Prof Maria Rosa Antognazza at the Aristotelian Society

A Public Lecture by Prof. Maria Rosa Antognazza | King's Philosophy

Prof Maria Rosa Antognazza will be presenting a paper this evening at the Aristotelian Society on The Distinction of Kind between Knowledge and Belief. The presentation, which will be hosted on Zoom, will be available later as a podcast. Both a draft of the paper and a link to the podcast are available here.

The Distinction of Kind between Knowledge and Belief. 


Drawing inspiration from a well-attested historical tradition, I propose an account of cognition according to which knowledge is not only conceptually and ontologically prior to belief; it is also, and crucially, not a kind of belief. In turn, believing is not some sort of botched knowing but a mental state fundamentally different from knowing, with its own distinctive and complementary role in our cognitive life. I conclude that the main battle-line in the history of epistemology is drawn between the affirmation of a natural mental state in which there is a contact between ‘mind’ and ‘reality’ (whatever the ontological nature of this ‘reality’), and the rejection of such a natural mental state. For the former position, there is a mental state which is different in kind from belief, and which is constituted by the presence of the object of cognition to the cognitive subject, with no gap between them. For the latter position, all our cognition is belief, and the question becomes how and when belief is permissible.

A Layperson’s Guide to Epidemiological Modelling – Prof Alexander Bird

Epidemiological models have been frequently mentioned in the media lately. What are they? And how do they work? Professor Alexander Bird with the Sowerby/King’s Philosophy & Medicine project has helpfully produced this introduction to epidemiological modelling for the layperson.

The particular model he will be looking at is the SIR model developed by Kermack and McKendrick in 1927.

Here’s a link to the project. Professor Bird has also produced a paper to accompany the video which is available here.

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:

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

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: