Martin Pickup

Colleges, School and Institutes

External positions

Professor, University of Navarra

1 Mar 20191 Apr 2019


I arrived in Birmingham in 2021 as a Senior Lecturer, with a focus in Philosophy of Religion. Before that, I had a number of research and teaching posts in Oxford spanning about a decade, including most recently as the Turpin Junior Research Fellow at Oriel College. Most of my training was also at Oxford, where I received my doctorate in 2012. I have been an International Visiting Professor at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, and have broad research interests spanning Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysics, and Early Modern Philosophy.

Research interests

I am interested in the ultimate character and structure of reality, and in the ways that religious claims fit into this (or fail to). This interest manifests through research into three different areas: Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysics and Early Modern Philosophy (particularly Leibniz).

In Philosophy of Religion I work within the growing field of analytic theology, using the tools of contemporary analytic metaphysics to clarify and address key theoretical issues in religious thought. My research in this area can be characterised as a kind of ‘applied metaphysics.’ I don’t argue for the truth (or falsity) of any of the target claims, but rather, by translating them into the language of analytic metaphysics, investigate whether they are coherent. In future work, I will focus on the metaphysics of ‘down-stream’ religious claims, such as those concerning religious practice and rituals. A particular area of research will be the metaphysics of the Eucharist.

Within Metaphysics, my motivating questions concern what the world contains and how it is put together. I am developing a view, called ‘situationalism’, which holds that reality, in certain circumstances, is metaphysically indeterminate. I have published several papers exploring this idea and am working on a book manuscript which presents a systematic account and defence of the view. I also have independent research projects on topics such as the relationship between objects and space/time.

My current work in Early Modern Philosophy is primarily focussed on Leibniz and his metaphysics. I engage with Leibniz’s struggles in distinguishing between things that have to be the case and things that could have been otherwise (i.e. between necessary and contingent truths).

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

I have a wide range of philosophical interests across my research areas of Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysics and Early Modern Philosophy. I am open to supervising topics in any of these areas, including where they overlap. I warmly welcome email enquiries from potential PhD students at any time.