University of Otago emblem    Philosophy


photo of Pigden
  • PhD La Trobe (1985)
  • MA Cambridge (1983)
  • office: 2N5, second floor, north wing, Burns Building, 95 Albany Street
  • phone: +64 (0)3 479 8728
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After graduating from Kings College, Cambridge in 1979, Charles Pigden spent five years studying at La Trobe in Australia before first coming to Otago as a postdoctoral fellow in 1986. After a brief stint teaching at Massey, he returned to Otago as a lecturer in 1988 where he has taught ever since. Charles has published on a wide range of subjects from the analytic/synthetic distinction through truthmaker theory and the existence (or otherwise) of abstract objects to Jane Austen’s Mr Elliot. He is (as they say) a 'Russell scholar'. He has edited Russell on Ethics (1999) (which won the Bertrand Russell Society Book Award for 2000), contributed the chapter on ethics to the Cambridge Companion to Bertrand Russell and written the entry on Russell’s Moral Philosophy for the Stanford Online Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  He is also an expert on the Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories, being the first to revive the issue after Popper’s denunciations of conspiracy theorizing in the forties, fifties and sixties. Though Charles dabbles his fingers in many philosophical pies, his chief interest is in meta-ethics. He is a defender of the error-theory with special interests in Moore, Hume and the Is/Ought Question. He is the only philosopher of his acquaintance to have published a philosophical dialogue in blank verse (‘Complots of Mischief’).