Acanthodiformes family
Actinopterygii family


Philosophical Mini-Debates

02 January 2018       Philosophical Mini-Debates, chaired by Dr Don Cameron, BRLSI Philosophy Convenor

For our January meeting, we debated a number of controversial topics in philosophy. It was good to see that everyone participated in the discussions and the pre and post voting produced some very interesting and varied results.

If you are interested in downloading the introductory paragraphs for each of the topics, please click on the link below.



Philosophy for the School Run

03 October 2017             Philosophy for the School Run                Tom Bigglestone      The Philosophy Man


Do you know a child who loves questions? Do these range from the mundane to the meaningful? Do you want to unlock the bigger ones, and do it more often?

It’s incredibly rewarding to discuss philosophical questions with our children. It’s never something you can ‘over-do’. So why don’t we do more of it?

Philosophy fo the School Run.pdf

Practical Reason

05 September 2017    7.30pm

Practical Reason

Professor John Broome, University of Oxford



Cafe Philo - Does Truth Matter?

04 July 2017       Does Truth Matter?

Discussion chaired by Professor Gerard Kilroy
In an era ‘of post-truth politics’ truth is said to matter less than emotional preference. The desire for toleration seems to have moved us all towards a relativist position. Is there merely a basket of shifting personal truths, yours and mine? Or are some truths absolute? Is truth itself absolute?
Café Philo - Does Truth Matter.docx

The Problem of Evil

02 June 2017                                         THE PROBLEM OF EVIL

                                                                          Dr Karim Esmail, Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion,
Logical Problem of Evil.docx

Artists and Engineers


Tuesday 7th March 2017


Professor DH Mellor - Cambridge University


Artist and Engineer.pdf

Gossip, Power and Culture

Gossip, Power & Culture - The Engine of Society

07 February 2017       ACB Wilson, BRLSI Philosophy Group


Gossip, Power and Culture Feb 2017.docx

Cafe Philo - How good is Democracy?


Café Philo


How good is democracy?



Everyone knows that democracy began its varied life in a small polis or city-state called Athens, and that Winston Churchill, in 1947, wittily said that it was “worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Sex: The Philosophy

Sex: The Philosophy

Tuesday 29 November 2016            Dr Donald Cameron BRLSI Convenor


The Psychology of Ghosts and Hauntings

To download a copy of the full lecture, please click on the link below.




How we think (and how we ought to)

03 October 2016                Professor Richard Pettigrew, Department of Philosophy,University of Bristol



Cafe Philo - What is Happiness?

What is happiness?

The happy are happy in possessing the good, and there’s no need for us to ask why men should want to be happy.

                                    Plato, Symposium, 204e.

He is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1101.a.10.

Man wills happiness of necessity, nor can he will not to be happy, or to be unhappy.

Philosophy and the Internet

Philosophy and the Internet

BRLSI 12.7.16

Dr Matthew Edward Harris


Stoic Philosophy & the Art of Self-Mastery

5 July 2016

Stoic Philosophy – The art of self-mastery    Dr. Kurt Lampe, Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol

The Evolution of Religion

The Evolution of Religion: Is it Adaptive to Believe  that God’s on Your Side?

07 June 2016

Dr Michael Price, Brunel University

Is Religiosity an Adaptation?  
What does this question mean?
What’s ‘religiosity’?
• More psychological than ‘religion’  
• William James (1902) provides a useful low-resolution definition

What’s ‘religiosity’?

Is Philosophy dead?

Is Philosophy dead?


On the 17th May, 2011 the Daily Telegraph reported:


Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist, has declared that “Philosophy is dead”.

Can Science and Information Technology Replace Philosophy?


Dr Donald Cameron, BRLSI Convenor

5 April 2016


Tools to improve your thinking

1 Mar 2016 Professor Daniel Dennett, Tufts University


A video presentation by Daniel Dennett, one of America’s leading philosophers. He is filmed speaking at the Royal Geographical Society on 22 May 2013 on the occasion of the publication of his book ‘Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking’.

You can’t do much carpentry with your bare hands and you can’t do much thinking with your bare brain.

Why is Speech So Special?

2 Feb 2016 19:30 Dr Gerard Kilroy - University College London


Early societies prized their bards as story-tellers, historians and poets; Socrates asked his awkward questions before Plato turned them into dialogues; the greatest literature, like Sophocles and Shakespeare, has emerged from societies of the spoken word; and our democracy, like the Athenian, is based on a parliament. Yet much of our communication is now by email, text or tweet. Are we in danger of losing some sacred and irreplaceable good? Why is speech so special?

Holy Good or Wholly Good?

5 Jan 2016 19:30 Duncan McGibbon - BRLSI Convenor


The dilemma has had a major effect on the philosophical theism of the monotheistic religions, but in a modified form: ‘Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?’ Ever since Plato's original discussion, this question has presented a problem for some theists and atheists, though others have thought it a false dilemma, and it continues to be an object of theological and philosophical discussion today.

Holy Good or Wholly Good?

Holy Good, or Wholly Good?


Academic Summary


Weird Science - An Introduction to Anomalistic Psychology


Professor Christopher French, Goldsmiths, University of London

18 Dec 2015  


What is the use of History?

3 Nov 2015 Dr Gerard Kilroy Details The study of history is always recommended, but what can we learn? Profound historical studies alert us to the complexity of past events, and we try to avoid making the same mistakes (like invading Afghanistan), but most history is so simplified by national bias that its distorted lessons barely instruct anyone. Our view of the Tudors, the French Revolution, the First World War, Hitler and Stalin have all settled into grotesque stories as comfortable as our armchairs and as threadbare as our slippers. Can history teach us uncomfortable truths?

The Subject of Enhancement: Augmented Capacities, Extended Cognition and Delicate Ecologies of Mind

6 Oct 2015 18:30 Dr Darian Meacham, University of the West of England Details The nature of the human subject is one of the great topics of philosophy. Starting from the current debate over human enhancement technology, I argue that the human subject is itself a technological enhancement, a technological object. This has repercussions for how we understand the project and risks of human enhancement.



Philosophy, Religion and the Meaning of Life

7 Jul 2015 Professor John Cottingham - Heythrop College, University of London Details Philosophers have long been preoccupied with questions about happiness and the good life. But human beings require more for their happiness than security and wellbeing: they hunger for meaning in their lives. This talk examines two main approaches to finding meaning in life: those which invoke a transcendent source of meaning and value, as in the theistic religions, and those which look for immanent meaning, within the ordinary human world.

What is Justice?

05 May 2015 Dr Gerard Kilroy Details Every child seems born with an innate sense of justice. “It’s not fair”, springs early to the lips, and not always from self-interest. Plato thought justice was essential “ if a state is to exist at all” (Protagoras, 324.d). St Augustine argued that “If you take away justice, what is a state but a large group of bandits?” (Remota itaque justitia, quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia, Civ. Dei. IV.4). But what is this essential quality, and why does it seem to occupy a special place, acknowledged by all societies, in the human consciousness?