University of Gothenburg
Forskningsområden inom teoretisk filosofi
Photo: Jessica Oscarsson

Research in Theoretical Philosophy

Theoretical Philosophy examines the nature of mind and (external) reality, our knowledge of that reality, as well as different ways of representing and reasoning with that knowledge in language and thought.

Theoretical Philosophy is usually defined in terms of the topics it covers. The topics normally included under its heading are Epistemology, Metaphysics/Ontology, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of mind, Logic and Philosophy of science. Note that in Gothenburg Logic is a separate research subject.
Page link to our research in Logic and Mathematical methodology

In our subject, there is research and teaching in all of the above described core-areas of Theoretical Philosophy – except Logic which is a separate research area – mostly from a contemporary but also from a historical point of view. Find more information below about what our teachers and researchers are up to.

In our subject, research and teaching are in analytic philosophy, broadly construed. What counts as ‘analytic philosophy’ is not well-defined. Here it is understood as problem-oriented and argument focused philosophy done with special focus on clarity and rigor. Our understanding of the term ‘analytic philosophy’ does not exclude systematic approaches to the history of philosophy, nor empirically and mathematically informed philosophy.

History dates back to 1893

The history of theoretical philosophy at the University of Gothenburg dates back to 1893, when the first professor of philosophy, Vitalis Norström (1856–1916), was appointed. Like his two immediate successors, Malte Jacobsson (1885–1966) and Gunnar Aspelin (1898–1977), Norström moved freely between theoretical and practical philosophy in his research but taught mainly in theoretical philosophy.

The first professor of theoretical philosophy was the internationally renowned Neo-Kantian Ernst Cassirer (1874–1945), who served at Gothenburg between 1935–1941, having left Germany after the Nazis came to power in 1933. It is however fair to say that the subject’s modern history starts with the 1951 appointment of Ivar Segelberg (1914–1987). Segelberg’s main philosophical interests were analytic ontology, and phenomenology in the tradition of the early Husserl. Segelberg served as professor for almost three decades and came to have a formative influence upon his students, three of whom, Mats Furberg (1933–), Dag Westerståhl (1946–) and Helge Malmgren (1945–), also became professors in theoretical philosophy in Gothenburg. Whereas most of his students attest to Segelberg’s importance for their intellectual development, few came to study the same problems he did. Furberg is a philosopher of language, Westerståhl is a philosopher of logic and Malmgren is a philosopher of mind. Furberg and Malmgren are now retired. Westerståhl is currently working as a professor emeritus at Stockholm University.

The current professor is Anna-Sofia Maurin (1969–). With her appointment, ontology (as well as metaphysics more broadly conceived) has once again become a main topic of research in Gothenburg.


Our researchers work on a wide variety of issues in Theoretical Philosophy: in metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language.

Below is a list of researchers (including PhD-students) currently employed in the subject (plus a couple of lecturers and researchers with close ties to it). Click on the links provided to learn more about what they’re up to.


Anna-Sofia Maurin: Anna-Sofia is the subject’s professor. She works primarily in meta- and metametaphysics, on the philosophy of properties (especially tropes), on questions to do with fundamentality, infinite regress, and understanding the distinction between vicious and benign regress, as well as on questions to do with ontological justification, truthmaking, grounding and, in particular, metaphysical explanation. Recently she has ventured into the field of social ontology, with a special focus on (social metaphysical/constitutive) explanation.

For more information go to Anna-Sofia's external webpage. 


Daniel Giberman: Dan is senior lecturer in Theoretical Philosophy. He very recently (Fall 2023) joined our department. He earned his PhD from Stanford. Before coming to Gothenburg he was associate professor in Philosophy at the University of Texas Arlington. Dan works primarily in metaphysics, including its overlap with the philosophy of mind and language.
For more information go to Dan’s internal webpage, and Dan’s external webpage.

Martin Kaså: Martin is presently employed as senior lecturer in Logic. He has a PhD in Theoretical Philosophy and his research interests exist in the intersection between logic and philosophy of language. For more information go to Martin’s internal webpage.

Felix Larsson: Felix is senior lecturer in Theoretical Philosophy. His area of expertise is philosophy of language/mind (especially intentionality and speech act theory).
For more information go to Felix’s internal webpage
Felix' personal page.

Filip Radovic: Filip is docent and senior lecturer in Theoretical Philosophy. He works primarily on issues in the philosophy of mind, to do with delusions and dreaming, both from a contemporary and a historical perspective. 
For more information go to Filip’s internal webpage

Susanna Radovic: Susanna is docent and senior lecturer in Theoretical Philosophy. Her research is focused on issues in philosophy of mind and philosophy of law. She is involved in various inter-disciplinary collaborations, working together with researchers from psychiatry, psychology, and law.

For more information go to Susanna’s internal webpage, and the page about the DIMENSION project.


Ana María Mora Márquez: Ana María is docent in Theoretical Philosophy, a Wallenberg Academy Fellow (2015-2027), and an international member of the CNRS research center SPHERE, in Paris. She is a specialist in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy and works primarily in epistemology and philosophy of science. In the past she has worked in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. Ana María is presently the PI of the project Reassessing Aristotelian Science (KAW, 2022-2027) on socio-epistemic approaches to Aristotelian philosophy of science.
For more information go to the project’s website or to the website for SPHERE.

Jenny Pelletier: Jenny is a researcher based in Leuven and specializing in the philosophy of William Ockham. Since 2021 she is the PI of the project Making the Medieval World. The Metaphysical Foundations of Social Groups in Late Medieval Philosophy funded by the Swedish Research Council and placed at the University of Gothenburg.
For more information go to Jenny Pelletier’s external webpage.

Ylwa Sjölin Wirling: Ylwa is docent and researcher in Theoretical Philosophy. She works primarily on issues in epistemology, philosophy of science and metaphilosophy. Starting July 2024 she will be employed as lecturer in Theoretical Philosophy and a Pro Futura Scientia fellow, the latter a fellowship funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the Swedish Collegium of Advanced Study. Her Pro Futura project is called “Between knowledge and ignorance: epistemic possibilities in inquiry” and explores what roles epistemic possibility judgements do and should play at various stages in inquiry.
For more information go to Ylwa’s external webpage, and the page about her Pure Epistemic Pluralism project.

Gustavo Fernandez Walker: Gustavo is postdoctoral research fellow specializing in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy.
For more information go to Gustavo’s internal webpage.

Sophie Serrra is postdoctoral research fellow specializing in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy.
For more information go to Sophie's internal webpage


Alla Choifer: Alla is a doctoral student in Theoretical Philosophy, supervised by professor Bengt Brülde. She is writing a thesis in the philosophy of mind.

Maximilian Zachrau: Max is a doctoral student in Theoretical Philosophy, supervised by professor Anna-Sofia Maurin. He is writing a thesis in process ontology. He is expected to finish in the beginning of 2024.


(in alphabetical order)

Here are some people more or less strongly affiliated with our subject. The list could have been made much longer!

Helge Malmgren: Until 2012 Helge was the professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Gothenburg. He is now retired. For more information, go to Helge's external webpage .

Stellan Petersson: Stellan is presently employed as senior lecturer in Swedish. He received his PhD in Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Gothenburg on a thesis in the philosophy of language titled Disarming Context Dependence. For more information go to Stellan’s internal webpage.

Alva Stråge: Alva finished her PhD, supervised by Susanna Radovic, 2019 with the dissertation: Minds, Brains and Desert: On the relevance of neuroscience for retributive punishment.

Anders Tolland: Anders is a recently retired senior lecturer in Theoretical Philosophy. His main area of research is epistemology and philosophy of language (especially relativism and speech act theory).

Dag Westerståhl: 1998-2010 Dag was the August Rhööst professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Gothenburg. He is presently professor emeritus in Theoretical Philosophy and Logic at Stockholm University and Jin Yuelin professor of Logic at Tsinghua University, Beijing. For more information go to Dag’s external webpage.

Teaching Theoretical Philosophy at FLoV

In Gothenburg (as in most other universities in Sweden) courses in theoretical philosophy are taught separately from courses in practical philosophy, and there is a separate theoretical philosophy degree.
In Sweden we make a distinction between first, second, and third cycle education. First cycle is more or less equivalent to the undergraduate level, or bachelor's level of studies. Second cycle corresponds to graduate level or master's level studies. Third cycle corresponds to doctoral or PhD level studies.

For more information about the Swedish system, see Study levels and degrees: link to external web page at

Our current curriculum in theoretical philosophy includes courses in:
First Cycle Studies: (first semester) philosophical method, history of philosophy (including a course on the ‘birth’ on analytic theoretical philosophy), epistemology and (second semester) logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics, philosophy of mind and (third semester) research-oriented specializations in all the core-areas of theoretical philosophy.
Second Cycle Studies: advanced orientations as well as research-oriented specializations in all core areas of theoretical philosophy.
All our teaching is in the analytic tradition, broadly construed.