Eliot Michaelson

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at King's College London. I work mostly on philosophy of language, though really I'm interested in most parts of contemporary philosophy. Recently, I've been investigating what one might call ‘non-ideal’ theories of meaning and communication, theories that give up on assumptions like: that speakers are always trying to make themselves known, that speakers know their own minds, or that there is some ideal way in which a listener should interpret an utterance. While perhaps initially justified, such idealizations have long outlived their usefulness and have saddled us with a rather impoverished understanding of how we use language—not just to reason together and coordinate our actions, but also to avoid responsibility for what we say, to undermine the boundary between public and private speech, and to manipulate and bully each other in myriad different ways.

From 2020–2023, I will be joining Rachel Sterken and Jessica Pepp on twin research projects investigating fake news and the nature of online speech. These projects are supported by the Swedish Research Council and the Research Council of Norway, respectively. If you would like to take part in either of these projects, please get in touch.

Occasionally, I also try to do non-academic philosophy. I once made a series of short videos on philosophy with the actor James Franco. Those can be found here.