UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities


10 Questions With...Tim Button

24 October 2022

Tim Button, the Philosophy Head of Department talks about his background, professional career to date and interests outside work.

Tim Button

1. Hello! Tell us a little bit about yourself, and what you do at UCL.

I'm the HoD in Philosophy. I joined UCL in 2019. Most of my research sits in the area where philosophy meets logic, mathematics and computer science.

2. What are you most looking forward to working on over the coming months?

On the HoD side: my colleagues in Computer Science and I are trying to set up some joint honours degrees. Whilst they won't launch for a few years, it's genuinely exciting. 

On the research side: I'm thinking about theories which involve creating objects in a step-by-step fashion, based on what you made earlier. Theories like this are simple to explain and astonishingly powerful. I think I can to show that almost all such theories are equivalent: that the differences between them are not much deeper than rescaling the y-axis on a graph. 

3. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I don't know. I'm glad I don't have to know! 

4. What are your main interests outside work?

I love: walking my dog with my husband; cooking for and eating with friends;  weightlifting. 

5. If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?


6. If you could develop a new skill - and reach an advanced level within a week - what would it be?


7. Who or what inspires you most?

Dogs. They have so much to teach us. 

8. What’s your favourite city, and why? 

London, for reasons too obvious to explain. 

9. How was lockdown(s) for you and what did you learn from it?

Lockdown feels like a time outside of time. I learned that valuable social interactions consist more in being with others, than in exchanging information. I learned to delight in my dog's unalloyed joy about the simplest of things. I learned how to make nice coffee. 

10. Tell us a joke!

In this economy, jokes tell us.