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David Liggins


  • Room 2.59, Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, Oxford Road

    M13 9PL Manchester

Personal profile


Picture of LigginsIn 2005, I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Sheffield, where my supervisors were Rosanna Keefe and Chris Hookway. Supported by an award from the Analysis Trust, I spent the 2005-6 academic year at the Faculty of Philosophy at Cambridge, continuing my research. I became a Lecturer at Manchester in 2006, and a Senior Lecturer in 2010.

I spent the 2009-10 academic year on research leave, thanks to an AHRC Research Leave award.

From 2011 to 2014, Chris Daly and I directed a research project entitled The Foundations of Ontology, funded by the AHRC.

I was an Associate Editor of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy from 2009 to 2016. Since September 2021, Stacie Friend, Lee Walters, and I have been the Editors of Analysis.

Research interests

I am an ontologist: I try to work out what exists. I am particuarly interested in debates over the existence of mathematical objects, possible worlds, composite objects, and propositions. My Cambridge "Element" Abstract Objects is a short, opinionated introduction to the debate over the existence of abstract objects.

Because I share Quine's "taste for desert landscapes", I have tended to explore theories which posit less rather than more, which has led me to think about paraphrase, pretence, fictionalism, and error theory. My book Truth Without Truths brings some of these ideas into discussions of truth and paradox.

I am currently working on the significance of higher-order logic for metaphysics.

Other research


Links to published versions (PhilPapers)

Penultimate drafts of many of my papers are available on PhilPapers. If you have trouble getting hold of any of my papers, just email me.


I would be delighted to work with graduate students who share any of my research interests. Just drop me an email to discuss. Possible topics include: grounding, the indispensability argument, nominalism, fictionalism, pretence theories, truth, analyticity, philosophical method, metaontology. For funding opportunities available to students wishing to do a PhD in any of these areas, please see

Other teaching information

Teaching 2023-24:

Metaphysics (year 3 UG)

Further information

Recent talks

‘Alethic nihilism as an error theory’, Who is Afraid of Philosophy? 15th Conference of the Italian Society for Analytic Philosophy (SIFA), Alessandria, Italy, September 2023

‘Can inconsistent concepts be analysed?’, Concepts and Their Uses: Symposium of the Swiss Philosophical Society, Bern, Switzerland, August 2023

‘From alethic nihilism to inconsistency theory’, Death by Paradox? Inconsistency and Nihilism, University of Leeds, January 2022

'Quantification into predicate position and the metaphysics of properties', Language and World workshop, University of Graz, August 2019

'Semantic paradoxes of underdetermination', CLMPST2019: 16th International Congress on Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Prague, August 2019

'An error theory of truth', University of Edinburgh, January 2019

'The phenomenological objection to hermeneutic fictionalism', Fictionalism, University of Hamburg, April 2018

'Is TRUTH primitive?', PhilLang2017, Łódź, May 2017

'Higher-order deflationism', Deflationism in Metaphysics, University of Vienna, December 2017

External positions

Co-Editor, Analysis

Sept 2021 → …

Editor, Analysis

Sept 2017Aug 2021

AHRC Peer Review College Member

Jan 2017Dec 2022