Funded by the Peter Sowerby Foundation and led by Professor Elselijn Kingma, Philosophy & Medicine is a joint venture between the Department of Philosophy, the King's Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine and the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery.
‘Medics and philosophers confront many of the same great issues – life and death, body and mind, knowledge and judgement – but too rarely engage with each other,’ said David Aspinall, Chair of the Trustees of the Peter Sowerby Foundation. ‘Since his training at King’s and Guy’s, Dr Peter Sowerby has wanted to see practitioners better equipped to engage with such vital issues in the course of delivering patient care.’
The purpose of the Philosophy & Medicine project is therefore to bring the study of philosophy into the education of medical professionals. It aims also to promote collaboration between philosophy and medicine in research and in public understanding though workshops and public lectures.
Thinking with Assent: Renewing a Traditional Account of Knowledge and Belief
Supported by the Mind Senior Research Fellowship for 2019-2020, Professor Maria Rosa Antognazza proposes an account of cognition according to which knowledge and belief are irreducibly distinct kinds of ‘thinking with assent’, which simply cannot be analysed or characterized in terms of one another.
The project will look to:
- Rediscover an historically well-attested account of cognition significantly different from twentieth-century mainstream views;
- Employ a version of this rediscovered tradition in a fresh restatement of the relationship between knowledge and belief; and
- Apply this reconceived relationship to religious belief in particular.
The project's central aim is to outline an original account by reframing the contemporary debate in the light of insights from the history of epistemology, and the resulting monograph is currently under contract with Oxford University Press.
A successful and long-running podcast series, The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps was launched in 2010 and has released weekly episodes ever since.
The podcast’s producer is Peter Adamson, who was at King's College London when the series first launched and who retains a close connection to the King’s Philosophy Department – though his main position is now with the Ludwig Maximilians Univeristät in Munich.
Over four hundred episodes of the podcast have been recorded so far and it has covered philosophy in ancient Greece, the Islamic world, Latin/Byzantine medieval philosophy, and Indian and Africana philosophy (the latter with co-authors Jonardon Ganeri and Chike Jeffers).
Downloaded more than 22 million times, it also includes interviews with several members of King's College London Philosophy Department staff and many other philosophers from around the world.
Theorizing about the world requires a theory of propositions, properties, and relations (PPRs). Propositions are the entities to which the properties of being true, believed, desired, known apply. Natural properties and relations are the features of physical entities studied by natural science. Social properties and relations shape human interactions. The development of a satisfactory theory of PPRs lies at the foundation of scientific and philosophical enquiry.
However, theories of propositions, properties, and relations are constrained by logical paradoxes: intuitive principles such as "To every predicate in language, there corresponds a property" are in fact inconsistent with the standard laws of logic. This is why a solid formal foundation for theories of PPRs is required. The project aims to provide a new formal and philosophical foundation to theories of propositions, properties, relations.
Dr Carlo Nicolai's project will analyse in detail extant theories of PPRs and develop the logic and philosophy of the type-free approach, a promising but underdeveloped approach to PPRs and their paradoxes.
Philosophy research at King’s is based around five clusters. The clusters are designed to challenge the standard taxonomies of the discipline and to take advantage of the unique strengths of the Department. Each organises regular events, from seminars to masterclasses, and all members of staff and research students are affiliated with at least one of cluster. Clusters and current cluster leaders are as follows:
- Formal Methods – Dr Julien Dutant
- Moral, Legal and Political Philosophy – Dr Sarah Fine
- Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics and Psychology – Dr Mirko Farina
- History of Philosophy – Dr John Callanan
- Rationality – Dr Clayton Littlejohn
The Ancient Commentators on Aristotle project has, since 1987, published over 100 volumes translating commentaries on Aristotle and related ancient philosophical texts. The project has been described as ‘a scholarly marvel’ (The Times), ‘a truly breathtaking achievement’ (TLS), and ‘one of the great scholarly achievements of our time’ (BJHP).
It has received funding from a variety of sources over the years, most recently from The Leventis Foundation and The British Academy.
The project is led by the Founding Editor Professor Sir Richard Sorabji, Emeritus Professor at King’s, along with Co-Editor Professor Michael Griffin (UBC, Canada), and Associate Editors Professor Peter Adamson (LMU, Munich/KCL), Professor Richard McKirahan (Pomona College, California), and Dr John Sellars (RHUL).
It recently published two explanatory volumes: Aristotle Transformed, 2nd edn, and Aristotle Re-Interpreted (both 2016).
Word-Meaning - What it is and what it is not
Funded from 2011-2014 by an AHRC Major Grant (£313,827) and led by Professor Mark Textor, the central question of this project was how one should conceive of word meaning.
Take a word like ‘cut’ or ‘green’. Do they express the same meaning in different utterances? If so, how can knowledge of this meaning guide and determine correct use? What kind of thing is such a context-invariant meaning? If the same word expresses different meanings, is the word ambiguous? The project clarified conceptions of occasion-specific meaning.
An important part of the project was the international conference ‘The Nature of Word-Meaning’ in April 2014 and a selection of papers given at the conference was published as Word-meaning: What it is and what it is not. Special volume of Dialectica 71 (2017).
[Project Co-PI: Robyn Carston (UCL, Linguistics); Project PostDoc: Timothy Pritchard]