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The Edgington Lectures

The Edgington Lectures are a biennial pair of lectures held in the Department of Philosophy of Birkbeck, University of London. The lectures are free to attend and open to all, and each pair is accompanied by a graduate workshop in philosophy devoted to, and led by, the work of that year's Edgington lecturer. The lectures are named in honour of Professor Dorothy Edgington.

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Dorothy Edgington

Dorothy Edgington is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at Birkbeck. She was Waynflete Professor of Metaphysics at Oxford, 2003-2006, where she was also a professor from 1996-2001. The rest of her career has been at Birkbeck, after reading PPE and doing a B.Phil. in Philosophy at Oxford. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, was President of the Aristotelian Society 2007-2008 and President of the Mind Association 2004–5. She is an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford, and has held visiting positions in Canada, United States, Mexico and Italy.

Dorothy works mainly in philosophical logic, particularly on conditionals, counterfactual reasoning, probabilistic reasoning and vagueness. She was recently involved in a project on Probabilities, Propensities and Conditionals at the Institute of Philosophy.

Past lectures


  • The fifth biennial Edgington Lectures were due to be delivered by Professor Cathrine Z. Elgin (Harvard). Professor Elgin's topic was 'The Realm of Epistemic Ends'.
  • The 2020 lectures were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


  • The fourth Edgington Lectures were given by Katherine Hawley (St Andrews) on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 June, 2018. Professor Hawley's topic was 'What Trustworthy People Do.'
  • The papers in the graduate workshop were given by:
    • Joshua Habgood-Coote (Bristol), Contextualism about Competence
    • Cathy Mason (Cambridge), Understanding Hope
    • John Brennan, (Fordham) Trust in the World and the Virtues under Oppression
    • Fabio Ceravolo (Leeds), First Principles for Mereological Innocence
    • Suki Finn (Southampton), Pregnancy: A Case of Applied Metaphysics
    • Thomas Mitchell (Oxford), The Motivation for Trustworthiness
    • Andrew Kirton (Manchester), Retrospective Trust and Distrust: Putting Pressure on 'Reliance Plus' and the 'Commitment Account'


  • The third Edgington Lectures were given by Kit Fine (NYU) on June 3 and 4, 2016. Professor Fine's topic was 'Compliance and Command: A Truthmaker Approach to Imperative and Deontic Logic'.
  • The papers in the graduate workshop were given by:
    • Stephen Duxbury (Cambridge), Mathematical Logic and the Reduction of Modality to Essence as Real Definition
    • Charles Jansen (UCL), De-fining Parthood
    • Samuel Kimpton-Nye, Necessary Laws and the Problem of Counterlegals
    • Hsuan-Chih Lin (Birkbeck), Semantic Difference and Compositionality in Semantic Relationism
    • Antonella Mallozzi (CUNY-The Graduate Center), The A Priori Route from Essence to Necessity
    • Siobhan Moriarty (Sheffield), Fine's Modal Puzzle
    • Kevin Richardson (MIT), Grounding as Reduction
    • Nicola Spinelli (Warwick), Global Accounts of Necessity


  • The second Edgington Lectures were given by Rae Langton (Cambridge), on January 24 and 25, 2014. Professor Langton lectured on 'Race, Gender, and Hate Speech'.
  • The papers in the graduate workshop were given by:
    • Erin Beeghly (Berkeley), What's (Morally) Wrong with Stereotyping
    • Konstancja Duff (Sussex), They Will All Drown in the Depths of Things as they Are
    • Rachel Fraser (Oxford), The Ethics of Metaphor
    • Cassie Herbert (Georgetown), Slurs and Sluts: The Precarious Performative Structure of Reclamation Projects
    • James Kirkpatrick (Oxford), Hate Speech, Generics and Linguistic Revision
    • Charlotte Knowles (Birkbeck), Another Form of Silencing
    • Kameron St. Clare (Sheffield), Devolution Revoltion: Subordinating Hate Speech and the Problems of Authority


  • The inaugural Edgington Lectures were given by John McDowell (Pittsburgh) on March 2 and 3, 2012. Professor McDowell's theme was 'The Epistemology of Perception'.
  • The papers in the graduate workshop were given by:
    • Paul Broadbent (Birmingham), Must All Facts Be Available to All?
    • Ezra Cohen (Sussex), Mind and World: An Endless Oscillation
    • Peter Dennis (Reading/Columbia), (Really) Overcoming Traditional Epistemology
    • Jenny Judge (Cambridge), 'I hear music': the epistemology of auditory perception and its links to musical listening
    • Yair Levy (Oxford), On the Idea of Permissive Epistemic Rules
    • Alan McKay (Queen's University Belfast), Constitution and the Disjunctive Theory
    • Colin McLear (Cornell), Kant and McDowell on Perceptual Givenness
    • Dominic Shaw (York), Openness to the World and Relating to Oneself: McDowell and Merleau-Ponty