New philosophy videos from Clayton Littlejohn

As everyone is locked up, Clayton Littlejohn has been helpfully recording and gather talks on some recent work in philosophy. This talk is an informal presentation of a paper written with Julien Dutant on epistemic rationality and defeat. It presents a new unified theory of defeat according to which the toxicity of rationality defeaters has to do with the way in which they serve as indicators that we cannot know certain things. The paper engages with recent work on epistemic paradoxes, epistemic rationality, and recent work on defeat. 

If you are interested, there are more videos available here.

Some cancellations

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I regret to announce that the following upcoming events have been postponed until further notice:

Colloquium: Robin Durie on ‘Re-valuing Death’ 17th of March
Conference: Philosophy in Medical Education 6th to 8th of April

The GTA Party has also been postponed until a later date.

Teaching in the department shall be moved online from Monday the 23rd of March (though some modules may go online this week).

Prof. Maria Alvarez Podcast

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Prof. Maria Alvarez recently appeared on the podcast Aleks Listens, here. Over the course of the interview, she discusses being Head of Department, what it means to be an agent, and the importance of talking with people who have different views. 

If you are interested in hearing a thoughtful discussion of some important issues, give it a listen.

The interview begins about 10 minutes from the beginning or 1 hour 8 mins from the end (depending on the direction you are coming from).

BSHP Women in the History of Philosophy Conference

Registration for the 2020 annual British Society for the History of Philosophy conference, Women in the History of Philosophy, 23rd-25th April at Durham University, is now open.

The booking website is: https://www.dur.ac.uk/conference.booking/details/?id=1538

The conference will feature several philosophers from King’s, including Rosa Antognazza, Peter Adamson, Katharine O’Reilly, Branislav Kotoc, and Alan Coffee.

Registration is £90.00 for waged participants and £30.00 for students and unwaged participants.

When registering for the conference you will be able to book college accommodation (which is about a five-minute walk from the conference venue. You will also be able to book a place at the conference dinner on Thursday 23rd April. 

Please direct questions to  bshp.2020@durham.ac.uk

King’s Philosophy 8th in QS Rankings

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With the new QS Rankings released this week, the Philosophy Department at King’s has risen to 8th in the world and 4th in the UK while the Arts and Humanities Faculty as a whole has risen to 25th globally. The QS ranking evaluates universities upon 6 metrics: academic reputation (as determined by a survey), staff-student ratio, citation-levels, employer reputation, international faculty ratio, and international student ratios. It appears to be in academic reputation and citation-levels that the department has seen the greatest growth. 

Philosophy and Medicine Colloquium: Robin Durie, University of Exeter

The Philosophy and Medicine Colloquium will be meeting on the 17th of March to hear a talk by Dr Robin Durie, University of Exeter. Dr Durie is a member of the Lancet Commission on the Value of Death

17 March 2020 – 17:00-18:30 in the Large Committee Room, Hodgkin Building, Guy’s Campus

If you do not have a KCL ID, please register (free) at this Link.

The Lancet Commission on The Value of Death argues that contemporary society has developed an unhealthy relationship with death due in part to the over-medicalisation of death and dying. Amongst the signs of this unhealthy relationship are the ever increasing amounts of healthcare budgets that are spent on prolonging the lives of those who are dying, with seemingly little or no regard for the quality of the life being prolonged; the investment in the search for immortality amongst the very richest in society, at the same time as the poorest are denied access to even the most basic provision of palliative care; and the gradual shift of the experience of dying from communities and families to hospitals. The core problem of this Lancet Commission is one to which philosophy can make a unique contribution, not least because philosophy has, from its very inception in the work of Plato, understood itself as a “practice for death”. And yet, philosophers such as Spinoza have also argued that “philosophy thinks of death least of all things”. In the first part of this discussion, I will explore this tension in philosophy’s approach towards death; then, I will draw on some more contemporary thinkers, such as Georges Canguilhem, in order to develop a philosophical position from which it may be possible to begin valuing death anew.

‘The Celluliod Closet’ Film Screening (MAP)

 To celebrate LGBT+ History Month, KCL MAP will be hosting a free film screening of ‘The Celluloid Closet’. This is a documentary surveying the various Hollywood screen depictions of the LGBTQ community and the attitudes behind them throughout the history of North American film.

Time: 18:00-20:00, Thursday 27th Feburary

Location: (S)4.03, Bush House

All are welcome. If you are not a KCL student or staff member then you will need to register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lgbt-history-month-film-screening-the-celluloid-closet-tickets-96248974273

Industrial Action in the Philosophy Department

As announced last week, industrial action is set to take place for four weeks, as follows:

  • First Week (3 days)
    Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February
  • Second week (4 days)
    Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
  • Third week (5 days)
    Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March
  • Fourth week (2 days)
    Thursday 19 and Friday 20 March

Your lecturers and GTAs may have notified you of what will happen for their specific modules and seminars; if not, you are very welcome to ask them but please bear in mind that staff are not required to inform the College or students of their intention to strike. 

Where teaching is cancelled, we will ensure that it is possible to complete your summative assessment on topics for which teaching has taken place. Details of this will be shared with you soon.

For teaching not impacted by the industrial action, attendance will still be monitored as usual. The Student Attendance and Engagement Policy will continue to apply to all students. However, if you feel uncomfortable crossing a picket line to attend teaching, you should inform the department directly via email:philosophy@kcl.ac.uk.

We expect libraries, computer rooms and services such as student services and advice to be available throughout the industrial action. Should you wish to, you might find it helpful also to engage in one or more of the following:

·         Set up a study group for your class. More information on how to do it is attached.

·         Attend your lecturers/personal tutor office hours outside of strike times.

·         Book a space on one (or more) of the academic skills workshops listed here

·         Book a one-to-one session with a Study Skills Leader

Please see the FAQs for students for further information and if you have any specific queries not covered there, please send them to questions@kcl.ac.uk.

GTA applications call for 2020-2021

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Applications are now open for 2020-21 Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) positions across the Faculty of Arts & Humanities. If you are a graduate student in philosophy at a UK higher education institution (whether it is King’s or not), you can apply to contribute to the teaching at King’s. Instructions and forms below. The deadline is 9am on Monday 9th March 2020.

EXTERNAL APPLICANTS WHO ARE CURRENTLY ENROLLED AS POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH STUDENTS IN OTHER UNIVERSITIES, NOT KING’S COLLEGE LONDON

  • Please complete the attached GTA application form (remember to quote both module codes and titles in your application form; these can be found in the attached list of modules available)
  • Please send the completed documents listed below to your primary supervisor via email.
    • GTA application form,
    • Academic CV
    • Academic reference form
  • Please ask your primary supervisor (or a module convenor) to complete the academic reference form and send it via email to antonia.coote@kcl.ac.uk andchelo.rodriguez@kcl.ac.uk by 9am on Monday 9th March 2020  (please note that due to the high volume of applications, we are unable to chase your academic referee on your behalf, so you’ll need to ask them to send you confirmation that they have sent your reference on time).
  • Please send the completed documents listed below (all together in the same email) to antonia.coote@kcl.ac.uk and chelo.rodriguez@kcl.ac.uk by 9am on Monday 9th March 2020 :
    • Staff Registration form
    • Equality & Diversity form
    • Health Capability Form
    • GTA application form
    • Academic CV
  • You will also need to provide proof of eligibility to work in the UK. The list of suitable documents is in the GTA application form (If you have a visa, please note that we cannot accept visas in expired passports. You will need to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit. Non EEA nationals must also provide a confirmation of studies letter). Antonia Coote (antonia.coote@kcl.ac.uk) will get in touch with applicants about providing the proof of eligibility to work in the UK AFTER the closing date of 9am on Monday 9th March 2020

ATTACHMENTS:

Staff Registration Form
HealthCapabilityDeclaration
EqualityDiversityForm
2020-21 Modules-available-all-depts
2020-21 GTA-app-form
2020-21 Academic-Reference