Marianne Talbot

Marianne Talbot
Area of Specialisation:



Marianne Talbot has been Director of Studies in Philosophy at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education since 2001. Before that she lectured for Brasenose College (1990-2000), and Pembroke College (1987-1990). The Department for Continuing Education caters for part-time students - anyone who is interested in ‘lifelong learning’. We do weekly classesweekend schoolssummer schools and short online courses in philosophy. These are open to anyone. Marianne is delighted to be working for OUDCE because she was herself a mature student who started her philosophical career with the Open University.  Two of Marianne’s podcasts (A Romp Through the History of Philosophy and The Nature of Arguments) have been global number one on iTunes U. Her podcasts have been downloaded over 5 million times. The series on critical reasoning has become the basis for a book and a short online course.


1985 - 1987 Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
1982 - 1985 First Class Honours (Philosophy), University of London
1980 - 1981 Open University
1967 - 1971 Bramhall Grammar School, Bramhall, Cheshire


Core Employment

2000 - present Department of Continuing Education, Oxford University (Director of Studies in Philosophy)
1990 - 2000 Brasenose College, Oxford (College Lecturer in Philosophy)
1987 - 1990 Pembroke College, Oxford (College Lecturer in Philosophy)


Public Appointments and Charitable work:

2009 - present National Ambassadors for CarersUK, Alzheimer’s Research UK and Carers’ Champion for Age UK
2001 - 2007 Trustee, Girls’ Day School Trust (Britain’s largest educational charity) 
2000 Member: The Cabinet Office’s project team on Vision and Values
1999 - 2008 Adviser to the Wellcome Trust on the ethics of the new biotechnology
1998 - 2001 Government’s advisory group on Personal, Social and Health Education
1998 Qualifications and Curriculum Authority’s advisory group on Preparation for Adult Life
1998 Government’s advisory group on Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy in Schools (responsible for introducing Citizenship into the National Curriculum)
1998 - 2002 Member of the University Court, Brooks University, Oxford
1997- 2000 Adviser to the King’s Fund on values
1996 - 2000 Headed the Qualification and Curriculum Authority’s work on values and the promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
1996 - 2000 The RSA’s steering committee for The Forum for Ethics in the Workplace
1996 - 1999 Adviser to the Institute of Directors on values 
1996 - 1997 Chair of the National Forum for Values in Education and the Community
1994 - 2005 Academic Advisor for the State University of New York
1987- 2002 Governor, Oxford Girls’ High School 
1985 - 1989 Chair, Oxfordshire Branch of the 300 Group
1985 - 1989 Chair, Philosophy in Britain

2014: Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic (e-book available via iTunes, available via Amazon soon)

2012: Bioethics: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press

2011: Keeping Mum: Caring for Someone with Dementia, Hay House

2000: ‘Promoting Pupils’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development’ in Education for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development, R.Best (Ed) Continuum Press

1999: How to Write an Effective Mission Statement, How To Books

1998: ‘Against Relativism’, in Education in Morality, J.M.Halstead & T.McLaughlin (Eds.) Routledge

1998: ‘Virtuous Realities’ in The Good Life, DEMOS publications

1997: ‘Shared Values in a Pluralist Society’ in Teaching Right and Wrong, R.Smith & P. Standish (Eds.)Trentham Books

1997: ‘The Cultural Context of Values Education’ in Values and the Curriculum, D.Lawton 

1997: ‘Whose Values? Our Values!’ in Education, Public Law and the Individual,Vol. 2, issue 3

1997: ‘Why do Young People Reject Moral Absolutism?’ in Resource, volume 20:3

1994-now: numerous articles in broadsheet newspapers

1987-now: regular broadcasting on local and national radio


Philosophy of mind, ethics (including bioethics), critical reasoning

Podcasts of my lectures have been being made since 2008. They are released onto the Oxford University Site on iTunesU. Since 2009 I have been consistently in iTunesU’s top ten downloads. Two of my podcasts (A Romp Through the History of Philosophy, and The Nature of Arguments) have been global number one. The former has been downloaded two million times, the latter four million times. The Critical Reasoning series held every single one of iTunesU top ten download positions on 3rd May 2011. The podcasts can be found on or here: