I submitted my doctorate in philosophy (by existing published work) in December, 2010. It was passed without corrections in January, 2011.
The title of the thesis was:
The Inside of the World: Applications of the Thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein in the Philosophies Of Art And Mind
External Examiners were:
Professor Garry Hagberg, James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics (Bard, New York and UEA)
Professor Dan D. Hutto, Professor of Philosophical Psychology (Herts)
The thesis is available here
The contribution of the submitted philosophical work is to the interpretation and application of the thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951).
This project is sustained over an academic career and across the two fields of:
- 1.(a) philosophical aesthetics, with particular reference to the concept of art (Art or Bunk?, “Must We Mean What We Play?”, “Reflexions al Voltant de l’Art Contemporani”) and a special application in the field of musical art (“Must We Mean What We Play?”).
- 1.(b) the philosophy of mind, with particular reference to the understanding of nonhuman animal minds (Can We Understand Animal Minds?) and a special application in the field of cognitive science with reference to the “Theory” Theory of Mind (“Do Animals Need a ‘Theory of Mind’?”).
The work is united by common methodologies, themes and conclusions. It forms part of the larger cultural project and of a central task of modern philosophy to reconcile the extraordinary achievement of our scientific tradition with the reality of the ordinary and the everyday.
There is no doubt, on close review of the selected publications in his portfolio, that Ground’s submitted work merits the award of PhD. It amply satisfied the stated criteria for that award. It shows evidence of originality in the way it applies Wittgenstein-inspired ideas to specific philosophical topics. By tackling central and controversial assumption that reign unchallenged in today’s mainstream philosophical thinking Ground’s work is unavoidably critical and questioning – and important.
Beyond this, the writing is clear, clever and very enjoyable. The investigation of these important topics is insightful and accessible. Ground has a talent for good, stylish writing coupled with a capacity for incisive philosophical analysis. He has a strong command of the subject matter and its history. The venue for these publications is also quite appropriate given the aim to ensure that good philosophy reaches beyond the academy.
Ground, successfully, speaks to the wider world.
He powerfully defends his underlying and unifying idea that in making sense of art and others (including animals) we must bring background resources to bear that are only available from an engaged, insider’s perspective.
There is ample, careful argument in the submitted work to warrant a clear pass.