Dr Steven Methven BA, MPhil, PhD

Dr Steven Methven
Faculty of Philosophy
College office: 
David Mitchell Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy

I completed my PhD at Cambridge University (Gonville and Caius) in 2012, where I wrote my thesis on Frank Ramsey, focusing particularly on his engagement with Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Prior to that, I received my BA (Hons) and MPhil(Stud) from Birkbeck College, University of London.

I am passionate about encouraging applications from candidates who come from non-traditional backgrounds. As my own background is one that involved significant familial financial hardship and instability, and no history of higher education, I am particularly sensitive to the ways in which a place like Oxford can seem impossible, both materially and psychologically, to young people whose path has been harder than most. If you're from a similar background, academically committed and doing (or did) well at school, I encourage you to get in touch with our admissions office  if you have any doubts or queries about whether Oxford is for you.


At Worcester, I teach a number of topics, ranging from Formal Logic and the Philosophy of Maths, to Epistemology, the Philosophy of Language and, of course, Wittgenstein and Frege. 

Research interests: 

My research has focused mostly on Ramsey’s and Wittgenstein’s work, or with themes from their work. Currently, I am developing a new research project that asks about the limits of the thinkable. The idea that thought has a limit is a beguiling one that turns up repeatedly in the history of philosophy. My work assesses why our conceptions of truth, objectivity and enquiry lead us, with apparent inevitability, to positions that entail or imply that such a limit must exist.

Selected publications: 
Frank Ramsey and the Realistic Spirit, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
‘Whistling in 1929: Ramsey and Wittgenstein on the Infinite’, European Journal of Philosophy, 2016.
‘Sense and the Identity Conception of Truth’, European Journal of Philosophy, 2018.
‘Ramsey, “Universals”, and Atomic Propositions’, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 2018.
 Talks/ In Progress
‘On Saying What One Thinks’;
‘On Thinking More: Objectivity and Understanding'.