Meet the Project Team

Professor Genia Schönbaumsfeld - Principal Investigator, Ethics of Doubt

Principal Investigator

Genia Schönbaumsfeld holds a personal chair in Philosophy at the University of Southampton. Her areas of research specialism include Wittgenstein, Epistemology, Kierkegaard and the Philosophy of Religion. She has published widely in all of them.

Before coming to Southampton, Genia studied Philosophy at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, Trinity College, Cambridge and the University of Vienna. She was a Visiting Fellow at New College, Oxford, a Visiting Professor at the University of Regensburg, Germany, and from 2003-06 held a prestigious ‘Hertha Firnberg’ research fellowship from the Austrian Science Fund.

In March 2023, Genia was awarded a high-profile 2.5m ERC Advanced Grant for her 5-year project entitled ‘The Ethics of Doubt – Kierkegaard, Scepticism and Conspiracy Theory’. She is now leading a team that includes three post-docs and two PhD students.

Genia is the author of A Confusion of the Spheres – Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein on Philosophy and Religion (Oxford University Press, 2007),  The Illusion of Doubt (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Wittgenstein on Religious Belief (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

She is Associate Editor of the journal Philosophical Investigations, Advisory Board member of The Nordic Wittgenstein Review and Editorial Board Member of Anthem Studies in Wittgenstein. In 2020 she was elected to Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

For more information about Genia, please see her staff page Professor Genia Schönbaumsfeld | University of Southampton and her personal website: Genia Schönbaumsfeld (

Post-doctoral Research Fellows

Taylor Matthews - Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Ethics of Doubt

Taylor Matthews

Taylor Matthews joined the Ethics of Doubt project after completing his PhD at the University of Nottingham. His main areas of research are in epistemology and ethics, especially where the two intersect. 

Much of Taylor’s research is in virtue and vice epistemology, but he has also written on the epistemology of AI, epistemic risk, and scepticism. Over the course of the project, he aims to investigate the role that intellectual vices might play in generating sceptical scenarios, as well as how virtues such as intellectual courage can help remedy them.  

Southampton Philosophy staff page

X: @Tays95

Cæcilie Varslev-Pedersen - Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Ethics of Doubt

Cæcilie Varslev-Pedersen

Cæcilie Varslev-Pederson holds an MA and a PhD from The New School for Social Research in New York City. Prior to joining the project, she held a temporary lectureship at the University of Copenhagen. Cæcilie works on post-Kantian thought; especially the ethical, existential, and political aspects of Søren Kierkegaard’s and GWF Hegel’s philosophy. 

For the Ethics of Doubt project, Cæcilie aims to reconstruct a Kierkegaardian account of existential scepticism with a special focus on Kierkegaard’s analyses of the reluctance to alter or renounce one’s perspective on the world and on oneself.


Isabel Kaeslin - Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Ethics of Doubt

Isabel Kaeslin

Isabel Kaeslin received her PhD from Columbia University in 2019, having worked on how non-cognitive feeling states can play a role in ethics and epistemology. Her book, entitled Emotion, Cognition, and the Virtue of Flexibility was published in autumn 2023. 

Previously, Isabel was a post-doctoral researcher on a philosophy of attention project at the University of Fribourg. Isabel is excited that the Ethics of Doubt project combines ethical and existential questions with epistemic ones. She wants to zoom in on the question in what ways knowledge requires courage, what character virtues are involved in dealing with doubt, and on whether conspiracy theories and scepticism are special forms of doubt. 

Isabel will be starting on the project in September 2024.

PhD Students

Peter Heath - PHD student, Ethics of Doubt

Peter Heath

Peter is a PhD student on the project. He joined after seven years of pastoral ministry and theological study at the Universities of Oxford and Nottingham.

Peter is excited to investigate how conspiracy theories might ease cognitive dissonance for some people, and how insights from Kierkegaard might prompt us to find other ways of handling this problem.

X: @pwjheath

Amin Mostajir - PHD student, Ethics of Doubt

Amin Mostajir

Amin joins the project as a PhD student, having received his MA in Iran. What excites him about the project is that it approaches epistemological problems in an existential way, linking scepticism to failures of character, diverging from mainstream theoretical epistemology. 

Amin intends to focus on exploring the connection between self-knowledge and intellectual courage – a subject that resonates with his personal experience growing up in an environment where voicing his own perspective required courage despite potential backlash. 

X: @aminmostajir

Advisory board members

Professor Quassim Cassam - Advisory Board member, Ethics of Doubt

Quassim Cassam

Quassim Cassam is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy.

He is the author of seven books, including Vices of the Mind: From the Intellectual to the Political (2019), Conspiracy Theories (2019), and Extremism: A Philosophical Analysis (2022). He is currently writing a book on the philosophy of terrorism.

X: @QCassam

Professor Annalisa Coliva - Advisory Board member, Ethics of Doubt

Annalisa Coliva

Annalisa Coliva is Full Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine.

She is the author of Moore and Wittgenstein, Scepticism, Certainty and Common Sense (2010), Extended Rationality. A Hinge Epistemology (2015), (with M. Baghramian), Relativism (2019), (with D. Pritchard) Skepticism (2022), and of Wittgenstein Rehinged. The Significance of On Certainty for Contemporary Epistemology (2022).

Dr. Rick Anthony Furtak - Advisory Board member, Ethics of Doubt

Rick Anthony Furtak

Rick Anthony Furtak is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Colorado College and past President of the Søren Kierkegaard Society in North America.  He has published three books and over forty essays and reviews, including Wisdom in Love and The Sonnets of Rainer Maria Rilke, as well as contributions to each of the Cambridge Critical Guides on Kierkegaard’s writings.  He is an Editorial Board Member for New Kierkegaard Research and founding Book Series Co-Editor for Bloomsbury Studies in Philosophy and Poetry.  His newest book, published in June 2023 by Oxford University Press, is Love, Subjectivity, and Truth, which deals with Proust’s fiction and classical Skepticism.


Professor Stephen Mulhall - Advisory Board member, Ethics of Doubt

Stephen Mulhall

Professor Stephen Mulhall is the Russell H. Carpenter Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at New College, Oxford. His research interests include Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Kierkegaard; the philosophy of religion; and the relationship between philosophy and the arts – especially literature and film. 

His most recent books are: In Other Words: Transpositions of Philosophy in J.M. Coetzee’s ‘Jesus’ Trilogy (OUP, 2022); The Ascetic Ideal: Genealogies of Life-denial in Religion, Morality, Art, Science and Philosophy (OUP, 2021); and The Great Riddle: Wittgenstein and Nonsense, Theology and Philosophy (OUP, 2015).

Professor Duncan Pritchard - Advisory Board member, Ethics of Doubt

Duncan Pritchard

Duncan Pritchard is UC Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Knowledge, Technology & Society at the University of California, Irvine.

He was previously Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Eidyn research centre at the University of Edinburgh. His monographs include Epistemic Luck (Oxford UP, 2005), The Nature and Value of Knowledge (co-authored, Oxford UP, 2010), Epistemological Disjunctivism (Oxford UP, 2012), Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing (Princeton UP, 2015), and Scepticism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford UP, 2019).

Professor Joe Uscinski - Advisory Board member, Ethics of Doubt

Joe Uscinski

Joe Uscinski is Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami. He studies public opinion and mass media, with a focus on conspiracy theories and related misinformation. He is co-author of American Conspiracy Theories (Oxford, 2014) and editor of Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them (Oxford, 2018). His co-authored textbook on conspiracy theories is Conspiracy Theories: A Primer.


Daniel Watts - Advisory Board member, Ethics of Doubt

Dan Watts

Dan Watts is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Essex. His principal research interests are in Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, and the phenomenological tradition. 

He was co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project, ‘The Ethics of Powerlessness: The Theological Virtues Today’. His current projects include a monograph entitled, The Participant’s Stance: Kierkegaard, Objectivity, and Situated Thought

David Coady - Advisory Board member, Ethics of Doubt

David Coady

David Coady is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy & Gender Studies at the University of Tasmania. Most of his current work is on applied philosophy, especially applied epistemology. 

He has published on rumour, conspiracy theory, expertise, blogging, fake news, post-truth, extremism, and democratic theory. He has also published on the metaphysics of causation, the philosophy of law, climate change, cricket ethics, police ethics, the ethics of horror films, and ‘scientific’ whaling.