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David Liggins


  • Room 2.59, Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, Oxford Road

    M13 9PL Manchester

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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. From September 2021, Stacie Friend, Lee Walters, and I are the Editors of Analysis.

Research interests

The philosophy of mathematics was the subject of my Ph.D. thesis and remains a major research interest of mine. In particular, I have defended nominalist accounts of mathematics: those which do not posit mathematical objects such as numbers or sets. Other ontological debates also interest me, particularly those concerning possible worlds, composite objects, and propositions. 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. At present I am working on a book which brings some of these ideas into discussions of truth and paradox.

Other interests include philosophical method, grounding, and metaontology.

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, 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


Undergraduate 2022-23
Philosophy of Mathematics (year 3)
Masters teaching 2022-23
MA Philosophy of Mind
MA Philosophy of Language

Further information

Recent talks

‘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

'Alethic nihilism and post-truth politics', Nihilism, University of Manchester, September 2017

'Nihilism about truth', keynote, Sheffield Philosophy Undergraduate Conference, March 2017

'Deflationism and the reality-dependence of truth', Truth: Deflationism and Beyond, University of Sassari, September 2016

'Deflationism and the reality-dependence of truth', Higher Seminar in Theoretical Philosophy, Lund University, September 2016

'Nihilism about truth', Lund Philosophical Society, September 2016

'Non-nominal quantification and the ontology of attitudes', Fifth Italian Conference in Analytic Ontology, Padua, June 2016

'Reply to Naomi Thompson', The Makings of Truth 2, Universitat de Barcelona, December 2015

'Nihilism about truth', Open Minds XI, University of Manchester, December 2015

'Truth without truths', Trinity College Dublin, November 2015

'Infinity and generality', God, Time, Infinity, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, September 2015

'The "hard road" revisited', Workshop on the work of Hartry Field, Universitat de Barcelona, July 2015

'Truth without truths', Popper Seminar, London School of Economics, June 2015

'Propositions and "that"-clauses revisited', Nominalizations workshop, University of Hamburg, April 2015

'Alethic nihilism', Seventh Conference of the Dutch-Flemish Association for Analytic Philosophy (VAF), Rotterdam, January 2015

'Grounding and metaphysical analyticity', University of Manchester, December 2014

'Propositions and "that"-clauses', Object and Property in Logic, Language, and Metaphysics, University of Birmingham, November 2014

'On the neo-Aristotelian challenge to existence questions', Modal Metaphysics: Issues on the (Im)Possible, Bratislava, Slovakia, October 2014 (joint work with Chris Daly)

'Grounding and metaphysical analyticity', Lancog Workshop on Analyticity, Lisbon, September 2014

'Realism and multiple realization', Royal Institute of Philosophy Seminar, Queen’s University Belfast, May 2014

'Questions of objecthood meet the neo-Aristotelian challenge', Objects of All Kinds, University of Lille 3, May 2014 (joint work with Chris Daly)

'Unpropositional attitudes', Nominalizations: Issues in Linguistics and Philosophy workshop, Gothenburg, January 2014

'Deference to biology: a case study', All you Need is Science? Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, January 2014 (joint work with Chris Daly)

(with Chris Daly) 'Hirsch’s charity argument against revisionary ontology', Foundations of Ontology II workshop, Manchester, September 2013

'Reply to Leo Tarasov', Postgraduate welcome workshop, Manchester, September 2013

'In defence of existence questions', Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, May 2013 (joint work with Chris Daly)

'Multiple realization and expressive power in mathematics and ethics', Ethics and Explanation 2013: Explanation in Mathematics and Ethics, University of Nottingham, January 2013

External positions

Co-Editor, Analysis

Sep 2021 → …

Editor, Analysis

Sep 2017Aug 2021

AHRC Peer Review College Member

Jan 2017Dec 2022


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