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Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method

How to contact us

Dept of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics
Houghton Street, London,
WC2A 2AE

 

Email: philosophy-dept@lse.ac.uk|

Fax: +44 (0)20 7831 9045

 
The Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, founded by Professor Sir Karl Popper in 1946, is internationally renowned for a type of philosophy that is both continuous with the sciences and socially relevant.
rerum-causae
The LSE Student Philosophy Journal Rerum Causae has published two issues in 2014|.
 
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Christian List|, Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, has been elected Fellow of the British Academy. For further details, see here|.
 
poole
The Andrea Mannu Prize UG for 2013/2014 was awarded to David Poole for best performance by an undergraduate in any degrees administered by the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method.
 
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Winners of the 2013-14 Class Teaching Prizes are GTA Andrew Goldfinch and PhD student Chris Blunt|. Congratulations!
 
alex+marcoci
PhD student Alexandru Marcoci has won the LSE Award for Collaborative Research and Guidance. Read more here|. Great work, Alex!
 
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Philosophical Problems in Personalized Medicine? Workshop on Thursday and Friday at LSE. More here|.
 
LSE-UBT Conference 01
The 2014 LSE-Bayreuth Student Conference took place in the University of Bayreuth, Germany from 8-9 May. See photographs (courtesy of Donal Khosrowi), the flyer, and programme here|.
 
marcoci
Congratulations to Alexandru Marcoci, who is the winner of the Teaching Excellence Award in the category 'Collaborative Research and Guidance' from the LSE Student Union.
 
Congratulations to Roman Frigg|, who has been promoted to Professor (from September 2014).
 
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Congratulations to Peter Dennis| on his appointment as an LSE Fellow in the Department.
 
Professor Luc Bovens| provides an introduction| to the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method.
 
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The Lakatos Award for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, has been won jointly by Laura Ruetsche of the University of Michigan for her book Interpreting Quantum Theories  (Oxford University Press, 2011) and by David Wallace of Oxford University for his book The Emergent Multiverse  (Oxford University Press, 2012). Each will win a prize of £7500.
 
lsesuofficers
Congratulations to Nona Buckley-Irvine (BSc Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method) and Thomas Maksymiw (BSc Politics and Philosophy). Nona was elected as General Secretary and Thomas as Education Officer of the LSE Student Union for 2014-15.
 
Miklós Rédei| will be delivering the Professorial Inaugural Lecture| 'On John von Neumann's Life and Work' on Thursday, 13 March 2014 from 5-6 pm in LAK.2.06.
 
birch
Congratulations to Jonathan Birch| on his appointment as a new Assistant Professor here in the Department.
 
mahtani
Congratulations to Anna Mahtani| on her appointment as a new Assistant Professor here in the Department.
 
theguardian
LSE-Philosophy scored first in the Guardian University Guide 2014. Click here| for more information.
 
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Christian List| and a team of political scientists and biologists from LSE and the Max Plank Institute for Human Development in Berlin show in new research that conflicting interests within a group can lead to better collective decisions—if you're a social animal such as a meerkat.

Read more about the research here|.
 
bovens
Listen to Luc Bovens and Adam Oliver discuss the topic of nudges with Harry Burdon here|.
 
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Congratulations to Fergus Green for winning this year's Andrea Mannu Prize for the best dissertation written during the course of study and submitted for the MSc Philosophy of the Social Sciences, MSc Philosophy and Public Policy, or MSc Economics and Philosophy or on the basis of overall examination performance in one of these degrees.
 
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Congratulations to Jacob Neal for winning this year's Imre Lakatos Prize for the best dissertation written during the course of study and submitted for the MSc Philosophy of Science or on the basis of overall examination performance in this degree.
 
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Relativity Meets Quantum Theory Conference, 28-29 November 2013

In this 2-day conference, leading experts in both physics and in philosophy will meet with new researchers in the field to discuss what happens when relativity meets quantum theory. Click here| for more information.
 
Join us for this year's Departmental Weekend at Cumberland Lodge from 8-10 November. Click here| for more information.
 
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Alex Voorhoeve|, Reader in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, will appear on the BBC Radio 4 show The Philosopher's Arms on August 6 at 3:30 pm to discuss exploitation. To listen, click here|.
 
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The Andrea Mannu Prize UG for 2012/2013 was awarded to Evelyn Tinker for best performance by an undergraduate in any degrees administered by the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method.
 
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Jason Alexander and Miklos Redei are being promoted to Professor.

Katie Steele has passed Major Review and is being promoted to Senior Lecturer.

 
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Joseph Mazor has accepted a three year fixed-term Lecturer position in Political Science and Philosophy.
 
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Lakatos Award Lecture

The winner of this year's Lakatos Award, Wolfgang Spohn, will give his award lecture, titled 'Truth and Rationality', on Thursday 9th May, from 6pm in the Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, to be followed by a reception in the Shaw Library.

For more information, see here|.
 
blunt
Chris Blunt is a second-year research student in the Department. He is one of the five winners of the school-wide LSE Students’ Union 2012-13 Teaching Awards. Congratulations!
 
colloquium
The LSE Reason, Knowledge and Values Colloquium 2013 will take place on Tuesday, 14 May and Wednesday,15th May. Undergraduate students will speak on topics such as the meaning of life, moral relativism, the mind-body problem, scientific realism, and more. All are welcome. Please join us! For more details, see here|.
 
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We are pleased to announce that Susanne Burri and Fernando Morett have both been awarded this year's Teaching Prize. Congratulations!
 
LSE-Bayreuth
The first annual LSE-Bayreuth student philosophy conference will take place on Thursday,  May 2 and Friday, May 3. BA and MSc students from both the LSE and the University of Bayreuth will present  a wide-range of papers with faculty commentary. All are welcome to attend.  For more details and a list of the scheduled talks, see here|.
 
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Eric Martin, who is a postdoc at CPNSS and teaches in the Department, has accepted an Assistant Professor position at Baylor University, Texas.
 
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Amandine Catala, who was an LSE fellow in the department in 2011-12, has accepted a tenure-track position at the University of Quebec at Montreal.
 
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Congratulations to our PhD student Susanne Burri, who has won the Society for Applied Philosophy's Annual Conference Postgraduate Essay Prize 2013 for her paper Personal Sovereignty and Our Moral Rights to Non-Interference.
 
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The London School of Economics and Political Science announces that the Lakatos Award, of £10,000 for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, has been won by Wolfgang Spohn| of the University of Konstanz for his book The Laws of Belief: Ranking Theory and its Philosophical Implications| (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Professor Spohn will deliver his award lecture, titled 'Truth and Rationality', on 9 May at 6 pm in the Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.

The Lakatos Award is given for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, widely interpreted, in the form of a book published in English during the previous five years. It was made possible by a generous endowment from the Latsis Foundation. The Award is in memory of the former LSE professor, Imre Lakatos, and is administered by an international Management Committee organised from the LSE.

The Committee, chaired by John Worrall, decides the outcome of the Award competition on the advice of an international, independent and anonymous panel of Selectors who produce detailed reports on the nominated books.

 
bryanroberts
Bryan Roberts| will be starting as Lecturer in October 2013. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (2012) and is currently on a postdoc in the University of Southern California. His AOS is History and Philosophy of Physics. His AOC is Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mathematics, Logic, Metaphysics and Bioethics.
 
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The 2013 Comte Lectures will be delivered by Professor A. John Simmons. Professor Simmons will deliver the lecture 'States and their Territories: Boundaries of Authority|' on 11 March 2013 and the lecture 'States and their Territories: To the Center of the Earth|' on 12 March 2013.
 
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Christian List|, Professor of Political Science and Philosophy in the Departments of Government and Philosophy at the LSE, has been awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, from October 2013 to September 2016. The Leverhulme Trust makes these awards to "enable well-established and distinguished researchers in the disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences to devote themselves to a single research project of outstanding originality and significance".  For more information, see here|
 
mar13openday
The LSE Open Day offers you the chance to hear subject talks from our academic staff, meet current students, visit some of our student accommodation, and pose your questions directly to staff from a range of departments, including Financial Support, Undergraduate Admissions, and the Students' Union. For more information and to book, see here|.
 
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Richard Bradley, Roman Frigg, Katie Steele, Alex Voorhoeve and Charlotte Werndl have been awarded a £725,000 research grant by the AHRC for a research project on Managing Severe Uncertainty. The project will be pursued over three years starting in March 2013 and will investigate scientific uncertainty, especially in climate science, and how policy decisions should be made under conditions of severe uncertainty. 
 
sbradley
Congratulations to Seamus Bradley for winning this year's Watkins Prize! The Watkins Prize is given to an outstanding student working in an area related to the research interests of Professor John Watkins: philosophy of science, political philosophy, decision theory and philosophy of biology.
 
mcternan
Emily McTernan|, who is currently an LSE Fellow in the department, has accepted a Lecturer position in the UCL Department of Political Science starting on September 2013. Congratulations!
 
schokkaert
Professor Erik Schokkaert| (University of Leuven, Department of Economics) will be a Visiting Professor in the Department and take up the position of Belgian Chair at the University of London in 2012-13. The Belgian Chair at the University of London is a charity set up in 1930 and is funded by a donation which is administered by the Belgian Embassy in London. Its aim is to promote exchanges between Belgian and British academic circles and to represent our scientific world abroad. Professor Schokkaert's research interests are in theories of distributive justice and measurement of well-being; health economics and health insurance; public economics; and the methodology of policy evaluation. 
 
rabinowicz

Professor Wlodek Rabinowicz| (Department of Philosophy, University of Lund, Sweden) will be coming visiting the department from 2013-2016 as Centennial Professor. His areas of research are moral philosophy, value theory, decision theory, and philosophical logic.

 
otsuka
We are pleased to announce that Professor Michael Otsuka| will be moving from UCL to LSE to take up a Professorship in the Department starting from September 2013. Professor Otsuka writes: "While my work will remain squarely within moral and political philosophy, I've found myself turning more, in recent years, to the work of philosophically inclined rational and social choice theorists and economists to inform my own research. So LSE is a natural place for me now."
 
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Staffing Changes for 2012-13. Professor Nancy Cartwright| will be leaving the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method for the University of Durham. Dr. Alex Voorhoeve| will be on sabbatical next year, and Dr. Jason Alexander| will be on sabbatical in the Spring term. Dr. Charlotte Werndl| is on maternity leave. We welcome five new members to our staff. Dr. Gabriel Wollner| (PhD, UCL, currently at Bayreuth University) will take up a Lecturer position. He will be designing and teaching a new course on Business and Organisational Ethics. Dr. Joseph Mazor| (PhD, Harvard, currently at Princeton University), Emily McTernan| (PhD candidate at Cambridge University), and Dr. Andrew Khoury| (PhD, Arizona State University) will take up LSE Fellow positions. Joseph Mazor will co-teach on the Philosophy of Economics course (PH211/PH413) and the Philosophy and Public Policy course (PH222/PH415). Emily McTernan will co-teach on the Philosophy and Public Policy course (PH222/PH415), the Morality and Values course (PH214), and the Philosophy, Morals and Politics course (PH416). Andrew Khoury will co-teach on the Reason, Knowledge and Values course (PH103), the Morality and Values course (PH214), and the Philosophy, Morals and Politics course (PH416). Dr. Stefan Schubert| will be a guest teacher: he will co-teach (with Dr. Jason Alexander) on the Philosophy of the Social Sciences course (PH203/PH405).
 
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The Department has been ranked first in the UK for graduate prospects in the Complete University Guide: University Subject Tables 2013|, third overall in the Complete University Guide: University Subject Tables 2013|, and third in the UK in the University Guide 2013: League Table for Philosophy|.
 
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Dr. Amandine Catala (LSE Fellow) will take up a one-year fellowship at the Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics in the Université Catholic de Louvain (Belgium) starting in the Fall of 2012.

Dr. Foad Dizadji-Bahmani (LSE Fellow) will take up a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy in California State University in LA starting January 2013.

 
LSE building
The Andrea Mannu Prize UG for 2011/12 was awarded to James Matharu for best performance by an undergraduate in any degrees administered by the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method.
 
Colin Howson|, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, has a new book, Objecting to God|, published last July by Cambridge University Press. The book evaluates the evidence old and new for the existence of a God of the sort the Abrahamic religions postulate, and concludes that there really isn't any: on the contrary, the evidence is very strongly against. Not only do these religions lack any credible foundation, but their influence, the book goes on to argue, is largely malign, embodying a code of ethics both primitive and repressive.
 
voorhoeve

We are proud to announce that Dr. Alex Voorhoeve| is one of five winners of the 2012 LSE Teaching Excellence Award. Teaching Excellence Awards are major prizes within the School that recognise and reward the best teachers in the School. Nominations come from students and the process is entirely student-led.

Congratulations to Alex upon this achievement! His contribution to the philosophy teaching programme is truly outstanding and we are grateful for the inspiration that he continues to offer to our students.

 
blunt
Please join us in congratulating Chris Blunt for winning the 2012 GTA Teaching Award. Well done, Chris!
 

Richard Bradley|, Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme 'In Our Time' on May 10 to discuss the nature and significance of game theory.

For more information on the programme and to listen to the discussion, see here|.

To download the podcast, click here|.

 
lse
The Department is pleased to welcome a new lecturer, Dr Gabriel Wollner| (currently at Harvard and Bayreuth), and three new LSE Fellows, Dr Joseph Mazor| (currently at Stanford), Emily McTernan| (currently at Cambridge), and Andrew Khoury| (currently at ASU), who will be taking up their positions during the coming academic year.
 
worrall

John Worrall|, Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, participated in a discussion of the significance of Nassim Nicholas Taleb and his book 'The Black Swan' in the BBC Radio 4 programme 'Analysis'.

For more information on the programme and to listen to the discussion, see here|.

To download the podcast, click here|.

 
worrall

John Worrall|, Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, participated in a discussion of philosophy and the scientific method in the BBC Radio 4 programme 'In Our Time'.

For more information on the programme and to listen to the discussion, see here|.

To download the podcast, click here|.

 
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Alex Voorhoeve|, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, has accepted a Laurence Rockefeller Fellowship for 2012–2013 at The University Center for Human Values| at Princeton University. Congratulations, Alex!
 
LSE building 

Congratulations to PhD student Susanne Burri and MSc Philosophy of Science student Zhixiong Brian Sng!

Susanne Burri was awarded the Popper Prize this year for her paper 'The Fair Distribution of Bad Luck'.

Zhixiong Brian Sng was awarded the Imre Lakatos Prize for his outstanding dissertation.

 
groupagencybook

NEW BOOK: Group Agency: The Possibility, Design and Status of Corporate Agents

Christian List|, Professor of Political Science and Philosophy in the Department of Government and the Department of Philosophy at LSE, and Philip Pettit|, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University, have a new book exploring the subject of group agency.

Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? Or are they just collections of individuals that give a misleading impression of unity? This question is important, since the answer dictates how we should explain the behaviour of these entities and whether we should treat them as responsible and accountable on the model of individual agents. Group Agency offers a new approach to that question and is relevant, therefore, to a range of fields from philosophy to law, politics, and the social sciences. Christian List and Philip Pettit argue that there really are group or corporate agents, over and above the individual agents who compose them, and that a proper approach to the social sciences, law, morality, and politics must take account of this fact. Unlike some earlier defences of group agency, their account is entirely unmysterious in character and, despite not being technically difficult, is grounded in cutting-edge work in social choice theory, economics, and philosophy. For more information, see here|.
 
werndl

Please join us in congratulating Charlotte Werndl|, Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the LSE, on winning the James T. Cushing Memorial Prize in History and Philosophy of Physics for 2011.

The John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, along with the Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame and the Advisory Committee of the James T. Cushing Memorial Prize in History and Philosophy of Physics awarded the prize for her paper "What Are the New Implications of Chaos for Unpredictability?" published in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science in 2009. The Cushing Prize carries a $1000 award plus an invitation to deliver a lecture as part of the History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium at the University of Notre Dame. For more information, please see the announcement here|.
 
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Professor Richard Bradley| has been awarded an AHRC Fellowship to complete his book on "Decision Making with a Human Face". The £82K award is to provide salary replacement for the duration of the award (January to September 2012).
 
cug

LSE–Philosophy leads on Graduate Prospects in the University League and Subject Tables

1. LSE–Philosophy received the highest score (86) of any Philosophy Department in the UK on Graduate Prospects in the University League and Subject Tables followed by Oxford (82) and Durham (78).

2. In overall scores, LSE-Philosophy placed second with a score of 98.1, with Oxford in first place (100) and Cambridge in third place (94.9).

3. Within the LSE, the graduate prospects score for Philosophy (86) is comparable to the scores for Economics (90), Accounting and Finance (88) and Mathematics (84). Click here| for more information.

 
LSE building
The Andrea Mannu Prize UG for 2010/11 was awarded to Jonathon Gunn for best performance by an undergraduate in any degrees administered by the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method. The Departmental Teaching Prize was awarded to Ben Ferguson.
 
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Sarah Alexandra George, a third year BSc student in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, has been awarded the 'Cara Giulietta' ('Dear Juliet') prize after writing a letter to Shakespeare's most romantic heroine. For more info, click here|. To read her prize-winning letter, click here|.
 
marcoci
Please join us in congratulating Alexandru Marcoci on winning this year's Lakatos MSc Scholarship. Alexandru received a BA in Philosophy (2008) from the University of Bucharest and an MSc in Logic (2010) from the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation in Amsterdam. He is mainly interested in formal epistemology, (dynamic) epistemic logic and game theory. His research so far has been on offering a formal framework for reasoning about the surprise examination paradox and showing what impact this paradox can have on logics of belief and knowledge. Currently he is interested in the epistemic foundations of game theory and in modal logics for reasoning about games. Outside academia Alexandru is interested in international relations and in 2011 he was an intern at the Romanian Embassy in the Hague.
 
philosoverse
The 2012 issue of Philosoverse, a magazine at the intersection of philosophy and poetry created and designed by students in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, is now available online|.
 
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Popper Seminars|

The Popper Seminar is our core Departmental Seminar.

 
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Choice Group Events|

The LSE Choice Group is a group of philosophers, political scientists and economists based mainly at the LSE and with a shared interest in the theory of rational decision making in individuals and groups and its application to economic, political and social questions.
 
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Sigma Club Events|

The Sigma Club organises seminars and talks dealing with issues in the philosophy and foundations of modern physics. The meetings of the Club are held in the seminar room of the Centre for the Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS) at the LSE (T206) on selected Mondays from 5pm to 7pm (maps and directions|).
 
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CPNSS Events|

The Centre for Natural and Social Science (CPNSS) organises seminars, lectures, conferences and workshops as part of its routine activities. It also hosts events organised by the LSE Philosophy Department and the British Society for the Philosophy of Science.
 
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The Forum for European Philosophy Events|

The Forum for European Philosophy organises and runs a varied programme of philosophy and interdisciplinary events, including public lectures, panel discussions, dialogues and seminars. Events are free and open to the public.
 
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The study of philosophy may be said to have two chief goals. First, to examine certain fundamental issues and problems, many of which have fascinated and pre-occupied philosophers since Greek times. For instance, what is knowledge and how is it acquired? Can we hope to possess as exact a knowledge of humans and human society as scientists seem to have of electrons and planets; and can the methods of the physical sciences be applied to psychology, sociology, etc? Or does the existence of consciousness and free will call for a different kind of knowledge and special methods of investigation when dealing with humans? Another example: what is the basis and proper nature of systems of ethics? Could these be objective, or are moral beliefs essentially a matter of personal taste?

The second goal of a philosophy course is to acquire a training in and knowledge of the techniques of correct reasoning and, to this end, formal logic is an important part of the course, as too the principles of evidence and of inductive reasoning. Since these principles of correct reasoning apply to any subject matter, the philosophy course provides a general basis for a very wide range of occupations and professions.

Like other courses in philosophy, ours are definitely academic (that is, guided by intellectual interests) rather than vocational. However, it is simply false (although widely believed) that such 'purely academic' courses harm one's employment prospects. The abilities that studying philosophy fosters above all others are those of understanding difficult material, imposing an order on it, summarising succinctly the claims made and spotting and evaluating the arguments for and against those claims. These abilities are clearly extremely useful in a whole range of occupations. Employers often stress that they prefer someone with a good 'general' degree to someone with a poorer degree in a 'relevant' area; and clearly the more interesting and challenging you find the material you study, the better motivated you will be to do the work necessary to obtain a good degree.

The LSE Philosophy Department offers courses in all the principal traditional philosophical subjects, though department members mostly specialise in their research interests in the philosophy of the natural and social sciences.

See below for more information on the various programmes on offer.

Undergraduate Programme

MSc Programmes

 
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LSE Philosophy scored third in the Complete University Guide with the highest score of all UK Philosophy Departments (84) for Graduate Prospect. The Graduate Prospects score for Philosophy is comparable to the scores for other top Departments in the LSE, e.g. Economics (87), Politics (84) and Accounting and Finance (83).