purpose of this Newsletter is to keep our alumni and the public informed of
the latest developments in Philosophy@LSE
which comprises the Department
for Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, the Centre for the Philosophy of the
Natural and Social Sciences,
Forum for European Philosophy, and cognate
faculty in various departments.
The new UK Government still
seems to be intent on protecting "strategically important subjects"
which they take to be Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (the
so-called STEM subjects).
Philosophy does not come close to making it on the government's list.
Granted, nocontribution by a philosopher ever gave a sudden jolt to the
FTSE.Nonetheless, there are many reasons why it belongs on a list of
subjects that are of strategic importance to secure a flourishing
debate. A vibrant political community requires a constant
supply of fresh ideas. Where do these ideas come from? Certainly there are
grassroots movements, but political philosophers have a huge impact. Thinkers
like Friedman, Hayek, Sen, Popper, Rawls and Nozick are household names in
newspaper editorials. Philosophy departments are hatcheries for political
ideas through providing a culture of discussion and reflection. Students make
these ideas their own, pursue careers in journalism, politics, and
policy-making and spread the good word.
Professionals face moral dilemmas throughout their
careers and are called upon to make principled morally defensible decisions
within their respective roles – be it business, medicine, human relations,
etc. In introducing cohorts of aspiring professionals to moral theory, we
provide our students with the tools for moral reasoning that will be
invaluable in their future careers.
skills. Philosophy departments train students in logical
reasoning, critical thinking and scientific method. Our students then export
these skills in the pursuit of law, scientific research, medical diagnosis,
etc. The philosophers that provided these tools are many steps removed from
economic indicators. But take away these (as well as many other) building
blocks in the humanities and the edifice of STEM subjects will crumble.
Evidence.What constitutes evidence in court, in medicine, in
science? The nature of evidence and standards of proof are core topics for
philosophers who specialise in scientific methodology. We aim to teach
students the critical skills to make a judicious assessment of the use of
scientific evidence in public life.
The Good Life.
We live in a culture in which so many people face
episodes of mental health problems, often in search of direction in life.
Religion has lost its relevance for many people in today’s increasingly
secularised world. Communal support is often lacking in the anonymity of the
metropolis. Counselling services are of great importance, but they are a cure
rather than a prophylactic. Philosophy has by no means a monopoly on the task
of providing insight in the eternal questions that touch on the meaning of
life. But it is certainly a substantial contributor.
Culture. It is not uncommon for successful writers, film
directors, entertainers,... to have an undergraduate degree in philosophy,
ranging from Umberto Eco and Iris Murdoch to Ricky Gervais and Matt Groening
(The Simpsons!). Would it be too self-aggrandizing to claim that an important
indicator of a society’s grandeur is the philosophical depth of its cultural
Head of Department
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
WHAT IS NEW IN PHILOSOPHY@LSE?
The Department appointed two new Lecturers. Charlotte
Werndl’s expertise is in Scientific Methodology, in particular in Physics and
Biology. Armin Schulz’s expertise is in Philosophy of Biology and Philosophy
The Forum and the Department appointed Kristina Musholt for
a three-year LSE Fellowship. Her expertise is in Philosophy of Cognitive
CPNSS appointed Eric Martin for a three-year LSE fellowship
on the Order Project (see below). His expertise is in Philosophy of
Science and in Philosophy of Religion.
We will be hosting Karin Edvardsson Bjőrnberg on a two-year
Marie Curie fellowship with the project “Rational Decision-Making in
Adaptation to Climate Change”.
Nancy Cartwright has received a prestigious grant from the
Templeton foundation for the project God's Order, Man's
Order and the Order of Nature which will be conducted jointly with
Alex Voorhoeve has published an exciting new book containing
interviews with prominent moral philosophers entitled Conversations
Roman Frigg has received a fellowship from Munich Re to
study the role of uncertainty in climate modelling within the context of the
LSE Choice Group which counts amongst its members Jason Alexander, Luc
Bovens, Richard Bradley, Christian List, Katie Steele and Alex Voorhoeve has
been awarded an AHRC grant to develop an international decision theory
network centred on the LSE.
We have started a new BSc programme Politics
and Philosophy in cooperation with the Department of Government in
PHILOSOPHY@LSE PUBLIC TALKS
are starting up a fortnightly series of public talks aimed at students and
alumni on Tuesday nights, 6-7.30 pm in the Wolfson Theatre (NAB) followed by
a reception. Here is our schedule for Michaelmas 2010. For a
schedule of upcoming talks, click here.
"Green Social Advertisement"
“Evidence: Philosophy of Science meets Medicine”
“Valuing the Environment”
"Rationality in the Social
Black Box, Empty Box, or both?"