Ms Marianne Talbot

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London University, 1982-85 Philosophy, BA. First Class Honours

Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, 1985-87, BPhil


Pembroke College Oxford, College Lecturer in Philosophy 1987-1990

Brasenose College Oxford, College Lecturer in Philosophy 1990-2000

Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University, Director of Studies in Philosophy, 2001- now

From 1996 to 2009 Marianne cared for her parents, both of whom had dementia. From 2009 to 2012, to make up for lost time, she wrote a book a year:

  • Keeping Mum: Caring for Someone with Dementia (Hay House 2011) – a series of blogs previously published with Saga Magazine online, and with additional chapters of use to carers.
  • Bioethics: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press 2012) – starting with philosophical theories of ethics and the rudiments of thinking philosophically, a discussion of the new actions biotechnology has made possible and the etrhical questions they stimulate.
  • Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic (available in paperback and e-book format through Amazon and iBooks) – an introduction to critical thinking including two chapters on the beginnings of formalization.


Marianne has been podcasting her lectures since 2008. Since then her podcasts have consistently been in the top 20 downloads of iTunesU (the university of iTunes). On May 3rd 2011 her critical reasoning podcasts held every single one of the top ten download positions on iTunesU. The two most popular podcasts (between them downloaded over 6 million times) are:

Marianne has also made other podcasts which can be found on Oxford University’s site on iTunesU, or here:

Online courses

Four of Oxford University's popular online short courses in philosophy were written by Marianne (three based on her podcasts):

Advisory roles

From 1996-2000 Marianne chaired the National Forum for Values in Education and The Community. This group was responsible for the values that inform the National Curriculum. In this capacity Marianne was responsible for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils aged 5-19 in all state schools, and was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education to several governmental working parties including: The Advisory Group on Citizenship and Democracy in Schools (responsible for introducing citizenship into the National Curriculum), The Advisory Group on Personal, Social and Health Education, The Advisory Group on Preparation for Adult Life.

Marianne has advised the Institute of Directors, the Cabinet Office, The King’s Fund and numerous schools on the identification of values, and on how to embed them in the organisation. She has advised the Wellcome Trust and is advising the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on the ethics of biotechnology. Marianne also teaches bioethics and research ethics to several EPSRC-funded Centres of Doctoral Training in Oxford, London, Sheffield and Bristol. 

From 2000 – 2008 Marianne was a member of The Council Of The Girls’ Day School Trust, Britain’s largest educational charity and owner of 30 schools nationwide. From 1996-2000 Marianne was on the ‘Ethics in the Workplace’ Committee of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce. Marianne has also served on the Court of Brookes University.

Research interests

The philosophy of mind, especially questions of rationality, ethics, both theoretical and practical, elementary logic.

Publications (in addition to the books mentioned above):

2000: ‘Promoting Pupils’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development’ in Education for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development, R.Best (Ed) Continuum Press

1998: ‘Against Relativism’, in Education in Morality, J.M.Halstead and T.McLaughlin (Eds.) Routledge

1998: ‘Virtuous Realities’ in The Good Life, DEMOS publications

1999: How to Write an Effective Mission Statement, How To Books

1997: ‘Shared Values in a Pluralist Society’ in Teaching Right and Wrong, R.Smith & P. Standish (Eds.)Trentham Books

1997: ‘The Cultural Context of Values Education’ in Values and the Curriculum, D.Lawton et al

1997: ‘Whose Values? Our Values!’ in Education, Public Law and the Individual, Vol. 2, issue 3

1997: ‘Why do Young People Reject Moral Absolutism?’ in Resource, volume 20:3

1994-now: numerous articles in broadsheet newspapers

1987-now: regular broadcasting on local and national radio


Too many to list!