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  Truth and Being Laid Bare: The Use of Nudity in Philosophy

   School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

  Dr Oisín Keohane,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

In this project, we want to investigate the notions of ‘naked’ or ‘nude’ in relation to the fields of epistemology, ontology, political philosophy, philosophy of law or aesthetics, or some combination of these fields.

The meaning of the adjectives ‘naked’ or ‘nude’ depend largely on the noun they qualify, such as ‘naked truth’, ‘naked thing’ or ‘naked life’. There is ample use of these terms in the history of philosophy, though, as of yet, no systematic study of the actual impact or contribution of the term ‘naked’ to epistemology, ontology or philosophy as a whole. For example, Avicenna uses the Arabic word ‘tajrīd’, literally, ‘disrobement’ or ‘stripping’, to speak of an ‘abstraction’ or what is ‘abstracted’ (mujarrad); and following this, William of Auvergne speaks of abstraction as denudatio; Meister Eckhart speaks of God as esse nudum; Scipion Dupleix speaks of la nue entité as a way of expressing the Latin existentia in French; Descartes, famously speaking of a piece of wax, says Je la considère toute nue; and more lately, Agamben has spoken of la nuda vita; and Jean Luc Nancy of la nudité du sens.

It is not expected that the applicant cover all of the above, but that they find an angle in relation to the above that they wish to pursue and focus on. Questions that could possibly be pursued, include: how does the naked truth differ from other theories of truth? What happens when the locus of truth is displaced from the proposition (x proposition is true) to the body (the naked truth)? What is the impact of different entities being held to be naked, be they mankind, God, a piece of wax, life or meaning? How does art – for example, artworks that depict veritas filia temporis – have the ability to make us rethink the concept of truth and what it entails

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Oisin Keohane,

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact


Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent for non-UK qualifications), and/or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here:

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) overall score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.5 in reading, listening, speaking or writing). The University of Dundee accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications and alternative ways to demonstrate language proficiency; please see full details of the University’s English language requirements here:



Step 1: Email Dr Oisin Keohane, ) to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Dr Keohane, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Candidates must apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Philosophy  (3 Year) using our direct application system: apply for a PhD in Philosophy.

Please select the study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the Research Proposal section, please:

-         Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-         Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

Creative Arts & Design (9) History & Archaeology (19) Linguistics & Classics (23) Philosophy (28)

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.

Register your interest for this project

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