Workshop: Explaining Cancer



The workshop ‘Explaining Cancer’ is happening next Tuesday (1st November) at London School of Economics, which among other excellent speakers features our very own Sowerby Professor Elselijn Kingma. Read more below or visit LSE’s event page here

Don’t forget to also register for the 2022 Annual Sowerby Lecture and the Interdisciplinary Workshop, both also happening next week, if you haven’t already!

Expert Workshop – Explaining Cancer

Anya Plutynski is the winner of the 2021 Lakatos Award for her book Explaining Cancer. Finding Order in Disorder (OUP 2018). To engage fully with the winner’s work, we organise an expert workshop on the day of the Award Lecture. The workshop features four talks by experts on the cancer research who engage with themes from Plutynski’s book.

Date and Place: 1 November 2022, Lakatos Building, Room LAK2.06

Organiser: Roman Frigg

13.30 – 13.50   Anya Plutynski (Washington University in St. Louis): Précis of Explaining Cancer

13.50 – 14.40   Samir Okasha (University of Bristol): Cancer, Causality and Evolution: some reflections on Anya Plutynski’s Understanding Cancer.

14.40 – 15.30    Lucie Laplane (Sorbonne Paris I): Where does Philosophy of Cancer stand?

15.30 – 16.00    Coffee Break

16.00 – 16.50    Elselijn Kingma (King’s College London): Cancer, screening, and the concepts of health and disease

16.50 – 17.40    Carl Cranor (UC Riverside): Varieties of Scientific Evidence for Policies”

2022 Sowerby Lecture – Prof Hanna Pickard (Johns Hopkins University) on the Puzzle of Addiction


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The 2022 Annual Sowerby Lecture will be given on Thursday the 3rd of November, 6pm by Professor Hanna Pickard (Johns Hopkins University) on the Puzzle of Addiction. The lecture will be on the 8th Floor of Bush House and will be followed by a drinks reception. Find out more and register here:

The Annual Lecture is preceded by a two-day workshop focusing on the Puzzle of Addiction and other aspects of Hanna Pickard’s work, with speakers including Richard Holton, Owen Flanagan, and Ellen Fridland. See the full schedule below, or find out more and register here:

Wednesday 2nd November: 

10:00 – 10:30  Coffee (Anatomy Museum, KCL Strand Building) 

10:30 – 10:40  Introduction and Welcomes 

10:40 – 11:40  Doug McConnell “The Role of Psychiatry in Patient Moral Development” 

11:40 – 11:50  Break 

11:50 – 12:50  Sanja Dembic “When does addiction exempt?” 

12:50 – 13:50  Lunch (Anatomy Museum, KCL Strand Building)

13:50 – 14:50  Sahanika Ratnayake “Normativity and Psychotherapy” 

14:50 – 15:20  Coffee Break (Anatomy Museum, KCL Strand Building) 

15:20 – 16:20  Adi Goldiner “The addiction outlier in disability antidiscrimination law” 

16:20 – 16:30  Break 

16:30 – 17:30  Owen Flanagan “HEAVY DRINKING” 

Drinks and workshop dinner. 

Thursday 3rd November: 

9:30 – 10:00  Coffee (Anatomy Museum, KCL Strand Building) 

10:00 – 11:00  David Krausz “Unconscious responsibility: On the gap between blame and responsibility in psychoanalysis and in Talmudic Law” 

11:00 – 11:20  Break

11:20 – 12:20  Ellen Fridland “A relational theory of emotion” 

12:20 – 13:20  Lunch (Anatomy Museum, KCL Strand Building) 

13:20 – 14:20  Derek Braverman “Choice or Disease: Addiction’s False Dichotomy”

14:20 – 14:30  Break 

14:30 – 15:30  Anke Snoek (TBC) 

15:30 – 16:00  Coffee Break (Anatomy Museum, KCL Strand Building) 

16:00 – 17:00  Richard Holton (TBC) 

18:00  – 19.30  Annual Peter Sowerby Lecture, Hanna Pickard (please register separately for the annual lecture: )

19:30-20:30 Drinks Reception (8th Floor, Bush House)

KCL MAP Panel on Diversity and Inclusion in Philosophy – Friday 28th October

On Friday 28th October from 4:30pm to 5:30pm in the Anatomy Museum, KCL Minorities and Philosophy is hosting a panel on Diversity and Inclusion in Academic Philosophy!

We will be joined by current members of the department Dr Jessica Leech, Dr James Stazicker, Dr Alexander Franklin and GTA Chiara Zucchelli, along with KCL Alumnus Naomi Snow and anti-racist activist Annabelle Woghiren. Dr Jessica Leech is the Arts and Humanities Diversity and Inclusion Representative, and Dr Alexander Franklin teaches the ‘Philosophy of Race’ Module, assisted by Chiara, who founded the Phi Magazine in 2018. Naomi was funded to write a research project on ‘decolonising the Philosophy curriculum’ whilst an undergraduate, and Annabelle has consulted with social enterprises and public institutions on race equality, along with maintaining an education and community platform of over 115,000 on social media.

We’ll be asking questions like, ‘why is diversity important to academic philosophy, other than equal opportunity?’ and ‘why does diversity among Philosophy students dip at graduate level?’

Register your interest here! We hope to see you there.

Meet, Muse, and Get your Portrait done!

Portraits from Series II of ‘A First Brush with Philosophy’

About this event

Is it right to save your friend over a stranger? If the bedrock of morality is impartiality and love is essential partial (and favouring) – is Love immoral? When you are dreaming are you also sleeping? What if you are lucidly dreaming – aware that you are in a dreamworld and communicating with a sleep scientist in the ‘real’ world – are you dreaming and awake? Solve the puzzles with an expert guide – book your seat today.

*Book your seat on Eventbrite today*

How to participate (and get your portrait painted):

(1) Choose one of two puzzles ‘Is Love Moral’ or ‘Awake or Dreaming?’

(2) Sit back and relax while we map you to your perfect expert and portrait artist.

(3) Come to Bush House, read a 5 minute primer and then meet your expert to unpack the puzzle for 15 minutes….while your artist captures your a-ha moment.

Find out more

Euphoria – Free tickets to a National Gallery after hours event.

Join us – Friday, 7 October 2022, 6.30 – 7.45 pm, Sainsbury Wing of The National Gallery

(booking essential)

What is ‘euphoria’ and, perhaps more intriguingly, what is it for? On one account it is a sense of perfect harmony, individuality, and purity, accompanied by a feeling of extreme wellbeing that connects us to the heavenly realm. On another, it’s an exquisite dissimulation of the self.

But what does this really mean and how might the paintings in the National Gallery help us understand it and its relevance to our lives today? And how are artists representing euphoria in contemporary work? 

Philosopher, journalist and the author of over 20 books Julian Baggini is joined by Joachim Aufderheide, Reader in Philosophy, King’s College London; Vanessa Brassey, co-director of the Centre for Philosophy and Art; Siobhán Jolley, the Ahmanson Fellow in Religion and Art at the National Gallery; and artist Sikelela Owen to debate these questions.

Book your FREE Tickets here

‘The United States of Euphoria’ a primer for the series on Art & Emotion at The National Gallery

Information on previous events and films is here


Joachim Aufderheide is a Reader in the Philosophy Department at King’s College London. He specialises in ancient Greek philosophy, but has a serious side-interest in Buddhist philosophy. Two questions in particular have held his attention: What role does pleasure play in a good life? And what contribution does contemplation make to a life lived well? He has published on Plato’s and Aristotle’s answers to these questions, but also enjoys tracing them through the history of philosophy. 

Dr Julian Baggini is the author, co-author or editor of over 20 books including ‘The Godless Gospel’, ‘How The World Thinks’, ‘The Virtues of the Table’ and ‘The Ego Trick’ (all Granta), ‘The Edge of Reason’ (Yale University Press) and, most recently, ‘The Great Guide: What David Hume Can Teach Us about Being Human and Living Well’ (Princeton University Press). He has been Academic Director of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent.

Vanessa Brassey is co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Art at Kings College London. The Centre is a major multi-disciplinary initiative whose aim is to bring together academics, artists, curators and gallerists to explore the connections between philosophy, theory and the visual arts. As well as an academic philosopher, she is a figurative painter whose work explores emotion and perception. 

Siobhán Jolley is the Ahmanson Fellow in Religion and Art at the National Gallery. She completed her PhD at the University of Manchester in 2021. Her broad research interests include the work of female artists, the reception of biblical women and the New Testament, and feminist approaches. She has taught at the University of Manchester, Liverpool Hope University and Cliff College in Religions and Theology and Art History and Cultural Practices. 

Sikelela Owen is an artist who lives and works in London. Her work is made up predominately of loose figure paintings, drawings, and prints of friends, family, and people of interest. She holds a PG Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools and her work was featured in the 2015 Thames and Hudson publication ‘100 Painters of Tomorrow’. Owen has exhibited nationally and internationally, was an Abbey Fellow at the British School at Rome in 2019 and she has worked with the charity Hospital Rooms.

Information on previous events and films is here

A Celebrity Brush with Philosophy …and a chance to get your a-ha moment captured in paint

Actor Lloyd Owen (Elendil in the The Rings of Power, now streaming on Amazon Prime) and author Andy West will be testing their philosophical intuitions with Maria Alvarez and Adrian Alsmith … and you are invited to watch, listen, and capture their a-ha moments (with a free drawing lesson from celebrated portrait artist Robin Lee Hall).

Ticket are free (but limited) and include a starter drawing materials pack. Open to all students.
Book your tickets here

About ‘A Celebrity Brush with Philosophy’

Join us to have a go at capturing a portrait of our famous sitters in conversation – suitable for the total novice (and the expert) in both portraits and philosophy.

Our celebs will be puzzling over whether love is moral, and how we can know whether we’re awake or dreaming in our inaugural ” A First Celebrity Brush with Philosophy“. We are delighted to welcome Lloyd Owen (starring in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, now streaming on Amazon Prime) in discussion with Professor Maria Alvarez to unpick some puzzles about love, the slip between sleep and wakefulness, and his interest in philosophy while Robin Lee Hall (Royal Society of Portrait Artists) helps you capture his a-ha moment. We are also delighted to welcome Andy West (break-out author of The Life Inside) talking about the his experience teaching philosophy in prisons, the links between love and morality, and why we’re not in the Matrix after all, in discussion with Dr Adrian Alsmith while Robin continues to guide us to draw out their thoughts….
30 places available.
Bring your drawing materials (paper, pencils and/or charcoal)

More about our Celebrities
Andy West is the author of The life Inside: A Memoir of Prison, Family and Philosophy (Picador 2022). His writing has been published in The Guardian, Aeon, 3AM Magazine, Huck and Litro He is philosopher in residence at HMP Brixton in London.

Lloyd Owen is an actor, pond swimmer, intermittent cyclist and sometimes get paid for shouting in the evenings. He is currently starring as Elendil in the The Rings of Power, now streaming on Amazon Prime.
This event is a collaboration between Philosophy at King’s College London, The Centre for Philosophy and Arts (based at King’s College London), and Culture @ King’s College London.
With thanks for the generous support offered by Lloyd Owen and Andy West.

Want your portrait done while you unpick a philosophy puzzle? Click here to book for A First Brush with Philosophy

Recordings of Mark Sainsbury Fest Lectures Now Available

King’s College London’s Department of Philosophy is very pleased to announce that recordings from the Mark Sainsbury Fest of the Annual Lecture by Dorothy Edgington (‘Two Kinds of Indeterminacy’) and of Mark’s Lecture (‘Boundarylessness’) are now available at the event webpage (, as well as below:

You can also see photos of the event by photographer Victoria Goodman in this previous post!

“What is behind a successful academic hoax?” by Costica Bradatan in the Agora series edited by KCL’s @aj_wendland in The New Statesman

Check out the latest from the Agora“What is behind a successful academic hoax?” by Costica Bradatan!

The competitive nature of academia produces a tendency to group-think, which hoaxers exploit – Costica Bradatan [Illustration by Sergio Ingravalle/Ikon Images]

Costica Bradatan is Professor of Humanities at Texas Tech University. He is the author of In Praise of Failure: Four Lessons in Humility.

This article is part of the Agora series, a collaboration between the New Statesman and Aaron James Wendland. Wendland is Vision Fellow in Public Philosophy at King’s College, London and a Senior Research Fellow at Massey College, Toronto. He tweets @aj_wendland.

“Does the rise of the metaverse mean the decline of cities?” by Max Hayward in the Agora series edited by KCL’s @aj_wendland in The New Statesman

Check out the latest from the Agora“Does the rise of the metaverse mean the decline of cities?” by Max Hayward.

Neighbourhoods depend on people looking out for each other, but the growth of virtual worlds threatens to undermine public oversight of real spaces – Max K. Hayward [Illustration by Hiroshi Watanabe/ Getty Images]

Max Khan Hayward is a lecturer in ethics and political philosophy at the University of Sheffield.

This article is part of the Agora series, a collaboration between the New Statesman and Aaron James Wendland. Wendland is Vision Fellow in Public Philosophy at King’s College, London and a Senior Research Fellow at Massey College, Toronto. He tweets @aj_wendland.

“Can Comedy Defeat Dictators?” -Vision Fellow in Public Philosophy, @aj_wendland, reporting from Kyiv for the Toronto Star

Read the latest piece of public philosophy from Aaron Wendland (@aj_wendland), reporting on civilian life for the Canadian and International press!:

“Jokes from the bomb shelter: Ukrainian comedians show power of humour amid wartime horror”

Aaron James Wendland is Vision Fellow in Public Philosophy at King’s College London and a Senior Research Fellow at Massey College in the University of Toronto. He is the editor of the New Statesman’s philosophy series, Agora, and he tweets @aj_wendland.