Sharon Rider, Deputy Research Director


Sharon Rider is Professor in Logic and Metaphysics at Uppsala University and deputy research director of the Engaging Vulnerability research program.

I was born and raised in New York City. I am Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at Uppsala University, where I was Vice Dean of the Faculty of Arts 2008-2014. I was honored with the Humtank Award ( in 2015 for having “with acuity and courage defended education and academic activity from external controls, short-sighted demands for utility and quality assessment exercises that fail to capture their real value.”

My main research interests are in 19thand 20th century European thought falling within the domain of philosophical anthropology, broadly understood.

My current focus on vulnerability has to do with how the conditions of possibility for thinking, understanding and learning such as real needs, practical utility, custom, and chance, are often misconceived as limitations and barriers, i.e. as obstructions to thinking. I want to show, on the contrary, how such conditions are often productive of what can count as “knowing” something, proving it, or understanding it.

I am working on a range of material that addresses this topic, including the tension between rural and urban conceptions of what people need to know and be able to do in order to achieve their human potential, and, related to this, the normative discourse that attempts to ameliorate the conditions of those on the periphery – mostly by re-framing those conditions according to the needs of the political and economic center.

My most recent publications reflect this focus on the possibilities and limitations of educational institutions and practices for cognitive agency. During the academic year 2018-2019, I delivered keynote addresses in Paris at Sciences Po for the Nordic Fields of Higher Education in International Comparison conference, in Budapest for the Registers of Philosophy series of the Hungarian Academy of Arts and Sciences, in London at the annual international Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education conference, and at the University of Tasmania as the James Martineau Memorial Lecturer. I have received a grant from the Swedish Foundation for the Humanities and Social Sciences for a sabbatical for the academic year 2019-2020 to complete work on a book-length treatment of these issues: The Very Idea of a University: A Philosophical Anthropology of Higher Education.

A Few Recent Publications

Post-truth, Fake News: Viral Modernity and Higher Education, eds. Michael Peters, Sharon Rider, Mats Hyvönen, Tina Besley (Springer 2018)

 “Truth, Democracy and the Mission of the University”, in The Thinking University: A Philosophical Examination of Thought and Higher EducationRon Barnett & Søren S.E. Bengtsen (eds) (Springer, 2018)

“Unsettling Ideas and the Power of Style”, Working Papers in Philosophy, Registers of Philosophy, Hungarian Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2019/4

“Coercion by Necessity or Comprehensive Responsibility? Hannah Arendt on Vulnerability, Freedom and Education”. In Phenomenology and the Primacy of the Political. Véronique Fóti & Pavlos Kontos (eds.) (Springer 2017)

Current Projects Academic Year 2019-2020

I am a founding member of the steering committee of HERO (Higher Education as a Research Object), a network for studies in higher education with funding from the Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences at Uppsala University (

Contact information:

Selected publications:

The list below is only a representative selection. For more information, see the attached CV.


1998 monographAvoiding the Subject: A Critical Inquiry into Contemporary Theories of Subjectivity. Stockholm: Library of Theoria.
The pdf-file has been split into three parts to overcome file size upload limits: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


2018Post-Truth, Fake News: Viral Modernity & Higher Education, eds. Michael A. Peters, Sharon Rider, Mats Hyvönen & Tina Besley, Singapore: Springer.
2016“Public Education” (section editor), Encyclopedia for the Philosophy and Theory of Education. Springer (in production).
2016–Series Editor (with Michael Peters), Evaluating Education: Normative Systems and Institutional Practices, Springer.
2013Transformations in Research, Higher Education and the Academic Market: The Breakdown of Scientific Thought, eds. Sharon Rider, Ylva Hasselberg and Alexandra Waluszewski. Dordrecht: Springer 2013.
2008Tankar: Tillägnade Sören Stenlund, eds. Sharon Rider, Niklas Forsberg and Pär Segerdahl. Uppsala Philosophical Studies 54.
2007Reclaim the science!: om vetenskapens avakademisering, eds. Sharon Rider and Anders Jörnesten. Hedemora: Gidlund.
2006Den moderna ensamheten, eds. Maria Karlsson and Sharon Rider. Eslöv: Brutus Östlings bokförlag Symposion.
2006The Idea of the History of Philosophy, guest editor (with Mats Persson), special volume of Lychnos. Swedish Yearbook for the History of Science and Ideas.


2015Den lönsamma humanioran, Briefing Paper, Timbro, September 2015.
2014Kollegialitet i koncentrat (with Shirin Ahlbäck Öberg and Elin Sundberg) for Arbetsgruppen för utveckling av kollegiala styrformer Vetenskapsområdet för humaniora och samhällsvetenskap, Uppsala universitet..
2000ELSA activities in Sweden: Report on Research Concerning Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Genome Research, ed. Sharon Rider.

Selection of articles (see CV for full bibliography, including other works and articles in Swedish)

2018On Knowing How to Tell the Truth. In Post-Truth, Fake News: Viral Modernity & Higher Education, eds. M. A. Peters, S. Rider, M. Hyvönen & T. Besley. Singapore: Springer.
2017Human Freedom and the Philosophical Attitude. In The Dilemma of Western Philosophy, eds. Michael A. Peters & Carl Mika. Oxon: Routledge.
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2017Truth, Democracy and the Mission of the University, in The Thinking University: A Philosophical Examination of Thought and Higher Education, Ron Barnett & Søren S.E. Bengtsen (eds) (Springer)
2017Coercion by Necessity or Comprehensive Responsibility? Hannah Arendt on Vulnerability, Freedom and Education. In Phenomenology and the Primacy of the Political: Essays in Honor of Jacques Taminiaux, eds. Véronique Fóti & Pavlos Kontos. Springer International Publishing.
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2017Language and Mathematical Formation. In A Companion to Wittgenstein on Education: Pedagogical Investigations, eds. Michael A. Peters & Jeff Stickney. Springer Singapore.
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2016Science and speed addiction: the scholar’s vocation in the age of efficiency. In Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy. Volume 2016, issue 2-3: Special issue: Work and Life in Academia.
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2015Critical Theory as Metatheory of Education. Entry in the Encyclopedia for the Philosophy and Theory of Education. Springer.
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2014The Very Idea of Higher Education: Vocation of Man or Vocational Training? In The Humboldtian Tradition, eds. Thomas Karlsohn, Peter Josephson & Johan Östling. Leiden: Brill.
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2013Higher Heteronomy: Thinking Through Higher Education. In Transformations in Research, Higher Education and the Academic Market: The Breakdown of Scientific Thought, eds. Sharon Rider, Ylva Hasselberg & Alexandra Waluszewski. Dordrecht: Springer.
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2011On Relativism and Relativity in the Human Sciences. In Making a Difference: Humanism and the Humanities, eds. Susanne Jansson & Niklas Forsberg. Stockholm: Thales.
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2011What is the state of critique today? In Eurozine
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2009The Future of the European University: Liberal Democracy or Authoritarian Capitalism? In Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research, Vol. 1, 2009.
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2008On Philosophical Style (and Substance). In Tankar: Tillägnade Sören Stenlund, eds Sharon Rider, Niklas Forsberg & Pär Segerdahl. Uppsala Philosophical Studies 54.
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2005Where My Spade Turns: On Philosophy, Nihilism and the Ordinary. In The Recovery of Being: Philosophy, and Ordinary Experience, ed. Nalin Ranasinghe. Chicago: Augustine’s Press.
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2002How Ordinary is Ordinary Experience? Language in Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. In The Practice of Language, eds. Martin Gustafsson & Lars Hertzberg. Dordrecht: Kluwer
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