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This academic year is drawing to a close. Several excellent pieces of news must be mentioned. We will start a new Single Honours programme in Philosophy from September 2015 and are currently advertising a 2-year full-time lectureship in philosophy (see details below) in connection with this plan for expansion. The number of applications for our undergraduate programmes in Philosophy for 2015/16 increased threefold. Our bid for AHRC PhD funding was successful. We hope to advertise at least another PhD studentship for the next academic year. We are in the process of creating a new Research Centre for Kantian Studies at Keele, in association with Oxford University and University of St Andrews. And these are not all.

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In the meantime, we continued to run the usual events: the Royal Institute of Philosophy Invited Lectures (details below), the ‘Jean-Jacques Rousseau’ Annual Lecture and Conference, which was this year part of a 3-day Kant Festival, a reading group (on Bernard Williams’s Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy) and a study group (on Kant’s Religion within the Bounds of Reason). We are in the process of organising a summer school in methodology in political philosophy (Keele, 15-25 June), for which we received funding from the ECPR, and a major conference on Kant on Politics and Religion, jointly organised by the UK Kant Society and the North American Kant Society, will be hosted at Keele in September 2015.

The final 2014/15 Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture will be next week (details are provided below, including details of the previous lectures for this semester). We are considering introducing also a virtual summer seminar series (details will be announced here in due course). More news will be posted here soon.


Final Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture for this academic year:

Arguing for Cosmopsychism
By: Philip Goff (CEU)
On: Tuesday, 21st of April 2015
From: 6-7.30 pm
At: CBA0.060, Chancellor’s Building
Keele University

All Welcome! Wine!

There are good a priori reasons to think that consciousness is irreducible. There are good empirical reasons to think consciousness is not fundamental. Because of this, science and philosophy seem to be locked in perpetual dispute with respect to consciousness. I argue that cosmopsychism, the view that the cosmos is the one and only fundamental entity and is conscious, is able to respect both what science seems to be showing us, and what philosophy seems to be showing us, about the nature of consciousness. This gives us strong reason to think cosmopsychism is true.

About the Speaker:
Philip Goff is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Central European University in Budapest. His main research is the mind-body problem: arguing against physicalism and defending the Russell-Eddington inspired solution to the mind-body problem which has become known as ‘Russellian monism’. Philip favours a panpsychist form of this view. He is currently working on a monograph defending these positions entitled ‘Consciousness and fundamental reality’. More recent research interests include defending a partially non-realist conception of Christianity, and the ethics of taxation.

17 March 2015: Why Does Ought Imply Can?
Robert Stern (Sheffield)

This paper examines different ways in which the principle that ‘ought implies can’ might be rendered plausible.I set the principle in the context of the kind of theories of obligation that might go with it (where I consider divine command accounts, natural law accounts, self-legislation accounts and social command accounts), and explore the way that each offers a rather different perspective on the principle, and why it might hold. My aim here is not to defend the principle as such, but to explore the kind of commitments that might be required to make it seem compelling, where it turns out that they can be interestingly various.

About the Speaker:
Robert Stern has been at the University of Sheffield since 1989, having been a graduate and Research Fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge. He is the author of Hegel, Kant and the Structure of the Object (Routledge 1990), Transcendental Arguments and Scepticism (Oxford University Press, 2000), Hegel’s ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’ (Routledge 2002), and Understanding Moral Obligation: Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard (Cambridge University Press, 2012), while a collection of his papers was published by Oxford University Press in 2009 under the title Hegelian Metaphysics. A second collection of papers entitled Kantian Ethics will appear later this year. He is currently working on a new project concerning the Danish philosopher and theologian K. E. Løgstrup, for which he has an AHRC Fellowship.

3 March 2015: Kant and Territorial Rights
Alice Pinheiro-Walla (UCC)

In this paper, I analyse Kant’s idea that rights to land are a necessary requirement of pure practical reason and its relation to Kant’s strongly undertheorized, secularised version of “common possession of the earth”. Kant reinterprets the traditional modern idea of common possession as the external relations between individuals in space, thereby bringing the occupation of space and consequently territory especially to the fore in his legal theory. I defend the view that territorial rights in Kant’s account are important for two reasons: firstly, they provide a relatively omnilateral standard for quantifying acquisition compared to the state of nature; secondly they enable the necessary transitional steps towards a condition of cosmopolitan distributive justice, towards which we have a duty to strive. However, territorial rights can be limited by the involuntary need of outsiders to occupy space. This is because common possession of the earth is the legal foundation of both the right to control territory and the right of involuntary visitors to be admitted in another’s territory, as illustrated by Kant’s account of cosmopolitan right.

About the Speaker:
Alice Pinheiro Walla is lecturer in Philosophy at University College Cork, Ireland. She has her PhD from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland (2012). Her research areas are Immanuel Kant, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy and History of Philosophy. She has published a number of articles on Kant’s moral and legal philosophy and is currently working on a book entitled Happiness in Kant’s Practical Philosophy. She has recently started a research project developing a theory of territorial rights based on Kant’s notion of Common Possession of the Earth.

17 February 2015: Deception
J. J. Valberg (UCL)

So-called ethical theories, like Kant’s and Utilitarianism, seem not to give us any insight into what actually bothers about wronging someone, and in that sense not to give us moral insight into the wrongness of those of our actions we know to be wrong. The paper considers the case of personal deception – in the hope, at least in this case, of gaining some such insight.

About the Speaker:
J.J. Valberg taught briefly at the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago before coming to the UK where he spent his teaching career at University College London. He is the author of The Puzzle of Experience (Oxford) and Dream, Death and the Self (Princeton).


3 February 2015: Two Ways to Connect Reasons and Reasoning
Jonathan Way (Southampton)

Evidentialism is the thesis that all reasons to believe p are evidence that p. Evidentialism implies that incentives for believing p – such as the fact that believing p would make you happy – are not, thereby, reasons to believe p. Several authors have recently defended evidentialism on the grounds that (i) reasons to believe must be considerations we can reason from and (ii) we cannot reason from incentives for believing p. In this paper, I argue that these arguments fail because they ignore the possibility of reasoning badly from incentives to belief. I then offer a new argument for evidentialism, which turns on a connection between reasons and good reasoning. I also consider how these arguments apply to pragmatic reasons for intention and other attitudes.

About the Speaker:
Jonathan Way is lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Southampton. He works on issues in ethics and epistemology, broadly construed.


Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy

Lecturer in Philosophy

Starting salary: Grade 7a, £33,242 (fixed term for 2 years)

The School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy wishes to appoint a talented academic to a full-time 2-year fixed-term Lectureship in Philosophy. It is expected that you will commence in post on the 1st September 2015.

The successful applicant will have a PhD in Philosophy, an excellent research profile relative to her or his career stage, and abilities to convene and teach undergraduate modules in their respective areas of competence.

The area of specialisation is open, but we have teaching needs in the areas of Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Science, Ancient Philosophy and Continental Philosophy; Ancient Philosophy (possibly including non-Western philosophy) and Continental Philosophy are our most immediate teaching needs. Excellent candidates from other areas of specialisation will be considered, but those with research interests and teaching experience in the areas mentioned above might be preferred. Evidence of engagement with the impact agenda might also be an advantage.

The position is designed to complement existing teaching and research strengths in the Philosophy Programme, particularly with a view to the introduction, from September 2015, of a new Single-Honours Programme in Philosophy. Student satisfaction is one of Keele University’s great strengths, so we would hope to recruit an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher able to build on this reputation. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to teaching and supervision at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, to discharge any administrative duties as required by the Head of School, as well as to conduct research and/or entrepreneurial activities in the field of Philosophy. Early career researchers are encouraged to apply.

The successful applicants will join a friendly and intellectually stimulating programme, which is part of a cosmopolitan and interdisciplinary school.

Informal enquiries may be made in confidence to the Director of the Philosophy Programme, Dr Sorin Baiasu: or the Head of School, Professor Bulent Gokay:

For full post details and to apply, please visit:


Closing date for applications: 28th April 2015
Interviews will be held on: 19th May 2015
Post reference: AC15/21

Promoting Equality, Valuing Diversity.
See job description for further details.