature of social facts (how do they come about, and in what ways are they (not) dependent on us?) conventions and conventionality (how do we assign determinate conventions to a population?) collective intentionality (what factors determine a collective agent's propositional attitudes?) and the logical structure of social reality (is social reality consistent?).

Beyond these areas, I am interested in topics in metasemantics (in what ways does semantic externalism solve, or fail to solve, problems of radical indeterminacy?) general metaphysics and metaontology (what claims distinguish ontological realism from deflationism?) and aesthetics (can you paraphrase a poem and preserve its meaning?).

<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>

Professional memberships

  • International Social Ontology Society (ISOS)
  • Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW)
  • Aristotelian Society

Student education

I do occasional teaching on a variety of topics, most often logic. I hope to do a bit more teaching in social ontology-related areas in future. I am also in charge of professionalisation training for research postgraduates.

Research groups and institutes

  • Philosophy
<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>