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Section of Foreign Philosophy

  • Arthur Schipper
  • Assistant Professor
  • Education: PhD in philosophy and an MPhil Stud from University College London (UCL)
  • Areas of Research:Metaphysics, Methodology of Philosophy, Philosophy of Thought


 Arthur Schipper works in metaphysics and on truth.  


His main current research project entitled New Directions in Aboutness and Truth defends a novel and metaphysically modest approach to truth involving complementary theories of truthmaking and aboutness. The result will be a series of articles in top-tier journals to be woven together into a monograph entitled Aboutness and Truth. These are used to address central problems in philosophy, including the problems of negative truths, perception, fiction, belief reports, the nature of truthbearers, the realism/anti-realism debate, and puzzles in categorial metaphysics (e.g. Bradley’s regress and the nature of states of affairs).


Specifically, in his 2018 article in Synthese, “Aboutness and negative truths: a modest strategy for truthmaker theorists”, he articulated the barebones of his novel view and applied it to presenting a novel solution to the problem of negative truths. In his forthcoming article in Philosophical Studies, “Aboutness and ontology: a modest approach to truthmakers”, he argues that the traditional truthmaker argument for states of affairs, understood both in the Russellian and Wittgensteinian ways, fails and articulates a more modest approach to the reality of truthmakers and their categorial distinctions (in particular, the distinction between states, processes, and events). This paper challenges those who take linguistic evidence, especially evidence to do with the imperfective paradox, nominalisation, and second-order quantification, to be ontologically significant. In his forthcoming article in Synthese, “Fundamental truthmakers and non-fundamental truths”, he argues that the right conception of ontological seriousness, the general approach to philosophy which rejects the methodology of drawing metaphysical conclusions from purely linguistic considerations, should bring us to reject the view that truthmakers must always be fundamental entities. He argues for this, first, by distinguishing between two exhaustive and exclusive ways of understanding fundamentality, the deflationary and inflationary ways, and, second, by rejecting the conception of truthmaking that is coupled with each of these senses of fundamentality. His research is historically informed and, where relevant, engages with discussions in the history of philosophy, especially the history of analytical philosophy and early modern philosophy.


Schipper obtained a PhD in philosophy and an MPhil Stud from University College London (UCL) and a BA (with honors in philosophy) from New York University (NYU), where he graduated magna cum laude and was elected to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honors society. He has worked in the Netherlands as Assistant Professor and Lecturer at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), working also as a member of the Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation (ILLC) and as an affiliate member of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), and at the Institute for Philosophy at Leiden University. Before that, he taught philosophy in the United Kingdom, at the University of London, UCL and Heythrop College. He joined Peking University as Assistant Professor at the end of 2019, returning to his birthplace, Beijing.


Areas of Specialisation: Metaphysics, Methodology of Philosophy, Philosophy of Thought


Areas of Competence: Philosophy of Mind & Language, Epistemology, Philosophical Logic, History of Philosophy


Recent publications (*: original research articles; +: substantial book reviews)