Apr 2018Karl Marx, Alive or Dead? A Philosophical Investigation – 14/04/2018 (Saturday):
A Saturday School with John Clarke
This talk will focus, not on the later Marx of Das Kapital, but on his early philosophical writings, influenced by Kant, Hegelian Idealism, and Romanticism. These writings, many of which were only rediscovered long after his death, were a powerful protest against humanity’s sense of alienation and the loss of inner as well as external freedom, and against the systemic dehumanisation of the working conditions of his time. The talk will also speculate about the relevance of these writings to our own time where the question of our humanity and its future is once again a spectre haunting us.
Mar 2018Deepak Chopra and What Happens After We Die – 15/03/2018 (Thursday):
Presented by Jim McCluskey
Further details will be posted here
Feb 2018Hegel and Progress – 24/02/2018 (Saturday):
A Saturday School presented by Phil Walden
What does Hegel mean by the increasing instantiation of rational principles as history unfolds? Surely, history is characterised by good and bad in equal measure (or good and evil if you prefer)? Not according to Hegel. The Swabian philosopher has been subject to various charges of arrogance or the like by such illustrious figures as Bertrand Russell and Karl Popper (and many more). Whilst acknowledging that Hegel made mistakes, the speaker will try to show that his philosophical system and philosophical method represented a high point in philosophy which we have yet to recover, let alone surpass. This is not a hagiography, but I hope to show how Hegel might help us with the problems of today such as entrenched neoliberalism and postmodernism.
Jan 2018Nuances of Language – 18/01/2018 (Thursday):
Presenter: Monica Booth
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 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, a philosopher of language and mind, who pioneered linguistic phenomenology.
Dec 2017Narrative and Post-Truth Reality - Should we be worried about 'Alternative Facts'? – 02/12/2017 (Saturday):
Presented by Filiz Peach
The reason I chose this topic is due to the fact that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth era’ seem to be all around us, particularly during the past couple of years. There is a noticeable decline of the principles regarding what is discussed and narrated in the Public Sphere. It seems that honesty and accuracy are no longer considered to be the highest priority. Does truth not matter to us any more? Can there be different versions of truth? At the moment, individual private views (political, social or cultural) are universally accessible to the whole world. How does this state of affairs affect public opinion? Does it have an effect on democracy? Is it a new phenomenon or have we always had it in different forms in the past? Some argue that the global network has become a dangerous structure. To what extent can it be true? In order to address all these questions we shall discuss some significant concepts, such as narrative, time and post-modernity which are closely connected with ‘post truth trend’.
Nov 2017German Idealism and English Poetry: Wordsworth and Schelling – 13/11/2017 (Monday):
A talk presented by Barrie Selwyn
This is the talk that was postponed from 7/11/17
Oct 2017Wittgenstein - Why is he so Important? – 07/10/2017 (Saturday):
Speaker: Jim Grant
Wittgenstein once said he felt he was writing ‘for people who would think in a different way, breathe a different air of life’ from that of his contemporaries. In the session we will examine the impact of Wittgenstein on modern philosophy, explore some of the main themes of his thought, and ask whether his very radical and distinctive conception of philosophy and philosophical method might point us towards new ways of thinking.
Sep 2017The Nature of Mind – 21/09/2017 (Thursday):
A talk presented by Michael Southgate
The nature of the mind has long eluded a philosophical or scientific definition. We shall discuss observable functions of ‘Mind’ and consider various ‘maps’ of the mind.
Jun 2017Has Science Stolen Philosophy's Script? – 03/06/2017 (Saturday):
A Saturday School with Professor John Clarke
A discussion of Stephen Hawking’s view that philosophy has been displaced by science in the investigation of the ultimate questions of life.
May 2017What is Aesthetic Pleasure? – 18/05/2017 (Thursday):
A general discussion with mini-presentations on different aspects of the question.
Apr 2017Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Poor Poet and Great Philosopher? – 11/04/2017 (Tuesday):
Peter Bulmer will be discussing Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he says:
If you thought my fact-packed session last year on the philosopher Boethius was an egregiously amusing way of passing a couple of hours, then come along to my latest extravaganza on the philosopher-poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
“In England,” STC wrote, “I am a poor poet. But in America I am judged a great philosopher.”
But just how important was he? Why isn’t his philosophical writing more widely known? Is he due a revival? Come along to the Adelaide Pub in Teddington on 11th April and find out!
Mar 2017The Philosophy of William James – 25/03/2017 (Saturday):
A Saturday School with Jane O’Grady, London School of Philosophy
Any philosophy that leaves out subjectivity and our sense of the divine, said William James, is ‘ridiculous’. Pragmatist and psychologist, idealist and materialist, ‘systematically erratic’ – he is closer to the Continentals than to Anglo-American philosophers in tackling lived experience, both immediate and transcendent.
Feb 2017Recent Philosophy and the Meaning of Life. – 11/02/2017 (Saturday):
A Saturday School with Chris Hamilton, Kings College London
Many philosophers in the analytic tradition have recently sought to explore the question of the meaning of life. In this class we shall discuss one or two important approaches from this tradition and see how plausible they are. We shall then think about the general approach they adopt and seek to explore an alternative approach indebted to the writings of Hannah Arendt in particular.
Jan 2017Coining, Context, Contingency: Philosophy as History? – 19/01/2017 (Thursday):
An Exploration of the Perennial and the Historically Contingent in Philosophy.
What is the most fruitful way for philosophy and history to interact?
Dec 2016Philosophy and Romanticism – 03/12/2016 (Saturday):
A Saturday School with Barrie Selwyn.
In the so called Romantic era, 1800 – 1850, there was an unprecedented reciprocity between Poetry and Philosophy. Both Wordsworth and Coleridge had a well documented interest in Locke and Kant/Schelling and there were many philosophical themes running through their poems.
Key themes of talk will be:
- Post-Enlightment redefinition of reason – new emphasis on feeling and emotion
- New vocabularies for selfhood and interiority.
- A secular conception of spirituality outside the confines of organized religion
- The redefinition of Nature
- Celebration of excess – anti-puritanism
- Celebration of artistic creativity
Nov 2016The Philosopher as Gadfly – 05/11/2016 (Saturday):
Sep 2016Celebrating Utopia – 22/09/2016 (Thursday):
Gareth Harper will present:
Celebrating Utopia: Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ was first published in December 1516. The talk will consider how far the book was a typical product of Renaissance humanism; and whether Utopian communism was just a rhetorical device, or was intended as a blueprint for the radical re-organization of society.
Jun 2016Karl Popper – 11/06/2016 (Saturday):
Professor John Clarke will present a Saturday School:
Karl Popper on Science, the Open Society and the Open Universe
Popper is best known for his influential ideas on the philosophy of science, but his importance extends much more widely. His concept of the ‘open society’, written in the dark days of fascist tyranny, helped to re-define the ideals of democracy and freedom in the post-war period, and his views on science led to controversial speculations about consciousness and its evolution, about free will and determinism, and to the view that the universe as a whole is in some sense creative.
May 2016Extra-Terrestrial Life – 31/05/2016 (Tuesday):
How Astronomers Search for Planets and Life in the Universe
David Williams will describe the processes astronomers use to search the universe for planets. We will discuss the various ways that humans perceive life on the Earth and the assumptions that are used in planetary searches in space.
The Philosophy of Economics – 10/05/2016 (Tuesday):
Peter Bowman on The Philosophy of Economics
This perhaps not so well known and undervalued discipline relates to economics as the philosophy of science relates to the physical science and jurisprudence to law. It provides the intellectual space in which to examine the underlying assumptions and methodology of economics. This talk will give a brief introduction to the discipline and reveal some of its unexpected findings.