About Dr Brian Ball

Dr Brian Ball is the Head of Faculty and Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at New College of the Humanities. He received a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University with Honours in Philosophy and a Minor Concentration in Linguistics, and on graduation was awarded the Prince of Wales Medal in Mental and Moral Philosophy. He then completed the BPhil in Philosophy at the University of Oxford as a Marion Buck scholar, and stayed for a DPhil, carried out under the supervision of Dorothy Edgington and John Hawthorne, and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He was subsequently a lecturer in Philosophy at St Anne’s , and then Balliol College, University of Oxford.  He joined NCH in 2013.



DPhil in Philosophy, University of Oxford (2008)

BPhil in Philosophy, University of Oxford (2003)

BA Hons Phil, Minor Ling, McGill University (2000)


Professional Affiliations

Aristotelian Society




Dr Brian Ball's Research

Dr Ball’s primary research interest is in the metaphysics of intentional states and acts – which is to say that he explores the natures of such things as knowledge, belief, judgment, and assertion, all of which have the distinctive characteristic of being about something.

His doctoral thesis, Semantics, Metasemantics, and Ontology (Oxford, 2008), investigated issues at the intersection of metaphysics and the philosophy of language, arguing that the things which must exist if a speaker’s remarks are to be true are best discerned through an examination, not of what their words mean, but of why it is that they have those meanings. He has since published on topics in metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophies of mind and language in such journals as Analysis, Mind and Language, Philosophical Psychology, and Philosophical Quarterly; and he has presented his work at conferences and colloquia to both national and international audiences.

Dr Ball currently organises the Philosophy Research Seminar and the Cognitive Science Research Group at NCH. He co-organized the NCH Mind and Brain Conference and the NCH workshops Judgment: Act and Object and Debating Debates. He is the NCH College Research Officer.


 Selected Publications

‘Alethic Pluralism and the Role of Reference in the Metaphysics of Truth’, Southern Journal of Philosophy (2017), 55(1): 116-135, doi: 10.1111/sjp.12208

‘Commitment and Obligation in Speech Act Theory’, forthcoming, Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and Humanities

‘Counter Closure and Knowledge Despite Falsehood’ with M. Blome-Tillmann, Philosophical Quarterly (2014), 64 (257): 552-568, doi 10.1093/pq/pqu033

‘Deriving the Norm of Assertion’, Journal of Philosophical Research (2014), 39: 75-85, doi 10.5840/jpr201472411

‘Indexical Reliabilism and the New Evil Demon’ with M. Blome-Tillmann, Erkenntnis (2013), 78(6): 1317-1336, doi 10.1007/s10670-012-9422-3

‘Knowledge is Normal Belief’, Analysis (2013), 73(1): 69-76, doi 10.1093/analys/ans127

‘Knowledge, Safety, and Questions’, Philosophy South (Unisinos Journal of Philosophy) (2016), 17(1): 58-62, doi: 10.4013/fsu.2016.171.07

‘The Nature of Testimony: a Williamsonian Account’, Logique et Analyse (2013), 56(223): 231-244

‘On the Normativity of Speech Acts’, Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Semantics and Beyond: Philosophical and Linguistic Investigations, De Gruyter (2014), Berlin, 9-25

‘On Representational Content and Format in Core Numerical Cognition’, Philosophical Psychology (2017), 30(1-2): 119-139, doi: 10.1080/09515089.2016.1263988

‘Speech Acts: Natural or Normative Kinds?’, Mind and Language (2014), 29(3): 336-350, doi 10.1111/mila.12054

‘The Knowledge Rule and the Action Rule’, Southern Journal of Philosophy (2014), 52(4): 552-574, doi 10.1111/sjp.12088

‘What is Semantic Content?’, Baptista & Rast (eds.), Meaning and Context (2010), Peter Lang, Bern, 187-211

Reviews and Short Articles

‘Critical Notice: Scott Soames’ What is Meaning?’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy (2011), 41 (4): 575-594, doi(1)   10.1080/00455091.2011.10716764

‘Response to Hindriks and Kooi’, Journal of Philosophical Research (2014), 39: 93-99, doi 10.5840/jpr201472913

‘Review of Cappelen and Hawthorne’s Relativism and Monadic Truth’, Logical Analysis and the History of Philosophy (2010), 13: 148-155

‘Review of Horsten’s The Tarskian Turn’, The Philosophical Quarterly (2013), 63: 629-632, doi 10.1111/1467-9213.12048

‘Review of Lowe’s Forms of Thought’, Mind (2014), 123(492): 1205-1208, doi 10.1093/mind/fzu138

‘Timothy Williamson’, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2016), doi 10.4324/9780415249126-DD105-1

For access to some of Dr Ball’s publications, see here.

Dr Brian Ball's Teaching

Dr Ball has extensive teaching experience in philosophy, having taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels, at a number of institutions (McGill, Oxford, NCH), and in a variety of formats (lectures, seminars, tutorials).

He has taught a wide range of subjects within philosophy, including: aesthetics, early modern philosophy, epistemology, the history of analytic philosophy, logic (both formal and philosophical), metaphysics, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mathematics, and the philosophy of mind. At NCH he gives lectures and tutorials for first-year logic, second-year metaphysics, as well as third-year philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.

Teaching Appointments

Head of Faculty in Philosophy, NCH, London (2019-present)

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, NCH, London (2015-present)

Lecturer in Philosophy, Balliol College, Oxford (2014-2016)

Lecturer in Philosophy, NCH, London (2013-2015)

Lecturer in Philosophy, St Anne’s College, Oxford (2008-2014)

Tutor, Faculty of Philosophy and Various Colleges, Oxford (2003-2008)

Tutorial Assistant, Department of Philosophy, McGill University, Montreal (2000)


Course Development

Dr Ball developed the curriculum and assessment for NCH’s first-year BA course, Logic: Formal and Philosophical, as well as that for the second-year Metaphysics course. As course leader for the MA modules Mind and Reality, Logic, Metaphysics, and the Philosophy of Mind and Language, he has designed the curriculum and assessments for these courses.


Faculty Positions

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, NCH

Director of Graduate Studies in Philosophy, NCH

Personal Tutor, NCH

Academic Board, NCH

Collegium, NCH

Associate Member, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford


Languages Spoken

English and French.