Past Events

Feb 2020

Nice: the Philosophical Implications of a Four Letter Word – 02/02/2020:

Peter Fleming

There are healing forces in our world that get buried under the way language has to serve power, prestige and careers. Peter will try to explore this issue from his therapeutic learning perspective. Including for this meeting is a particular device he uses in his training programmes.

Jan 2020

Nicholas Hyman – The Eerie and Capitalist Realism from Freud via Russia to Mark Fisher – 12/01/2020:

Dec 2019

Bob Clarke - Postmodernism Revisited via its Altercations with Science – 01/12/2019:

The philosophical and sociological Postmodernism of the 1970s to 90s, most specifically its relativisation of ‘truth’, stands accused by some of contributing to undesirable features in today’s popular politics. We will examine Postmodernism’s past altercations with Science to see how this may have come about. On the way we will look at ‘Modernism’, the Western ‘Postmodern Condition’, the concept of the ‘Social Construction of Science’, the ‘Science Wars’, ‘The Sokal Hoax’ and, in particular, the philosophical and sociological thought of Bruno Latour. Are today’s ‘Climate Change Denial’ and ’Anti-vaxxing’ movements products of late 20th Century intellectual Postmodernism?

Nov 2019

'Is There a Case for Slavery?' by the Revd Frank Julian Gelli – 03/11/2019:

This paper is not meant to advocate slavery but to explain possible reasons for it today, morally speaking.

The paper distinguishes between a):involuntary or compelled slavery and b):voluntary or chosen servitude.

After some historical considerations and clarifications, I shall discuss a possible case for voluntary slavery, drawing chiefly on the ideas put forward by the libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick.

Involuntary or forced slavery may seem at first morally abhorrent but I shall also briefly explain its possible grounds.

Oct 2019

Is there a way for Liberal Democracy to survive in the 21st Century? - Nicholas Hyman – 06/10/2019:

What is Liberalism and ditto Democracy?

Travails and parallels from 1930’s, contrasts too

Sep 2019

Aspects of Liberalism – 01/09/2019:

A debate on the multifaceted nature of liberalism
We invite attendees to present their views of liberalism (5 min) followed by discussion

Aug 2019

Eric Phipps - Spinoza – 04/08/2019:

This introduction proposes to open the floor for a discussion on the relevance of Spinoza for 21st. century Humankind.


Jul 2019

Peter Fleming - Tenderness – 07/07/2019:

King Lear, Michelangelo, Dr King and what Freud did not know

Jun 2019

Cognitive Biases - Kieran Quill – 02/06/2019:

Kieran Quill will speak on Cognitive Biases

The slant with be towards these universal biases at work in conducting scientific research, and in everyday life.  Are these biases common in philosophy too?  Do philosophers acknowledge them?  Are there corrective mechanisms- as there are in the sciences?  Does it make sense to have “corrective mechanisms” in philosophy?

May 2019

What is the Socratic Method - Nicky Hyman – 05/05/2019:

Nicholas Hyman explores what is called the Socratic Method, akin if not also known as Platonic Dialogue. Drawing out a conclusion is not just persuasive and convincing. We learn why something is the case, not from authority, and still less from pious conformity. Other individuals may then be enlightened, woke indeed.
Richard Price and Plato’s Phaedrus induces how to proceed, ineluctably and with clarity. Divisions between beauty and truth are not to be overcome, contrary to Keats’s exhilarating injunction.

Apr 2019

The Philosophical Implications of March 29th - Iain Orr – 07/04/2019:

Iain Orr will lead a discussion on the Philosophical implications of March 29th

Mar 2019

Karl Popper and Biology - Bob Clarke – 03/03/2019:

In a late change to our schedule Bob Clarke will present a talk on Karl Popper and Biology
Karl Popper had an abiding interest in the Philosophy of Biology. His views on Darwinian Evolution were particularly controversial, but they formed an integral part of his theory of Human Knowledge – an “Evolutionary Epistemology”

Feb 2019

Conspiracies that never die - Nicky Hyman – 03/02/2019:

The age of President Trump, the Brexit campaign and illiberal regimes in Budapest and Warsaw has parallels with the anti-intellectual, fascisant climate of the 1930s.
A cluster of tenets are underpinned by a conspiracy theory, its evidence adaptable to antisemitism, racism or Russophobia. What are the philosophical and historical roots of these belief systems?

Jan 2019

Kierkegaard's Fear And Trembling - Barrie Selwyn – 06/01/2019:

Barrie Selwyn  will speak on Kierkegaard’s Fear And Trembling

Dec 2018

Negative Dialectics - Monica Booth – 02/12/2018:

Part I: Concepts

How does Adorno mark the difference between his materialism and Hegel’s idealism?

You are recommended to read  #5, “negative dialectics” from the Stanford Philosophy website entry on Adorno.  The article points to some of the concepts Adorno raises in his Frankfurt University lectures 1965/66 which be the basis of the talk

Nov 2018

Pride - Peter Fleming – 04/11/2018:

Oct 2018

Socrates, the Hemlock Cup and the Socratic Method - Nicholas Hyman – 07/10/2018:

How do we know about the life and death of Socrates, and what is the Socratic method?

Sep 2018

Averroës - Ibn Rushd – 02/09/2018:

The philosophy of Ibn Rushd – Frank Gelli

Ibn Rushd – known in the West as Averroës – is arguably the greatest Arab/Muslim philosopher. The important issues he grappled with are still with us today, the age of fundamentalism, ISIS and the so-called ‘clash of civilisations’. I will discuss some key feature of his thought but if you want a brief, fictional and amusing introduction to this great man’s ideas, read J.L. Borges’ entertaining short story ‘Averroës’s Search’, Available in paperback, in any collection of Borges’ works

Aug 2018

A discussion on the family - Introduced by Iain Orr – 05/08/2018:

Iain Orr will introduce a discussion on “The family – a necessary concept in ethics (Confucian, Nicomachean, Kantian and Utilitarian?), political philosophy and epistemology (and even metaphysics), or not?”