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Research in the Department of Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy at King’s is one of the largest and most distinctive in the country with particular strengths in the history of philosophy, philosophy of mind and psychology, philosophy of language and linguistics, metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of science, and moral and political philosophy. 

The Department was ranked 3rd in the UK, and 1st in London, for both quality and power according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) rankings: 80% of research was valued as being of a world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) standard and 63% of its research scored the top rating for impact with an outstanding reach and significance. 

More broadly, the Department's  research excellence is demonstrated and supported by our success in securing research grants and donations from both public and private bodies: in addition to several major multi-year grants from bodies such as the ESRC and AHRC, these donations include award of a £1.95 million grant in 2009 from the Wellcome Trust to establish the King’s Centre for Humanities and Health as well as a £1.4 million donation from the Sowerby Foundation to fund a Chair in Philosophy and Medicine in 2013.

Specific areas of research expertise include:

  1. The history of philosophy ‘without gaps’, from the pre-Socratics through to the present day, covering both the 'Analytic' and 'Continental' traditions, as well as Indian Philosophy. The innovative ‘History of Philosophy without any Gaps Podcasts’, the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle, and the Natural Philosophy in the Islamic World projects harness these strengths, and contribute in various ways to the dissemination and impact of our research.
  2. Philosophy of mind and psychology. We have broad expertise in this field, including in empirically-informed issues, and we have strong links with the Institute of Psychiatry and with the Department of Neuroscience at King's.
  3. Philosophy of language and linguistics, currently we have two major RCUK-funded three-year projects: Word Meaning, and The probabilistic representation of linguistic knowledge.
  4. Metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of science and medicine. Our expertise ranges from philosophy of physics to epistemic normativity, including a project in Philosophy and Medicine, recently boosted by the generous endowment for a Chair by the Peter Sowerby Foundation that will consolidate the impact of our work in this area.
  5. Moral and political philosophy. With expertise in a variety of issues such as free will, practical normativity, justice and immigration. The department will also be actively involved in the new King’s Centre for Politics, Philosophy and Law, established with a generous donation from the Yeoh Tiong Lay family.

Together with the School of Advanced Studies and UCL, King’s is part of the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP) which was recently awarded over £18m from the AHRC to fund around 400 postgraduate studentships over five annual cohorts, from October 2014. This collaboration will enhance the already thriving graduate community which is one of the most distinctive and outstanding features of the research culture of Philosophy at King’s.

Our major international research partnerships in philosophy are with UNC, Cornell and the Humboldt University but we also have strong links with other universities in Europe, the USA and East Asia, bringing collaborations involving staff and students through regular workshops, conferences and visits.
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