UCL Philosophy



An anonymous donor funds The Keeling Scholarship, The Keeling Colloquium and The Keeling Annual Lecture.  

From Cambridge to UCL

Born in 1894, was Lecturer and Reader in the Department of Philosophy at UCL. After receiving a BA from Cambridge University (Trinity College), an MA from UCL, and a D-ès-L from the universities of Toulouse and Montpellier, S.V. Keeling was a Lecturer and Reader in the Department of Philosophy at UCL. After a period covering WWII, during which he was Head of Department, Keeling retired in 1954 and moved with his wife to Paris where he remained until his death in 1979.

A passion for Ancient Philosophy 

Keeling himself did not work in the field of ancient philosophy. All the same, Keeling believed strongly in the importance of ancient philosophy, especially Greek philosophy. This is in part because he believed it to be an essential element of the philosophical curriculum, but also stemmed from a simple and enduring affection for the writings of Greek philosophers themselves: it is said that in retirement he and his wife often read Greek philosophy to one another in the evening after dinner.

Intellectual Focus

S.V. Keeling's intellectual efforts were for the most part focused instead on Descartes and McTaggart. His principle published works were an annotated edition of McTaggart’s work, Philosophical Studies (Edward Arnold, London: 1934), a monograph, Descartes (Ernest Benn, London: 1934; 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1968), and in 1948 he gave the annual British Academy Master Mind lecture on Descartes (Proceedings of the British Academy 34 (1948), 57-80).

Anonymous benefactor 

Keeling’s wish to foster and promote ancient philosophy at University College London, for the benefit of students in particular, was observed by a former student of UCL Philosophy and friend of Keeling’s, who, as an anonymous donor, generously founded the annual S.V. Keeling Memorial Lecture in Ancient Philosophy, the Biennial S.V. Keeling Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, and the S.V. Keeling Postgraduate Scholarship in Ancient Philosophy, all administered by the Department of Philosophy at UCL, and organised jointly between the Departments of Philosophy, and Greek and Latin.