Queen's University

Dr. David Bakhurst

Professor, Department of Philosophy


I am John and Ella G. Charlton Professor in the Department of Philosophy, at Queen’s University, with a specialization in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and Russian philosophy.  I did my doctorate at Oxford University, following a period of research at Moscow University.  Prior to taking up my present position at Queen’s, I worked at Oxford and at the University of California, San Diego. I have been a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, held an honorary chair in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham, UK, and I presently hold a visiting professorship at the UCL Institute of Education, in London.  In 2015, I was granted a Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain 50th Anniversary Research Fellowship.  I was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2016.

My research falls into three related areas: Russian Philosophy and Psychology, Concepts of the Self, and Moral Philosophy. Recently, I have woven these three areas of research together in work on the philosophy of education.

I have published many articles in scholarly journals as well as a number of books. I am the author of Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy (Cambridge, 1991), The Formation of Reason (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), as well as co-editor of The Social Self  Sage, 1995), Jerome Bruner: Language, Culture, Self , Self (Sage, 2001), Thinking About Reasons: Themes from the Philosophy of Jonathan Dancy (Oxford, 2013), and Education and Conversation: Exploring Oakeshott’s Legacy (Bloomsbury, 2016). 

Most Recent Project

Education and Conversation: Exploring Oakeshott's Legacy

cover for Education and Conversation, by Queen's professor, researcher, and philosopher, Dr. David BakhurstSince Michael Oakeshott spoke of education as initiation into 'the conversation of mankind' more than fifty years ago, the idea has inspired a diverse array of thinkers and continues to be invoked today by those seeking to resist the influence of managerialism and narrow instrumentalism in educational policy and practice. In this book, co-editor Paul Fairfield and I, draw together papers written by scholars from both the analytic and continental philosophical traditions to offer a variety of perspectives on the implications of Oakeshott's educational ideas.

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Other Projects

  • The Formation of Reason

    Cover for "The Formation of Reason" by Queen's professor, researcher, and philosopher, Dr. David BakhurstIn this book, I utilize ideas from philosopher John McDowell to develop and defend a socio-historical account of the human mind. This book provides the first detailed examination of the relevance of John McDowell's work to the Philosophy of Education. It draws from a wide-range of philosophical sources, including the work of 'analytic' philosophers Donald Davidson, Ian Hacking, Peter Strawson, David Wiggins, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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  • Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy: From the Bolsheviks to Evald Ilyenkov

    Cover for "Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy From the Bolsheviks to Evald Ilyenkov" by Queen's professor and researcher, Dr. David BakhurstThis book is a critical study of the philosophical culture of the USSR, and the first substantial treatment of a Soviet philosopher's work by a Western author. The book identifies a tradition within Soviet Marxism that has produced significant theories of the nature of the self and human activity, of the origins of value and meaning, and of the relation of thought and language.

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