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UOA 60 - Philosophy

King's College London

RA5a: Research environment and esteem



King’s College London

Department of Philosophy


RA5a Research Environment and Esteem




A.1 Introduction


The Department of Philosophy contains a large and energetic research community, with 24 academic staff (including one Category C emeritus professor) and 63 current research students.  The Department plays a full part in the wider University of London philosophy research community, especially as embodied in the Institute of Philosophy.  During the assessment period the Department has been very successful in attracting funds to support a wide range of research projects.  


A.2 Research Structure


A.2.1 Regular Discussion Forums


Departmental Seminar


Our intellectual centre is the weekly Departmental Seminar.  This is an ‘in-house’ occasion.  Each week a member of staff presents a paper on his or her current research.  All academic members of staff attend.  The seminar plays an invaluable role in integrating our research.


Other Research Seminars


A large number of other regular weekly research seminars are held within the Department.  Many of them are listed below under Research Groups (A.2.2).  But special mention should be made of the ‘Seriously Senior Seminar’ which covers all areas of philosophy, normally working through some recent book each semester.  This has been meeting on Wednesday evenings for over thirty years and is attended by a number of scholars from other London colleges.


There are three weekly in-house seminars specifically for our research students (see A.5.6). 


In addition, members of staff regularly put on research seminars on topics of current interest.  Over the last two years these have covered:  personal identity, Wittgenstein, perceptual experience, Peacocke’s rationalism, fiction and pretence, Wiggins on morality, poverty of the stimulus arguments, intensional theories of meaning, Frege and Husserl, disjunctivism, necessity and the a priori, plural logic and vagueness, 'actually' and actuality, seeing an individual, and fiction and fictionalism.


Reading Groups


The research students in the Department regularly organize weekly reading groups which are also attended by interested staff members.  Last academic year there were groups on Early Modern Philosophy, Ethics, Metaphysics, Mind, Wittgenstein, Kant, and Adjectives, with average attendances of about ten people.  This year the first five of these groups are running again plus another on Names.

Centre for Philosophical Studies


The King’s College Centre for Philosophical Studies hosts a programme of visiting speakers.  This Centre was founded in the 1990s with the support of the Baring Foundation and later of Shell (UK).  This backing is no longer recurrent, but funds remain to bring three or four speakers each term to King’s.  Speakers during the assessment period have included Andy Clark, John Haldane,, Adrian Moore, Peter Simons, John Marenbon, Dermot Moran, Jeremy Butterfield, John Tasioulas, Rachel Barney and Ross Harrison. 


Institute of Philosophy


At the beginning of 2005-6 an Institute of Philosophy was established within the University of London’s School of Advanced Studies.  This grew out of a ‘Philosophy Programme’ which had been supported, financially and otherwise, by the philosophy departments within the University of London.  The Programme and the Institute have become known for their series of one-day conferences, about a dozen of which are held each year.  King’s philosophers have played a full part in organizing and speaking at these occasions and in other Programme and Institute activities. 


A.2.2 Research Groups


The Department researches in most areas of English-speaking philosophy.  RA2 offers a representative sample of our published work.  We have particular strengths in the following five areas.


(1) History of Philosophy


We believe we are unrivalled in the UK in our ability to cover the history of philosophy continuously from the Pre-Socratics to the twentieth century.  We have expertise not only in major thinkers like Plato, Kant, and Wittgenstein, but also in the Pre-Socratics, Hellenistic Philosophy, Late Antique Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, and all periods of Modern Philosophy. 


 (a) Ancient Philosophy


Adamson, McCabe, Sheffield, Sorabji and Woolf have all published widely in Ancient Philosophy.  James Wilberding and Andrew Mason also worked in the Department during the assessment period, funded by Adamson’s and McCabe’s Leverhulme grants.   


The Ancient group runs a weekly Greek Reading Seminar.  In the summer term this seminar invites outside speakers to give close readings of familiar texts (‘Old Chestnuts in Ancient Philosophy’):   recent contributors have included Myles Burnyeat, Dominic Scott, Malcolm Schofield and Bob Heinaman. 


The King’s ancient philosophers help to co-ordinate the annual seminar series in Ancient Philosophy at the Institute of Classical Studies.  McCabe and Verity Harte (then at King’s), with Ursula Coope (Birkbeck), organized a widely-attended seminar series in 2004 on Aristotle's reading of Plato.  Essays based on these seminars are due to be published by the Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies in 2008.


McCabe and Harte (who left in 2006 for a post at Yale and is now an Honorary Visiting Professor at King’s) have instituted a week-long seminar each summer term to successively examine the books of Plato’s Republic.  The series will alternate between King’s and Yale until it reaches book 10 in 2016, and will culminate in a monograph on the Republic by Harte and McCabe.  The series is partly funded by Yale University.


Since 2003 Harte has been co-editor of Phronesis.  She completed Plato on Parts and Wholes: the Metaphysics of Structure OUP 2002 while in the Department.  


Since 2003 McCabe has been editing Cambridge Studies in the Dialogues of Plato, a series of specially commissioned monographs.  Three volumes have appeared; four are under contract (including Euthydemus by McCabe) and at least 8 more (including Charmides by Woolf,  Philebus by Harte and Phaedrus by Sheffield and Dominic Scott) are under advanced negotiation. 


In 2004 Sorabji co-organized a week-long conference at the Institute of Classical Studies, the proceedings of which will be published as Greek and Roman Philosophy, 100 BC - 200 AD, ed Sorabji and Sharples, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies.  In 2005 he organized two further conferences at the Institute of Classical Studies, on the archaeological discovery of an inscription written by Alexander of Aphrodisias and on the excavation of the 6th Century Alexandrian philosophy school.


Sheffield co-organized a conference on Plato’s Symposium in Washington DC in 2005 and a conference on New Directions in Ancient Philosophy in Cambridge in the same year.  She was a co-editor of Plato's Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception Harvard University Press, 2006.


(b) Neo-Platonic, Arabic and Medieval Philosophy


Sorabji and Adamson extend our Ancient expertise into Neo-Platonism and Arabic Philosophy.


The Department houses the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle Project.  This project (cf. A.3) was originated by Sorabji who still manages it in conjunction with McCabe and Adamson.  It aims to translate into English the ancient Greek commentaries on Aristotle.  Since its inception it has published 72 translations and a further 33 are planned.  Sorabji’s three-volume sourcebook The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD Cornell 2005 was written to introduce this project to a wider public.


Adamson, with Han Baltussen and Martin Stone, both then employed at King’s, organized a conference in honour of Sorabji in June 2002:  Philosophy, Science and Exegesis in Greek, Arabic and Latin Commentaries.  The 2-volume proceedings were published by the Institute of Classical Studies. 


Adamson works primarily on Arabic philosophy.  He has initiated a programme of conferences in London every other year.  The first was Classical Arabic Philosophy: Sources and Reception, held in June 2004.  This resulted in a volume of proceedings published in the series ‘Warburg Institute Colloquia’ in 2007.  The second was In the Age of al-Farabi: Arabic Thought in the 10th Century, held in June 2006.  In February 2008 a third conference will be held on In the Age of Averroes: Arabic Thought at the End of the Classical Period.  These gatherings are the largest ever in the UK devoted to the history of philosophy in the Islamic world.


Adamson is also the co-organizer of an Arabic language philosophy reading group at the Warburg Institute that attracts participants from Exeter, Cambridge and Oxford.  He co-edited the Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. CUP 2005.


Hughes publishes regularly on topics in Medieval Philosophy, and Pink on Renaissance Philosophy.  Adamson, Milton, and Reid all have strong interests in these areas.


Each summer term a Medieval Philosophy Reading Seminar meets in King’s and is attended by a number of scholars from outside the Department including John Marenbon of Cambridge and Martin Stone of Leuven.


We also offer expertise in Indian Philosophy:  the Matilal bequest to King’s College London funds 20 lectures each year; the current lecturer is Dr Will Rasmussen.


(c)  Modern Philosophy and Analytic Philosophy


We have a number of people who publish on seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophy:  Reid, Milton, Pink, Sangiovanni, Sainsbury and until recently Savile.  In addition, we have close links with Maria Rosa Antognazza who is a Leibniz and Early Modern specialist in the King’s Theology Department.  This year we greatly strengthened our expertise in Modern Philosophy with the appointment of Callanan who specializes in Kant and post-Kantianism.  


Milton is an active member of the Board of the Clarendon Edition of the Works of Locke which to date has produced 15 volumes, including his own edition (co-edited with his brother) of An Essay Concerning Toleration, and other Writings on Law and Politics 1667-1683


Savile published Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason: An Orientation to the Central Theme Blackwell in 2005


Pink, together with Martin Stone (then at King’s) and Jo Wolff (UCL), founded the London Group in the History of Philosophy.  This organizes and publishes series of lectures on themed topics in the history of philosophy.  During the assessment period this resulted in The Will and Human Action (ed. Pink and Stone) Routledge 2003.


Members of the Department have published widely on topics in the history of analytic philosophy, including Textor (Frege, Brentano), Sainsbury (Frege, Russell), Travis (Frege, Wittgenstein, Austin), Hopkins (Wittgenstein).


In 2006 Textor edited a volume in the Routledge London History of Philosophy series entitled The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy.  He also organized a workshop on Frege in Bern this year.


 (2) Philosophy of Psychology and Mind


Segal, Samuels, Hopkins, Mameli and Papineau all specialize in Philosophy of Psychology, and Lappin, Kempson and Meyer-Viol have strong interests in the area.  This group also collaborates closely on the philosophy of mental disorder with philosophers in the King’s Centre for Medical Law and Ethics (especially Jonathan Glover) and the King’s Institute of Psychiatry (especially Derek Bolton).


Papineau, with the assistance of AHRB-funded research fellows Dylan Evans and Pierre Cruse (cf. A.3), organized a large interdisciplinary conference in 2002 on Emotion, Evolution and Rationality in 2002.  Speakers included Antonio Damasio, Stephen Stich, Paul Griffiths and Jesse Prinz.  The proceedings were published by OUP.  In association with this project, Peter Goldie edited Understanding Emotions: Mind and Morals Ashgate 2002 and published On Personality Routledge 2004.


Mameli organized a conference on Ways of Darwinizing Culture at the Institute of Philosophy in 2005.


Samuels has co-edited the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Cognitive Science with Stephen Stich and Eric Margolis. 


All the above members of the Department work and publish in Philosophy of Mind generally, as do Travis and Pink.


In 2006 McCabe and Textor organized a conference on Perspectives on Perception to mark the eightieth birthday of Alan Lacey, former Lecturer in King’s.  A volume of proceedings edited by McCabe and Textor was published by Ontos Verlag in 2007, in the series Philosophische Forschung of which Textor is one of the general editors.


(3) Philosophy of Language and Logic, Linguistics


Sainsbury, Segal, Textor, Travis and Gabbay all work on Philosophy of Language and Logic.


In addition to his outputs listed in RA2, Textor published Ueber Sinn und Bedeutung von Eigennamen with Mentis-Verlag in 2005.


Our research in Philosophy of Language and Logic is complemented by the Department’s expertise in Formal and Computational Linguistics, which was boosted during the assessment period when Lappin transferred from King’s Department of Computer Science to join Kempson and Meyer-Viol.


From 2003-2006 Kempson was co-investigator in an AHRB-funded project on A Dynamic Typology of Pronouns and Clitics in Bantu and Romance (cf. A.3).


Since 2005 King’s has housed the Leverhulme-funded Dialogues Matters Research Network under the leadership of Kempson (cf. A.3).  In 2006-2007 this hosted two meetings at King’s:  Formal and Functional Explanations of Language Change and Evolution, the proceedings of which have now been submitted for publication to Cambridge University Press, and Clarification and Incrementality Issues in Dialogue Modelling.  Two further meetings are planned for 2008 (one to be held in conjunction with SEMDIAL, a European Dialogue research workshop series).


Lappin co-ran a course on The Poverty of the Stimulus, Machine Learning and Language Acquisition at the Linguistic Society of America Summer School in 2007 and co-organized a workshop on Dymanic Semantics for the Linguistics Association of Great Britain Annual Conference in 2007.  He is the co-editor of the forthcoming Handbook of Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing, Blackwell.


(4)  Ethics, Politics and Aesthetics


Ethics is a central interest for Gaita and Pink, while McCabe, Sheffield, Woolf, and Sangiovanni all have concerns in this area.  Sangiovanni’s recent appointment now means that this strength is complemented by a specialist in Political Philosophy.


Gaita’s The Philosopher’s Dog has been translated into eight languages.  He has established the Simone Weil Lectures on Human Value which takes place annually in Australia:  lecturers since 2001 have included Avishai Margalit, Ray Monk, Simon Critchley, Stephen Mullhall, Susan Neiman and Susan Mendus.  He organized a conference on Is it Me or is it My Illness? in Melbourne in 2004 and co-organized a conference on The University: Is it Finished? in London in the same year.  


Through most of the assessment period Peter Goldie and Anthony Savile gave us strength in Aesthetics.  Goldie has now taken up a chair in Manchester and Savile has retired, but we have preserved our expertise in this area with the appointment of Callanan.


As part of an AHRB-funded project on Perception, Narrative Discourse and Conceptual Art (see A.3), Goldie and Elizabeth Schellekens organized a two-day international conference on conceptual art in June 2004.  The proceedings were published as Philosophy and Conceptual Art by OUP in 2007.


(5)  Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science


Hughes, Travis, Papineau, Pink, Segal, Reid, and Textor all work on issues in Metaphysics.


Members of this group run a weekly work-in-progress meeting.  A number of philosophers from other London colleges participate (Fraser McBride, Jennifer Hornsby, Keith Hossack, Guy Longworth, Tom Crowther).


Papineau, Segal, Milton, Samuels and Mameli all publish in the Philosophy of Science.  Donald Gillies has retired but our strength in this area has been preserved by the recent appointment of Mameli, a specialist in the Philosophy of Biology and Psychology.  We collaborate closely on the Philosophy of Science with the LSE Philosophy Department, sharing research seminars and the supervision of research students.


In 2003 Gillies organized a conference in King’s on Laws & Models in Science as part of the European Science Foundation Network on ‘Historical and Contemporary Perspectives of Philosophy of Science in Europe’.  Speakers included Huw Price, Pascal Engel and Jeremy Butterfield.


Mameli organized a conference on Innateness and Instinct at King’s College Cambridge in 2004 which was attended by a number of leading figures in the Philosophy of Biology and Psychology, including Kim Sterelny, Cecilia Heyes and Annette Karmiloff-Smith.


A.3 Research Income and Research Projects


The Department has been highly successful in attracting external research funding.  The awards listed below total over £2.5 million (this exceeds the figure in RA4 largely because of as yet unspent awards).  This success has enabled the Department to develop a number of important research projects:


Ancient Commentators on Aristotle.  This project (cf. A.2.2.1.b) was founded in 1987 by Sorabji.  It was described in the Times as ‘a massive scholarly endeavour of the highest importance’.  It normally employs one or more post-doctoral scholars as research fellows.  Martin Archard and Fiona Leigh are currently supported; the others during the assessment period have been Inna Kupreeva, Han Baltussen and John Sellars.  In 2003 the project received an AHRB grant of £270,009.  This year it won a further AHRC award for £354,229 for four additional years.  The project is also supported by an annual grant of £15,000 from the Leventis foundation.


Evolution of the Emotions.  This project, initiated by Sainsbury and Papineau, and supported by an AHRB grant of £87,861, began before the assessment period but ended during it.  It funded a research fellowship, held successively during the assessment period by Dylan Evans and Pierre Cruse.  The project ran a series of seminars and workshops, and culminated in the 2002 conference and published proceedings described in A.2.2.2.


Human-Machine Interaction Network on Emotions.  The groundwork laid by the Evolution of the Emotions project led to the employment of Sabine Döring as research fellow in the Department for 2004-5 working on the ethical implications of human-machine interactions, funded for £51,353 by ‘HUMAINE’ (Human-Machine Interaction Network on Emotions) a EU Network of Excellence.


Perception, Narrative Discourse and Conceptual Art.  This project was under the direction of Peter Goldie and funded by an AHRB Innovation Award for £48,000.  It ran during 2003-4 and employed Elisabeth Schellekens as full-time research fellow.  It culminated in the conference and proceedings described in A.2.2.4.


Towards an Aesthetic Psychology: Aesthetic Perception and Cognition.  This was funded by a Research Grant for £102,570 from the AHRC for 2004-6.  Again directed by Goldie and employing Schellekens, it moved to Manchester with Goldie for its final year.


Dialogue Matters Research Network.  This is supported by a Leverhulme Network Grant of £150,000 to Kempson for the period 2005-2008.  It is based in the Department and involves Stanford, Gothenburg, Edinburgh, Stony Brook, Glasgow, and Essex.  It organizes regular workshops both at KCL and elsewhere (cf. A.2.2.3).


The Dynamics of Dialogue.  The Department has just been awarded an ESRC grant of £582,557 for 2008-10 for a project under the direction of Kempson, assisted by Meyer-Viol and Patrick Healey (Queen Mary London) to develop a formal model of dialogue.  This is a follow-up to Kempson’s earlier award of £41,496 for an ESRC pilot project in 2003-2004.


A Dynamic Typology of Pronouns and Clitics in Bantu and Romance.  Kempson was a co-investigator on this 2003-2006 AHRB-funded project, with Lutz Marten at SOAS the principal investigator.  The total award of £267, 212 was paid through SOAS, but part was used to fund a research student at King’s.


In addition to these research projects, the following grants for individual research were held in the Department during the assessment period:


Leverhulme Research Awards:


Kempson, Leverhulme Research Professorship,1999-2004, £327,125

Sainsbury, 2000-2002, Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, £56,230

Adamson, 2003, Philip Leverhulme Prize, £50,000

McCabe, Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, 2005-2008, £110,583


AHRB/C Research Leave Awards:


Verity Harte, 2001, £8,415

Pink, 2001-2002, £14,438

Donald Gillies 2001-2002, £9,984

Samuels, 2003-2004, £10,829

Segal, 2004, £14,438


Mind Association Research Leave Fellowships:


Hopkins, 2001, £12,712

Hughes 2004, £12,712

Papineau 2007, £12,712


British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowships:


Reid, 2000-2003, £82,831

Gabbay 2006-2009, £215,994


British Academy Small Research Grant:


Kempson, 2007, £7,500


University of London Jacobsen Post-Doctoral Fellowships:
Jeffrey Ketland, 2001-2002, £21,042
Keith Allen, 2005-2007, £39,399


British Academy Conference Grants:


Adamson, 2004, £2,000

Adamson, 2006, £2,000                                                                                                          

Kempson, 2007, £7,500


Aristotelian Society Conference Grant:


Adamson, 2006, £500


Mind Association Conference Grant:


Adamson, 2004, £1,500


Mellon Foundation Editorial Grant:


Milton, 2002, £2,000


A.4 Staffing Policy


A.4.1 Replacement Policy


In general our policy is to make new appointments at a junior level.  During the assessment period Donald Gillies and Anthony Savile retired, Peter Goldie and Keith Hossack left, and Sainsbury and Hopkins switched to part-time.  Five of their replacements have been early career researchers:  Reid, Sheffield, Mameli, Sangiovanni and Callanan.  Travis has been our only senior appointment.


We also seek to encourage young scholars by timely promotion.  This is evidenced during the assessment period by the award of Readerships to Adamson, Textor and Woolf at relatively early stages of their careers.


A.4.2 Induction, Probation and Appraisal


A senior academic is appointed as an advisor to all new academic staff.  Advisors make twice-yearly reports on progress and the Head of Department an annual assessment.  These are communicated to the new staff members. 


All staff are appraised every year by a senior colleague.  This provides an important opportunity for members of staff to discuss their research plans.  It is particularly helpful to early career researchers, who can benefit from the advice of more experienced scholars about where best to place their research efforts.


We take pains to integrate early career researchers quickly into the Department’s research environment.  They are invited to speak the main Departmental Seminar at an early stage.  and encouraged to play a full part in other research seminars.


A.4.3 Support for Research Fellows


The Department has hosted a succession of funded Research Fellows during the assessment period.  We have treated them just like our other early career researchers and have taken steps to ensure they move on to good posts:


Jeffrey Ketland (Jacobsen Fellow 2001-2) is a Senior Lecturer in Edinburgh after posts as Leeds and Cambridge.

Han Baltussen (AHRB Fellow 1997-2002) is a Senior Lecturer in Adelaide.

Jasper Reid (BA Fellow 2000-2003) is a Lecturer in King’s after posts at Essex and Aberdeen.

Elizabeth Schellekens (AHRB Fellow 2003-20005) is a Lecturer in Durham.

Dylan Evans (AHRB Fellow 2000-2001) proceeded to a post at Bath and then to a Senior Lectureship at the University of the West of England.

Pierre Cruse (AHRB Fellow 2001-2003) went on to a Temporary Lectureship in this Department.

Inna Kupreeva (AHRB Fellow 2002-2005) is a Lecturer in Edinburgh.

Sabine Döring (EU Network Fellow 2004-2005) has just been appointed to a Chair at Tübingen after a post in Manchester.

Keith Allen (Jacobsen Fellow 2005-2007) is a Lecturer in York.

John Sellars (AHRC Fellow 2005-2007) is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England.

A.4.4 Sabbatical Leave


The Department grants all academic staff one semester’s leave every three years.  It also encourages them to seek external funding for extra research leave.  Twelve members of the Department received such external awards in the assessment period (cf. A.3).


A.4.5  Visiting Scholars


The Department encourages visiting scholars, mainly through the visiting fellowships scheme of the University of London Institute of Philosophy.  In the assessment period visitors under this scheme have included Jesse Prinz, Friederike Moltmann, Fraser Macbride, Andreas Hüttemann, Heather Dyke, Lilian Alweiss, Laurence Goldstein, David Owens, and Oystein Linnebo.  Apart from this, the Department has also hosted extended visits during the assessment period from a number of overseas visitors including Ioannis Plangesis, Flavia Loscialpo, Oystein Nilsen, Verena Gottschling, Takashi Iida, Ian Mueller and Andrea Bottani.


A.5 Research Students


A.5.1 Recruitment

In the assessment period we have sustained a healthy flow of research degree applications.  Research students are encouraged to enroll initially in our two-year research MPhil (redesignated as the Master of Studies in Philosophy—‘MPhSt’—from 2005) followed by the PhD which ideally will be completed in two further years.  Applicants who already have a Master’s degree, however, normally enroll directly as probationary PhD students.


We normally select about 10 MPhSts and 10 probationary PhDs each year.  As indicated in RA3a, we normally have about 70 active research students in the Department at any time.  We believe this is the largest departmental concentration of philosophy research students in the UK.


We also regularly host research students from other universities, either formally as short-term students or as visitors with library rights.  In the assessment period these have included students from Berkeley, Monash, Reading, Cornell, Delhi and the University of the Basque Country.


A.5.2 Student Placement


Our energetic recruitment policy places us under an obligation to help our PhDs find jobs.  We make great efforts in this direction, publishing vacancies on our Departmental research mailing list, advising students which posts to apply for, helping them with their applications and selection of referees, and collating and sending out dossiers.


We think we are effective in all of this and are very proud of our placement record. 


Of the 91 students who have completed PhDs with us since 1992, 61 have gone on to full-time academic posts in philosophy and related fields, as have 30 of the 44 who completed PhDs with us since 2002.  Our full placement record is on our website at


A.5.3 Tutoring


Somewhat unusually, nearly all our research students rotate among a range of Teaching Tutors, normally only setting down with one member of staff in their last year or two.  We believe this best enables our students to benefit from our wide expertise.  Second-year and later-year research students receive 2 hours supervision every 3 weeks, while first-years have one hour a fortnight.  Alongside the tutorial rotation, every student has a permanent Supervisor and a Secondary Supervisor, available to give general advice as well as specific academic advice.


We believe that this intensive teaching is important in helping us to maintain the healthy rate of completion of our research degrees detailed in RA3a.


A.5.4 ‘Research Collections’


Each research student has a private interview with the Department’s Postgraduate and Research Committee twice a year.  Their Teaching Tutors’ reports are discussed and plans made for the following term.  These meetings allow senior members of the Department to form an overview of the work done by all research students, and to suggest collaboration where appropriate.


A.5.5 Grant Applications


The Department has a special committee for studentship applications which supports to students applying to the AHRC and for further awards such as the Overseas Research and King’s Research Studentships (A.7.2, A.7.3).  We have succeeded in obtaining significant levels of funding for our research students during the assessment period, as indicated in RA3b.


A.5.6 Seminars and Conferences


We run a weekly Thesis Reading Seminar for our advanced research students and a weekly Topic-Based Research Seminar for the first-year research students.  There is also a weekly seminar for research students specializing in Linguistics.


Twice a year the London philosophy departments combine to organize a one-day Graduate Conference.  Each spring term there is also a London-Berkeley Graduate Student Conference (alternating between here and California).  These conferences offer students a valuable forum to present their ideas, and they compete eagerly for these opportunities.


We also encourage our research students to present their work at other national and international graduate conferences and offer financial support for this.  We subsidize about a dozen student trips per year (cf. A.7.1).


A.5.7 Student Web Sites


The research students maintain two lively Departmental websites at  and, where they post philosophical discussions and original pieces of work.


A.6 Research Strategy


Overall we feel that the research profile in our Department is gratifyingly healthy.  We have expertise across a wide range of topics plus the concentrations described in A.2.2.  We have no current plans for any substantial changes of direction, though our Postgraduate and Research Committee does periodically review our research strategy. 


There are however a number of new initiatives that we intend to pursue (in addition to the continuing projects listed in A.2.2 and A 3).


Philosophy and Medicine  For some years the Department has collaborated with the King’s medical school on an Intercalated BSc in Philosophy for Medical Students and with the King’s Institute of Philosophy on an MSc in the Philosophy of Mental Disorder. We now propose to build on this to develop a Centre for Philosophy and Medicine under the leadership of McCabe, and also involving Samuels, Mameli, Papineau and Hopkins.  We plan a core seminar for this project next year, and will be seeking further funding for conferences and public lectures.  We envisage a major project extending beyond five years. 


The History of Free Will  Adamson has a developing interest in free will in antiquity and Islamic philosophy, while Pink has already published extensively on the topic in Renaissance and Early Modern philosophy.  In collaboration with Maria Rosa Antognazza in the King’s Theology Department, who specializes in the Early Modern free will debate, Adamson and Pink propose to run a research seminar on the history of the free will problem next year, followed by a conference and a book of proceedings.


Frege Studies  Travis and Sainsbury have both been publishing for some time on Frege.  This is now also one of Textor’s main areas of interest, and he is currently writing a book on Frege which will argue that his advances in logic hinge on his theory of judgement as a mental act, a theory which owes much to Kant and his 19th century followers.  Textor is planning an in-house seminar to explore these issues not only with Sainsbury and Travis but also with our new Kantian expert Callanan.


Innateness  We have an unusual confluence of people interested in the notion of innateness in the biological and cognitive sciences.  Samuels and Mameli are internationally recognized as authorities and Lappin, Papineau and Segal have also published on this topic.  Lappin is currently planning a monograph on linguistic nativism, poverty of stimulus arguments and computational learning theory.  Next year he will organize a research seminar on linguistic nativism to which the other experts in the Department will contribute.


Modern Philosophy in Context  A number of our experts in Modern Philosophy (Milton, Reid, Pink, Callanan, Sangiovanni) share a commitment to placing important philosophical developments in the context of historical debate.  Milton and Reid are writing books on Locke on toleration and Henry More’s metaphysics respectively.  Pink is producing editions of Hobbes on liberty and of the political writings of Francisco Suarez, and has also been writing a series of articles on natural law theory in the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.  Sangiovanni is writing a series of articles on Hobbes's peculiar reconstruction of Christianity in Leviathan, and how this affects his ‘civil science’.  Callanan has published on the historical context of Kant’s Copernican turn and continues to work on this topic.  We have plans to seek funding for a project—and possibly later a Centre—for understanding philosophical developments in their historical context.


The Context-Dependence of Meaning  There is a great deal of current interest in the way that many natural-language expressions appear to exhibit context-dependent semantic values.  King’s is very well-placed to make progress on this topic.  Travis, Segal and Kempson have all been publishing on this kind of semantic context-dependence, but from different theoretical perspectives.  We are planning a seminar series in this area which will also involve other London philosophers of language and linguists.   


Convention and Obligation:  Pink is working on the nature of moral obligation and its relation to promising and to legal obligation.  He has completed a forthcoming two-volume work on The Ethics of Action.  One central issue in this work is Hume's division between the natural and the conventional in morality.  Sangiovanni's work in political theory is centrally concerned with how principles of international justice depend on conventional practices.  They intend to develop this shared interest by seeking research funding for a project on the significance of convention in moral and political theory.


A.7 Research Infrastructure


A.7.1 Department


Postgraduate and Research Committee


The Department’s Postgraduate and Research Committee meets at least twice a year.  Its brief is to oversee the research direction of the Department.  Apart from directing the plans of the research students (cf. A.5.4), it also plays an important role, in a relatively large department, of identifying research groupings and opportunities for new initiatives and funding applications.


Travel Funds


The Department devotes a proportion of it non-pay budget each year to support research travel for staff.  It also offers up to £150 travel support to research students to read papers at conferences (plus extra funds for research students who go to California for the London-Berkeley Graduate Conference—cf. A.5.6).


Student Bursaries


Each year the Department awards two bursaries, the Sorabji and Stebbing Awards, for £2000 each.  These grants are allocated on the basis of academic merit and financial need.  We aim use them to encourage the recruitment of good research students.


We also share the Malcolm Fellowship with Cornell University’s Philosophy Department:  this funds a research student from each department to visit the other in alternate years.


Common Room and Computer Facilities


The Department has a graduate common room. In addition to its social function, this houses a reprint library, which is looked after each year by a research student who is appointed ‘Xerox Librarian’ and paid an honorarium of £1,000 from the Department’s non-pay budget.  Online computer facilities and printers are available in this room and in a separate student computer room.


A.7.2 School of Humanities


The School of Humanities devotes a significant proportion of its budget to initiatives designed to support research.


Small Research Grants


Staff can apply for up to £750 (and students for up to £250) from the School in any one academic year for assistance with their research.  Applications may cover research assistance, leave of absence, conferences, and other activities clearly related to research.  During the assessment period the Department received seven awards from this source.


Support for Research Funding Applications


The School Research Committee takes an overview of research activity across the School, and also provides support for major grant applications.  The Centre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH) provides technical support for grants held in the School.


Humanities Research Centres


The Humanities Research Centres is a grouping of eleven research centres based within the School, including the Centre for Philosophical Studies.  It receives funding and administrative support from the School.


Research Training for Students


The School has an extensive training programme for research students.  Its Director of Research Training coordinates a series of Research Methodology Workshops each year for research students.  The School also operates individual ‘research accounts’ for its research students to distribute training funds provided by the AHRC.


Humanities Research Studentships and Bursaries


The School, through its Research Committee, each year provides two full AHRC-level studentships for incoming research students, and three bursaries for existing research students  During the assessment period two philosophy students received these studentships and three received bursaries.


A.7.3 College and University


Research Training


The College offers a range of training opportunities for academic and research staff.  All new academic and research staff are required to attend a programme which includes courses on how to get published, how to apply for research grants, and on the supervision of research students. 


Information Services

The College’s Information Services and Systems Department manages seven information services, centres and libraries.  It supports a robust IT infrastructure with high speed network links and high capacity email.  In particular, it provides a network of over 1,500 public access student PCs with access to the internet, email, software and learning resources. 


Philosophy Libraries


A comprehensive philosophy collection is housed in the College’s Maughan Library, supported by a specialist member of the library staff.  This library provides access to a full range of electronic resources in philosophy.  Members of the College also have access to the philosophy collections in the University of London Library and the British Library.


Graduate School


In 2005 the College established a Graduate School for postgraduate students which offers a range of training opportunities.  Since last year the Graduate School has also offered ten annual AHRC-level studentships in the Arts and Sciences which complement the Humanities Research Studentships described above in A.7.2.




In addition to the items of editorial work (17) and organizing conferences and seminar series (25) mentioned above in A.2.2, and the visiting scholars and students mentioned in A.4.5 and A.5.1, members of the Department received the following marks of esteem during the assessment period.


Adamson.  Philip Leverhulme Prize, 2003, for an outstanding contribution to philosophy.  Contributor of the ‘Book Notes’ on Neoplatonism to Phronesis since 2005.  Editorial board, Documenti e Studi sulla Tradizione Filosofica Medievale.  Promotion review Bucknell College.  12 conference talks. 

Callanan.  Government of Ireland Post-Doctoral Fellow for 2005-2007.  Invitation to address the 2008 conference of the Essex University Transcendental Philosophy and Naturalism Project.


Gabbay.  British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2006.


Gaita.  Fellow of Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2002.  Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellow, University of Melbourne, 2006.  3 keynote conference addresses in Melbourne, Brussells and New Haven, and 14 further public lectures in 10 different countries.


Hopkins.  Kohut Visiting Professor of Social Thought in the University of Chicago, 2007-.  Visiting Fellow Australian Catholic University, 2002.  Keynote address, International Conference on Psychoanalysis and Science, Melbourne, 2004.  Talks at 7 further conferences.


HughesMind editorial team, 2002-2005.  Promotion review, Pittsburgh.  5 conference talks.


Kempson FBA.  Leverhulme Research Professor, 1999- 2004.    Co-Editor in Chief of Research on Language and Computation until 2007.  Member, Academia Europaea.  Editorial board Language and Mind, Journal of Linguistics until 2007.  Member, Standing Committee for European Summer Schools in Language, Logic and Linguistics.  Plenary lectures, Categorial Grammar International Conference, Montpellier, 2004, International Historical Linguistics Conference, Madison, 2005.  Talks at 12 further conferences.


Lappin.  Member, RAE 2008 Panel 58 for Linguistics.  Associate Editor Philosophy and Linguistics 2000-2006, Co-Editor in Chief of Research in Language and Computation since 2006.  Academic visitor at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, University of Toronto, University of Osnaebrueck, University of Illinois, Oxford Centre for Linguistics, University of Haifa.  Co-investigator on ESRC project on the processing and resolution of fragments in dialogue, 2002-2005.  Editorial board, Language and Computation, Grammars.  7 promotion reviews.  Organizing committee for 15 conferences.  Talks at 7 conferences.


McCabe.  Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, 2005-8.  Executive Committee of the British Philosophical Association, 2004-, Warburg Institute Advisory Board, 2004-.  External Assessor, two Regius Chairs, Aberdeen.   Advisor, BBC Radio 4 Drama on Death of Socrates.  Editorial board, Journal of Hellenic Studies, Dialogos, Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.  6 promotion reviews.  Plenary talks at 9 conferences.


Mameli.  Junior Research Fellow, King’s College Cambridge, 2003-2007.  Talks at Max Plank Institute, Berlin, 2002, Cambridge Moral Sciences Club, 2004, Sheffield Hang Seng Centre, 2006, British Society for the Philosophy of Science, 2008.


Milton.  Editorial boards, Eighteenth-Century Thought, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Clarendon Locke Edition.  External Assessor, Readership and Chair, Aberdeen.


Papineau.  Convenor, Research Panel for Philosophy, Law and Religious Studies, AHRB, 2001-2005.  Elected President, Mind Association for 2009.  Member Philip Leverhulme Prize Fellowship in Philosophy Committee, 2001-2007.  External Assessor for Chairs, Manchester, Edinburgh.  Departmental Reviews, Glasgow, Oxford Brooks.  ‘Masterclass’, British Philosophy Postgraduate Society, 2006.  12 editorial boards, including Philosophy of Science, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Biology and Philosophy.  14 promotion reviews.  Organizing committee 2 conferences.  3 plenary addresses and 30 other conference talks. 


Pink.  Visiting Professor, Keio University, Tokyo, 2007.  Academic Board, Xavier Tilliette Institute, Rome.  Invited keynote speaker (along with John Broome and Joseph Raz), Presidents’ Day Conference on Normativity and Reason, Santa Barbara, 2008.  14 conference talks.


Reid.  British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, 2000-2003.


Sainsbury FBA.  Auditor, Arché Vagueness Project, St Andrews, 2005-2006.  Advisor, Fulbright Scholarship Committee, 2004-2007.


Samuels.  11 conference talks.


Sangiovanni.  Junior Research Fellow, Pembroke College Cambridge, 2005-2007.  Talks at Cambridge International Political Theory Seminar, 2007 and Oxford Nuffield Political Theory Workshop, 2007.


Segal.  Visiting Fellow, Australian National University, 2001.  3 promotion reviews.  5 conference talks.


SheffieldVisiting Assistant Professor, Yale, 2003.  6 conference talks.


Sorbaji FBA.  Professor of Rhetoric, Gresham College, 2000-2003. Antonina Ranieri Distinguished Visiting Scholar, New York University, 2000-2003.  Visiting Professor, CUNY Graduate Center, 2004-2007.  Honorary doctorate, Union College, Schenectady, 2007.  Cyprus Global Professor of Classics at New York University, 2007-.  9 editorial boards, including Ancient Philosophy, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, International Journal of the Classical Tradition.  5 keynote addresses and many other conference talks.


Textor.  Visiting Fellow at the University of Bern, 2007.  Mind editorial team, 2002-2005.  Editorial boards, Dialectica, Ontos Verlag Philosophische Forschung.  30 conference talks.


Travis.  Visiting Professor, Harvard, 2005.  3 promotion reviews.  11 conference talks.


Woolf.  Mellon Fellow, 2002-2003, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.  2 promotion reviews.  7 conference talks.


In addition, members of the Department have given numerous national and international seminars, and have assessed many papers for journals and manuscripts for publishers.