Feb 2017Recent Philosophy and the Meaning of Life. – 11/02/2017:
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:
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:
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:
Sep 2016Celebrating Utopia – 22/09/2016:
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:
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:
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:
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.
Apr 2016Being, Doing, Willing – 30/04/2016:
Jane O’Grady, London School of Philosophy will speak on:
- Being, Doing, Willing
The ancient Greeks and Romans are often said to have lacked a concept of ‘will’ in their picture of human nature. Yet for Augustine in the fourth century, throughout medieval philosophy, in Descartes and Kant, the will was the essential human faculty – ideally good and strong, and in any case free. What was, and is, the significance of ‘the will’?
Mar 2016The Philosophy of Iris Murdoch – 19/03/2016:
Fauzia Rahman will present the Philosophy of Iris Murdoch (1919-1999).
Iris Murdoch’s philosophy was generally overlooked by her fellow academics during her lifetime. However, her moral philosophy and correlative metaphysics is inspiring a new generation.
Murdoch’s methodology is strikingly innovative, driven by her objections to moral theories which neglect the ﬁrst-person perspective of ‘what it is like’ to engage with ethical dilemmas. According to Murdoch, moral judgement cannot be learned from a set of rules. Rather it requires careful attention to other persons in order to see and respond to them as they really are. For Murdoch, the moral task is to defeat ‘the fat relentless ego’.
Murdoch challenges the scientiﬁc conception of reality, claiming that the idea of objective reality undergoes important modiﬁcations when it is understood in relation to the progressing life of a person.
During this session we shall learn about Murdoch and the importance of her approach to both ethics and psychology.