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The Second Person Project


There has been increasing recognition in recent years of the importance of understanding the nature of the ‘second person perspective’ (SPP) when explaining a variety of phenomena in ethics, philosophy of mind and theories of thought and communication. The SPP is the perspective you have on a person when you think of them as ‘you’, or ‘thou’ (as opposed to ‘he’ or ‘she’).

The idea is that getting right the nature of SPP is essential for getting right the nature of ethical reasons for action, rationality in general, our understanding of other minds, self consciousness, communication, and more. There is, however, very little agreement on how SPP should be characterized. The aim of the project is to examine the connection between thought-theoretical questions about the relation between the meaning, sense and reference of ‘you’ and a variety of specific debates about the explanatory role of the SPP.

The project is supported by a grant from the Brtish Academy/Leverhulme Trust.

For full statement of the project's aims, and the questions it is concerned with, see The Second Person.

Workshops | Seminars | Podcasts


Past workshops
20-21 March 2015
Second Person Workshop

Speakers: Lucy O'Brien (UCL), Naomi Eilan (Warwick), John Campbell (Berkeley), Sebastian Rödl (Leipzig), Doug Lavin (UCL), Quassim Cassam (Warwick).

4 March 2015, 2-6pm, Room Cowling Room, S2.77
Mini-workshop: Joint attention

Speakers: Juan Carlos Gomez (St Andrews); Maria Nunez (Glasgow)


ESPP 2013 Symposia

The first workshop of the Second Person Project took the form of two symposia at the 2013 meeting of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology (ESPP) in Granada, organized by Naomi Eilan. Speakers included Philippe Rochat (Emory), Edward Hinchman (Milwaukee), Leonhard Schilbach (Cologne & Max-Planck-Institute for Neurological Research), Guy Longworth (Warwick), Johannes Roessler (Warwick), Douglas Lavin (Harvard, United States). For the programme, see


Upcoming Seminar:

Second-Person Project special seminar TBA

Past Seminars:

27 January 2017, 4pm
Anita Avramides (Oxford), 'Exploring the Significance of Others'

27 May 2015, 4pm

Paul Smith (Art History, Warwick), 'Manet and Responsibility'.

17 June 2014, 4pm
Glenda Satne (Copenhagen), 'Practical Knowledge of Other Minds'

30 May 2014, 4pm
Matthias Haase (Leipzig), 'Am I You?'

2 May 2014, 4pm
Will Small (Oslo), 'Teaching and Telling'

28 February 2014, 4pm
Steve Butterfill (Warwick), 'Joint Action: From Painting a House to Sharing a Smile'

13 November 2013, 4pm
Andrew Pinsent (Oxford), 'The Second-Person Perspective in Aquinas's Ethics: Virtues and Gifts'

30 October 2013 4pm
Ana Barandalla, 'Normativity, the second person, and morality'

19 June 2013
Paul Faulkner (Sheffield) ‘Trust and the Second Person'

17 June 2013
Sebastian Rödl (Leipzig) ‘Intentional Transaction’

5 June 2013
Fabienne Peter (Warwick) ‘Epistemic and Practical Authority’

15 May 2013
Candace Vogler (University of Chicago) ‘Looking Forward’

6 March 2013
Jane Heal (Cambridge) ‘The Basis of Second-Personal Thinking’


Guy Longworth: 'Sharing Thoughts About Oneself'
(paper delivered to the the Aristotelian Society on 19 November 2012)

Johannes Roessler: 'Reason Explanation and the Second Person'
(talk given at a conference on the Second Person Perspective at Oxford in July 2013)


For information on upcoming and past seminars/workshops, see the bottom of this page.