Past Events

Jun 2018

Causality and physical history – 03/06/2018:

Björn Patricks will present the book Ubiquity.

Narratives of history are always problematic, as they are made after the event, and can offer a very limited number of causal chains. But focusing on the underlying structures and forces at work can help to make sense of historical developments. Mark Buchanan’s book Ubiquity use examples from the physical world to compare with social events to maybe shine some light on their nature.


May 2018

Nicholas Hyman - Tacit and Direct Knowledge – 06/05/2018:

How much of our knowledge is direct? Nicholas Hyman explores the area of tacit knowledge with reference to Thomas Kuhn and paradigms

Apr 2018

Iain Orr - Facts and Truth, Guilt and Innocence - Philosophical Reflections on Jury Service – 08/04/2018:

see attached PDF for further details

Facts and Truth, Guilt and Innocence – Philosophical Reflections on Jury Service


Mar 2018

Philosophical Discussion – 04/03/2018:

We were hoping for a talk from Iain Orr but unfortunately he has been taken ill.   Members will still get together for a philosophical discussion at the Draft House.   Please join us

Feb 2018

Peter Fleming - Truth – 04/02/2018:


Peter’s background is not academic but has been as a practitioner in therapy.
The website of his organisation provides context

Jan 2018

Are fascism and exterminism distinct? – 07/01/2018:

Nicholas Hyman
Are fascism and exterminism distinct – with special reference to Mussolini, terrorism and bellicosity, and nuclear weapons 1912-2018?

Dec 2017

Peter Fleming - If we do not understand each other we do not survive. – 03/12/2017:

This is a continuation of Peter Fleming’s talk on Compassion earlier in the year. He will be looking philosophically at the place of empathy in the human condition and speculating on both the origins and necessity of empathy
Peter’s background is not academic but has been as a practitioner in therapy.
The website of his organisation provides context

Nov 2017

Monica Booth - Language – 05/11/2017:

Taken as a system of communication between members of multifarious social groups for cooperating, whether spoken, written, or in sign, language between human beings differentiates itself from language between non-human beings by its nature of having infinite productivity and creativity. Yet, at the same time it depends on the unequivocal acceptance of certain notions, standardized in convention by cooperative individuals and members of social groups, especially if progress is to occur.

If progress is taken to mean either positivism or intuitionism, then the nature of relationship between “language” and “thinking” becomes important. “Thinking” itself has a number of linguistic and philosophical presuppositions.

This linguistic phenomenology talk will give examples beginning with an overview of the general functions of language in Western traditions and finishing with the work of J L Austin in everyday language philosophy

Oct 2017

Nicky Hyman - Russia and whether ten days, or ten years, or a century changed the world : Faustian aspects of ascending to power – 01/10/2017:

Sep 2017

Iain Orr - Tiny /Giant Alice in Wonderland – and the Seven S’s: Size, Shape, Scale, Similarity, Senses, Substance and Solipsism. – 03/09/2017:

Aug 2017

Bob Clarke – Radical Agnosticism – 06/08/2017:

The talk will present ‘Radical Agnosticism’, a position which may be distinguished from both Atheism and Belief (religious or mystical) in its attitude towards transcendent worlds and entities, such as Heaven, The World of Forms, God, Spirits, Angels, Souls, Spirits, etc. In the absence of evidence of their existence, Radical Agnosticism withholds commitment to all such transcendent entities, but, unlike some contemporary forms of Atheism, respects many aspects of religion.

Jul 2017

Perspectives on the Philosophy of Governance – 02/07/2017:

Hartley Millar

Below is the sketch I am currently working to, but there is still time for the focus to sharpen or even for the scope to expand

The talk will attempt to bring together concepts from political philosophy, corporate governance, and management. It will review various manifestations of governance to highlight common factors and sources of puzzlement.
“Human nature” will be considered as a fulcrum on which to leverage theory-building by considering on the one hand our need to deal with people on the basis of reasonable expectations, and on the other our relatively limited ability to predict outcomes even when there is a sincere and skilled attempt to achieve them.
Depending on time, some attention may also be given to the lurking suspicion that theories of governance are part of a discourse that assumes the legitimacy of current power and domination models, and to proposing a clarification of the concepts of law, regulation, governance and governmentality.

Further details are given in the attached PDF

S London Phil 2017-07-02

Jun 2017

The Russian Revolution in Philosophy – 04/06/2017:

Nicholas Hyman explores perceived Russian transitions, including the abolition of serfdom and the abortive 1905 revolution culminating in two revolutions of 1917.

What was the impact of change and of the civil war, on thought about what was possible, and about ends and means, in and beyond Russia, to 1945 and on to the 21st Century?

May 2017

The Philosophy of the Anthropocene – 07/05/2017:

Iain Orr

An introduction to the Anthropocene:

The talk will fall into three sections. First, what implications has the Anthropocene – as an emerging geological concept – for other disciplines: biology, theology, anthropology and philosophy? Second, should Homo sapiens aspire to be the steward of the natural world; indeed, is H sapiens now unable to avoid that responsibility?  Are there non-H.sapiens candidates for that role? Third, what are the political, economic and ethical implications of anthropic global commons? [i.e. What can any human individual, community or country own – and what does ownership mean?] Benjamine Kunkel’s review essay The Capitalocene  in the 2 March 2017 issue of the London Review of Books” is a good introduction to the subject.

LRB · Benjamin Kunkel · The Capitalocene: The Anthropocene




Apr 2017

Peter Fleming - Empathy – 02/04/2017:

Peter Fleming – Founder of the Pellin Institute –

Peter a Humanistic Psychotherapist and will speak on Empathy


Mar 2017

Hegel and Progress (with some reference to Kant and Marx) – 05/03/2017:

The idea of progress only became fully thinkable with the French Revolution in history and German Idealism in philosophy.  Hegel was able to develop an explanatory relationship between progress in philosophy and progress in history.  By looking at Hegel, and looking at Kant and Marx, we will be able to see the basis of progress in philosophical truth and historical truth.  Progress must be defended against the pessimists.

Phil Walden


Feb 2017

The End of Art – 05/02/2017:

Ben Basing

‘I studied Art Theory and Aesthetics in the same way that other people might study pyramids. It was assumed by my tutors and the texts we read that the “modern” approach to Art, Culture and a way of thinking had ended sometime after the Second World War. Art still happens, artefacts still exist and have relevance to our lives, Egypt is still an important country with culture and even pyramids- but we don’t do pyramids any more.’

Jan 2017

Aspects of R G Collingwood – 08/01/2017:

Bob Clarke will discuss R G Collingwood.

R G Collingwood was an English Idealist Philosopher, a polymath, active in Philosophy (and Archaeology!) between the First and Second World Wars. One of his main commitments was to the importance of History for Philosophy. What can he tell us about our own ‘Post-Truth’ age? A few ideas will be canvassed …

R G Collingwood 

Dec 2016

Catastrophes and Philosophy – 04/12/2016:

Nick Hyman

Tambora 1815 to nuclear winter, foreshadowed by the Lisbon earthquake, is a trajectory with impact on mentalities, norms and perceived obligations. Why do most people exclude catastrophes from their probability list?