Esa Diaz-Leon

I am a Ramon y Cajal Researcher in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona. Before this, I was an Assistant and then Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Manitoba.

My areas of specialization are Philosophy of Mind and Language, and Philosophy of Gender, Race and Sexuality, and I also have interests in Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Feminist Philosophy broadly conceived. You can find more about my publications and research plans here and here.

In the academic year 2016-17, I will be teaching a graduate seminar on Research Methods in Analytic Philosophy (Fall 2016). 

Contact: esadiazleon AT gmail DOT com


I received a BA in Philosophy from the University of Murcia (Spain) in 2000, a PostGrad Diploma in Philosophy from the University of Sheffield (UK) in 2002, and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Sheffield in 2007. My PhD supervisors were Stephen Laurence, Rosanna Keefe, and Dominic Gregory.  My PhD thesis was on "Consciousness, Conceivability and Concepts". My examiners were Jennifer Saul (U. Sheffield) and Manuel García-Carpintero (U. Barcelona). During my PhD I worked as a Teaching Assistant, and also for a while as a Teaching Fellow in Philosophy.  

I joined the University of Manitoba as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy in July 2008, and I was promoted to Associate Professor in March 2014. I was a Visitor at Logos - Research Group in Analytic Philosophy (University of Barcelona, Spain) during March-June 2008 and January-June 2012, and I became a Member in January 2014.

Selected Publications:

"Phenomenal Concepts: Neither Circular Nor Opaque", forthcoming in Philosophical Psychology.

"Woman as a Politically Significant Term: A Solution to the Puzzle", Hypatia 31(2), pp. 245-58, 2016.

"Norms of Judgement, Naturalism, and Normativism about Content"Philosophical Explorations 19(1), pp. 48-58, 2016.

"What is Social Construction?", European Journal of Philosophy 23(4), pp. 1137-52, 2015.

"In Defence of Historical Constructivism about Races",  Ergo 2(21), pp. 547-62, 2015.

"Do A Posteriori Physicalists Get Our Phenomenal Concepts Wrong?", Ratio 27(1), pp. 1-16, 2014.

"Actors are not like Zombies"Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112(1), pp. 115-22, 2012.

"Are Ghosts Scarier than Zombies?", Consciousness and Cognition 21(2), pp. 747-8, 2012.

"Reductive Explanation, Concepts, and A Priori Entailment", Philosophical Studies 155 (1), pp. 99-116, 2011.

"Can Phenomenal Concepts Explain the Epistemic Gap?", Mind 119 (476), pp. 933-51, 2010.

"Defending the Phenomenal Concept Strategy", Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4), pp. 597-610, 2008.


The questions that first brought me to philosophy were mainly these: "What is the place of the mind in a natural world?" and "How do mind and language represent the world?". I am still pretty much interested in these, and other related issues. I have also developed an interest in issues having to do with gender, race and sexuality, and more in particular with the ways in which we think about those human kinds, and the ways in which our thinking about them helps to create and perpetuate them.

My research so far has focused on the following questions:

  1. What is the nature of consciousness? Is consciousness physical? Is physicalism true?
  2. What is the best theory of phenomenal concepts? Can we use this theory of phenomenal concepts in order to block anti-physicalist arguments?
  3. What is the role of conceptual analysis in philosophy, and especially in metaphysics?
  4. Is two-dimensional semantics any good?
  5. What is the meaning of ‘woman’? Can we make sense of the sex-gender distinction?
  6. What does it mean to say that a category is socially constructed? Are gender, race and sexual orientation socially constructed?

In my future research, I would also like to address the following questions:

  1. What is the difference between descriptive and ameliorative projects in philosophy?
  2. What is the semantics of slurs, and other pejorative terms such as slurring uses of generics? How can we explain their offensiveness? What is the nature of the corresponding signified properties?
  3. What are social kinds? How do they differ from natural kinds, and artefactual kinds?
  4. What is the nature of truth in fiction? Do moral and political considerations play a role in determining what is true in a work of fiction?


I'm organizing a new talk series on the philosophy of gender, race and sexuality in Barcelona, known as GRSeminar. I also organised the third edition of the GRSelona conference, on Language and Politics, which took place on 22-23 June 2016.

I am a member of Diaphora-European Training Network, a research and training platform funded by the European Commission.

I have been awarded a Ramon y Cajal Research Fellowship, funded by the Spanish Government, and hosted by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona and the LOGOS Research Group in Analytic Philosophy, starting in July 2014.