New appointments

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We are pleased to announce that the Department of Philosophy has made five new permanent appointments this year.

Ellen Fridland works in empirically informed philosophy of mind with particular interest in issues related to skill (e.g., skill in cognitive development, the role of skill-based considerations in moral cognition, and the role skill plays in the intellectualism/anti-intellectualism debate.) You can learn more about her research here.

Jessica Leech works on contemporary and historical issues in the metaphysics of modality. She has written on the notion of essence and relationships between different kinds of necessity. She is also currently working on a monograph on Kant’s views on modality and their implications for contemporary debates. You can learn more about her research here and here.

Matthew Parrott works in the philosophy of mind/psychology and epistemology, particularly on issues having to do with knowledge of minds (our own and the minds of others) and belief formation (including work on the nature of delusion.) You can learn more about his research here.

Jo Wolff works on metaphysical questions that arise in connection with the foundations of physics. She has written on structural realism, laws of nature, and is currently working on a project regarding the metaphysical nature of quantities. You can learn more about her research here.

Matthew Soteriou works on the philosophy of mind with particular interests in the philosophy of perception, temporal phenomenology, the philosophy of action and mental action, consciousness and the ontology of mind. He has also done work in the epistemology of mental action and its relevance to our understanding of the epistemology of mind in general. You can learn more about his research here.

We’re excited that these new hires will increase the department’s strengths in epistemology, the history of philosophy (esp. Kant), metaphysics, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and psychology, and the philosophy of action.

Short-term Research Fellowship in Formal Epistemology

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The Philosophy Department at King’s College London is offering a short-term Fellowship to join a research project on The Nature of Evidence and the Ethics of Uncertainty led by Julien Dutant. The project develops an externalist account of evidential support and explores its normative implications. Details on the project are in the job pack.

The position is targeted at the post-doctoral level but we will consider advanced doctoral on track to complete their degree by Aug. 2017. The fellow will have a specialization or strong interests in one of the areas relevant to the project: formal epistemology, epistemic logic, confirmation theory, belief revision theory, theories of rationality.

The Fellowship is for a duration of 3 months, or 6 months part-time, starting this September 2016. The salary is £5000 for the whole period plus London allowance (around £180 per full-time month). The fellow will assist in the preparation of a major grant proposal through regular meetings and background literature reviews. They will also receive supervision for their own research and support in job market applications. They need to have a UK residence address during the duration of the fellowship and will have to attend at least some of the meetings in person. We cannot guarantee that office space will be provided but we are currently trying to secure it.

The fellow is expected to be named post-doctoral researcher on the proposal, which, if successful, would secure them a research-only post-doctoral position for several years. While such grant applications have fairly low acceptance rates the track record of the Principal Investigator, department and faculty support reasonable optimism about its chances of success.

See this job pack for details on the research project and the position. If you are considering applying it is a good idea to get in touch with the Principal Investigator, Julien Dutant.

The deadline for applications is June 12th. Apply through the official offer page:  https://www.hirewire.co.uk/HE/1061247/MS_JobDetails.aspx?JobId=70386 . Note that even though the offer is part of a 15-position call, one of the positions is reserved for the present project. The successful candidate will be selected by a Faculty panel in light of the advice given by the project’s Principal Investigator.

The 2016 Edgington Lectures: Kit Fine

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King’s student, Samuel Kimpton-Nye, will present his work on the laws of nature and counterlegals at a graduate workshop led by Professor Kit Fine. The workshop  accompanies the 3rd biennial Edgingtion Lectures, and will take place on June 3rd and 4th at the Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, London.

More information can be found here

Philosophy and the Visual Arts Salon: Sacha Golob in conversation with artist Alinah Azadeh

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Dr Sacha Golob  will host a conversation with the artist Alinah Azadeh on her work on debt, narrative and objects. The event will take place in Fernandez and Wells, Somerset House  at 6pm Wed 25th of May. More information can be found here.

Consumerism and Luxury – a panel discussion

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Sacha Golob  and art historian Terence Rodrigues will discuss themes of opulence, consumption and deprivation. The event will take place in the  Somerset House Screening Room at 7pm, Monday the 9th of May.

Tickets and further information can be found here.

Admission is free but tickets must be booked in advance.

The event is part of the Coalstore project.

 

Sainsbury Lecture / 19th May / Timothy Williamson

6pm, 19th May 2016

Safra Lecture Theatre, Strand Building, King’s College London

Timothy Williamson (Wykeham Professor of Logic, University of Oxford) will give this year’s Sainsbury Lecture, entitled ‘How to choose between alternative logics‘. The abstract is below, and all are welcome.

Paradoxes  of  vagueness,  truth,  and  sets  have  motivated  many  proposals  to  weaken  
classical  logic.  I  will  argue  that  choosing  between  logics  is  much  more  similar  to  
choosing  between  scientific  theories  than  philosophers  and  logicians  tend  to  think,  
and  that  the  analogy  tells  against  such  weakenings.

Workshop: Questions and Enquiry

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The international workshop Questions and Enquiry took place on the 5th of April at King’s College London. The workshop, generously funded by the department of Philosophy at King’s College London, and organized by Giulia Felappi, aimed to bring together philosophers and linguists working on the role of questions in enquiry.

Maria Aloni (ILLC & Department of Philosophy, Amsterdam) gave a talk on identity questions, concealed questions and specificational subjects. Maria focused on a recent debate concerning whether sentences like “The number of planets is 8” can be taken as question/answer pairs, and what this can tell us about ontological commitment to numbers.

Manfred Krifka (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin & ZAS Berlin) focused on constituent, alternative, and yes/no questions. He discussed the role of questions in dialogue and suggested taking ‘asking questions’ as forms of ‘common ground management’ on the side of the speakers.

Mike Beaney  (KCL & Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) talked about R.G. Collingwood’s logic of questions and answers. Mike discussed Collingwood’s views on the role of questions in philosophical and non-philosophical enquiry. He also showed how Collingwood’s work relates to that of Cook Wilson, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Guido de Ruggiero.

Finally, in his talk, Bob Fiengo  (CUNY) argued that questions show, firstly, some crucial differences between knowledge and belief and, secondly, that even some basic forms of knowledge are much more multifarious than we presume.

For those who missed the event, part of the material Maria presented can be found on her website, while Manfred’s latest publication on the topic can be found here. Mike’s latest publication on Collingwood can be found in the new edition of Collingwood’s autobiography. Bob discusses some of the ideas he presented at the workshop in a couple of forthcoming papers: ‘Austin’s Cube’, in Moltmann, & Textor, Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content, OUP, and ‘On the Representation of Form and Function’, in Tsohatzidis, Interpreting J. L. Austin, CUP.

 

Congratulations to Thomas Byrne

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Thomas Byrne, one of the department’s graduate students, has a forthcoming paper in Philosophical Studies. The abstract is below and you can read the paper here.

‘G.E. Moore said that rightness was obviously a matter of maximising plain goodness. Peter Geach and Judith Thomson disagree. They have both argued that ‘good’ is not a predicative adjective, but only ever an attributive adjective: just like ‘big.’ And just as there is no such thing as plain bigness but only ever big for or as a so-and-so, there is also no such thing as plain goodness. They conclude that Moore’s goodness is thus a nonsense. However attention has been drawn to a weakness in their arguments. Mahrad Almotahari and Adam Hosein have sought to plug that weakness. If their plug holds, then there is no goodness. Doing most of their work is the following premise: adjective φ is predicative only if it can be used predicatively in ‘x is a φ K’ otherwise it is attributive. In this paper I argue that this premise is false, that their plug does not hold and that if one is to reject plain goodness it will have to be for other reasons.’