Alison  Toop

Alison Toop

PhD Student

Summary: Marriage and the Political Liberal State


Thesis Title:

Marriage and the Political Liberal State: An Investigation into the nature of the marital relationship and the legitimacy of a political institution of marriage

Supervisors: Gerald Lang and Matthew Smith

Research Interests:

Political Philosophy; Philosophy of Love and Friendship; Applied and Normative Ethics 

Funding and Awards

I am extremely grateful to the University of Leeds School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science for awarding me funding which will support me for the duration of my PhD. 

I was awarded the Morrell Studentship for MA in Political Philosophy; the idea of toleration, at The University of York 2010/11


MA Political Philosophy; The Idea of Toleration - University of York (2011)

BA (Hons) Philosophy, (First Class) -  University of Leeds (2010)

Talks and Conference Presentations 


'Is Marriage Compatible with Political Liberalism?'

  • Association of Social and Political Philosophy Conference, University of Sheffield, 27th - 29th June 2017
  • Postgraduate Session at the Joint Session, Cardiff University, 8th-10th July 2016
  • Society for Applied Philosophy Conference, Queens University Belfast, 1st-3rd July 2016
  • White Rose Philosophy Forum, University of Sheffield, 13th February 2016

'An Underlying Tension in Political Liberal Objections to Marriage'

  •  Warwick Graduate Conference in Political and Legal Theory, University of Warwick, 18th Feb 2017


'Re-framing the Marriage Debate' 

  •  Postgraduate Seminar, University of Leeds, 13th Oct 2017

'The Role of a Romantic Partner'

  •  Love etc. Workshop, University of Leeds, 7th-8th Sept 2017
  •  Postgraduate Seminar, University of Leeds, 24th March 2017

'Is Marriage Compatible With Political Liberalism?'

  • Centre for Ethics and Metaethics (CEM) Research Seminar, University of Leeds, 27th April 2016
  • Postgraduate Seminar, University of Leeds, 26th February 2016

'Loving Friendships and Friendly Love'

· Postgraduate Seminar, University of Leeds, 22nd May 2015

Teaching Experience


  • Moral Philosophy (upper level)
  • Political Philosophy (upper level)
  • War, Terror and Justice (upper level)

Lower Level Tutoring:

  • Introduction to Political Philosophy
  • I Think Therefore I Am: The Philosophy of Descartes 
  • How to Think Clearly and Argue Well
  • The Good, The Bad, The Right, The Wrong
  • Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion

Upper Level Tutoring:

  • Moral Philosophy
  • Political Philosophy 
  • War, Terror and Justice  
  • Revolution and Reaction (POLIS module)


Medical Ethics Project Tutor for Year 3 Medical Students:

  • 'Who Should Decide? Decisions Concerning Medical Treatment.' 
  • 'The Ethics of Social Egg Freezing 

Campus to Clinic Year 1 Medical Ethics Tutor 

Other Roles 

Minorities and Philosophy (MAP): I helped to set up the Leeds MAP chapter in Autumn 2014 and have served as the Treasurer/Secretary for 2014/15. We have run regular reading groups and workshops as well as organising a conference on Implicit Bias which was held at the IDEA CETL in October 2015. As part of my role I have secured internal funding for the regular events as well as both internal and external grants for the conference. 

Diversity Reading List ( I am an Assistant Project Manager, assisting with funding applications and promotion.

Students as Scholars / LEAP: I am a mentor for undergraduate students partaking in this programme which encourages them to engage with the active research happening at the university.