Dr Stephen Law

Profile details


Departmental Lecturer in Philosophy

Course Director of the Certificate of Higher Education


Stephen Law is a former postman who entered University as a mature student age 24. He attended The City University London, then completed his B.Phil and D.Phil degrees in Philosophy at the University of Oxford (Trinity and The Queen's Colleges). He also held various Oxford college lectureships and a three-year stipendiary Junior Research Fellowship at The Queen’s College, Oxford. He then taught at Heythrop College University of London until its closure in 2018. He is known particularly for his introductory books. He also writes many accessible online articles and edits the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK: Philosophy For Everyone?

Research interests

Stephen researches in philosophy of mind, language, metaphysics, and in philosophy or religion. His doctoral research was on essentialism, Kripke and how natural kind terms function. He also publishes on the later Wittgenstein. Stephen has also worked on the relationship between science and religion, and on pseudoscience, and is currently working on papers on consciousness and free will. Stephen is perhaps best known for his papers in philosophy of religion, especially 'The Evil God Challenge', which is the most viewed article in Religious Studies of the last decade. The Evil God Challenge can be viewed as a short animation here.


Articles: Philosophy of Religion:

  1. ‘The X-Claim Argument Against Religious Belief’, Religious Studies 54 (2018) 15-35.
  2. ‘Skeptical Theism and Skepticism About The External World and Past’, Philosophy (supplement 81 on Religious Epistemology edited by myself, 2017) 55-70
  3. ‘Wittgensteinian Accounts of Religious Belief: Non-cognitive, Juicer, and Atheist-Minus’, European Journal of Philosophy 25 (2017) 1186-1207
  4. ‘The Pandora’s Box Objection to Skeptical Theism’, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78 (2015): 285-299
  5. ‘Skeptical Theism and a Lying God’, Religious Studies 51 (2014): 91-109
  6.  ‘Miracles, Evidence, and the Existence of Jesus’, Faith and Philosophy 28 (2011): 129-151
  7. ‘Plantinga’s Belief-Cum-Desire Argument Refuted’, Religious Studies 47 (2011): 245-256
  8. ‘The Evil God Challenge’, Religious Studies 46 (2010): 353-373

Articles: Metaphysics and Mind:

  1. ‘Natural Kinds of Substance’Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (2016): 283-300
  2. ‘Naturalism, Evolution, and True Belief’, Analysis 72 (2012): 41-48
  3.  ‘Honderich and the Curse of Epiphenomenalism’, Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (2006): 61-77
  4. ‘Systems of Measurement’, Ratio 18 (2005): 145-164
  5. ‘Five Private Language Arguments’, International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12, no 2 (2004): 159-176
  6. ‘Loar’s Defence of Physicalism’, Ratio 17, no 1, (2004): 60-67

Selected Introductory/Popular books:

  1. What Am I Doing With My Life? And other late-night internet searches answered by the great philosophers. (Rider, 2019)
  2. Humanism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011)
  3. Believing Bullshit (Prometheus, 2011)
  4. The Great Philosophers (Quercus, 2007)
  5. The War For Children’s Minds (Routledge, 2006)
  6. The Philosophy Gym (Headline, 2003) 

Children’s books:

  1. The Complete Philosophy Files (Orion, 2011)