Philosophy

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Ethics after Darwin

PHILSOSPHY GROUP
Tuesday 6 January 2009
ETHICS AFTER DARWIN
Dr Donald Cameron, BRLSI Convenor and Trustee

Memes and Genes

PHILSOSPHY GROUP
Tuesday 6 May 2008
MEMES AND GENES
Dr Donald Cameron, BRLSI Convenor

In Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene, the word “meme” was coined. A meme is a fragment of culture which is transmitted between human brains. In doing so it is reproduced, but it can also be changed or “mutate” as it is passed along. The memes are thus analogous to life forms and can evolve by natural selection. Our knowledge of the world, together with our values and ethics, are shaped by the interplay of the two replicators – the genes and the memes.

Consciousness and our Duty to Animals

Consciousness and Our Duty to Animals
Dr. Donald Cameron
BRLSI Member, Convenor Philosophy Group
1 May 2007

Why Sartre Matters

Meeting chaired by Victor Suchar

Dr Benedict O’Donohoe

University of the West of England

7 February 2006

The speaker holds an MA & DPhil from Oxford University, is a Principal Lecturer at the University of the West of England & the Secretary of the UK Sartre Studies Society. He is the author of several papers on Sartre & of a recently published monograph, ‘Sartre's Theatre: Acts for Life’.

Why Sartre Matters

Charles Taylor: A Philosopher For Today

Meeting chaired by Victor Suchar

Harry Cowen

University of Gloucestershire

4 April 2006

Introduction: Biographical material.

Consciousness: An Evolutionary Approach

Tony Wilson BRLSI Member

4 July 2006

Summary

What is the relationship between the mind, which is abstract, and the brain, which is real? Evolution yields an embarrassingly simple answer, which is that the mind is real. Evolution also says that noticing that you are aware of yourself, and wondering what this means, is merely an introspective puzzle, like infinity. And like infinity it doesn’t mean anything at all. Why should it?

What is consciousness?

Re-Assessing Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Victor Suchar

BRLSI Member

7 September 2004

Introduction

Personal Identity as a Philosophical Problem

Geoffrey Catchpole

BRLSI Member & Convenor to World Affairs meetings

5 October 2004.

Mrs Thatcher’s dismissal of the concept of ‘society’ emphasised our modern concern with the nature (and in particular the rights) of the individual. More recently neuroscience and computing have promoted renewed interest in how the brain functions. This stimulated me to give a talk here in May 1997 entitled ‘The ghost in the machine’.(One page of my notes on that will be available after this talk) Today I want to repeat some of that, together with more observations.

Proust & the Nature of Memory

Tony Rawson

BRLSI Member

2 November 2004

Proust recognised that memory involves several distinct processes. In Sodom and Gomorrah he distinguishes between Voluntary memory - to illustrate which he recounts an incident of trying to remember someone's name - and Involuntary memory which is illustrated by the famous incident of the Madeleine dipped in tea, when the recurrence of a rare sensual experience evokes a whole raft of memories of his early life.

What is Religion?

Andy Pepperdine

BRLSI Member

7 December 2004

Bernard Bosanquet’s Philosophical Theory of the State

Tony Waterhouse

BRLSI Member

4 January 2005

This talk is from a history of ideas point of view. It will attempt to describe Bosanquet’s Theory of the State. First I will try to explain some of the thinking underlying it; and then I will briefly touch on criticisms.

Bernard Bosanquet

The importance of Paul Ricoeur: an introduction

Chaired by Victor Suchar

Dr Alison Scott-Baumann

University of Gloucester

1 March 2005

Introduction

Aristotle: an introduction

Meeting chaired by Dr Donald Cameron

Dr Ian Butterworth

University of Bristol

5 April 2005

Following is a very brief summary of the talk:

Agenda

Aristotle: life, works and context
Physics & Metaphysics
Logic & Rhetoric
Politics & Ethics
Poetics
Psychology
Review
1. Aristotle: life, works & context

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Born Stagira (Chalcidice, Thrace); son of Nicomachus, physician to Amyntas, King of Macedon.

Three periods of activity:

Nietzsche 1844-1900: Right Questions, Wrong Answers

Tony Wilson

BRLSI Member

3 May 2005

A critique of Friedrich Nietzsche’s ON THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS – A POLEMIC (1887).

Introduction

I believe most people sense that Nietzsche’s prescriptions for how life should be lived and how society should be organised were wrong, and yet academic philosophers seem to have trouble saying why. I am going to try to explain his big mistake.

Thomas More: a man for all seasons?

Meeting chaired by Dr Donald Cameron

Simon Farrow

BRLSI Member

9 June 2005

A man for all seasons

A man of angel’s wit and singular learning: I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentle-ness, lowliness and affability? And as time requireth a man of marvellous mirth and pastimes: and some-times of as sad gravity. A man for all seasons’.(1)

These lines appear in a Latin and English grammar of 1520 by Robert Whittinton, and but for its familiar final phrase

Philosophy & Territory

Meeting chaired by Dr Donald Cameron

Dr Stuart Elden

International Boundaries Research Unit

Department of Geography, University of Durham

5 July 2005

John Locke & the Age of Reason

Meeting chaired by Dr Donald Cameron

Dennis Poole

BRLSI Member,

6 July 2004

Introduction

I link this talk with the previous one I gave in 2000 on ‘The Modern Idea’ and the one I gave in Jan last year on ‘Ayn Rand and her concept of Authentic Man’. This talk begins with Locke’s Political and Religious ideas and progresses via Hume, Bentham, Mill and Marx etc. to Nietzsche, whose Philosophy challenges the very existence of God.

The Challenge to Medievalism and the Divine Right of Kings.

Work in Progress: Philosophy of Environment

Graham Burgess

BRLSI Member

1 June 2004

The following is the Introduction of ‘The Spirit of Eco Architecture’ a book currently being written by the speaker

What Time is it on Mars?

(Some Features of the Physics of Time)

Dr Vincent Smith

H.H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol

4 May 2004

In this talk, I shall try to introduce some ideas relating to our everyday concept of time, and how things might differ when we need to measure time on other planets. The talk is in four sections, the second of these is the longest.

1. What is time?

WHAT IS ANTHROPOMORPHISM

By Dr. Greg Garrard, Bath Spa University College, on 6 April 2004

 

CURRENT DEBATES IN MARXISM

Harry Cowen, University of Gloucestershire, on March 2 2004

The background.

BRIDGING TWO PHILOSOPHIES: RICOEUR'S INTERPRETATION OF KANT

Alison Scott Baumann, Gloucester University, on 3 February '04

THE DUAL NATURE OF HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

Tony Wilson, Member, on 6 January 2004

Summary

DIDEROT: A PASSIONATE MATERIALIST

Simon Farrow, Member, on 2 December 2003
Diderot and Materialism

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE WORK OF ANDREY PLATONOV

Robert Chandler, Translator, on 15 November 2003

The speaker believes that the Russian author Andrey Platonov is one of the great writers of the 20th century but that little is known of him in this country. Joseph Brodsky has acknowledged Platonov as a modern classic.

His work, some of which was held in secret files by the former Soviet Union, has been slowly emerging during the last 20 years. The fact that 1999 was the centenary of his birth provided an opportunity for more attention to be focused on his writings.

SOVEREIGNTY

Geoffrey Catchpole, Member, on 7 October 2003

After reviewing some dictionary definitions, which related ‘sovereignty’ to ‘supremacy’, ’state’, ’ruler’, etc. the speaker settled upon ‘absolute independent authority’ as the most convenient description.

The evolution of the concept was then traced.

Pierre Duhem’s ‘Aim & Structure of Physical Theory’

Victor Suchar

Member
2 September 2003

 

A potted history

MAPPING THE PRESENT: HEIDEGGER, FOUCAULT AND THE PROJECT OF A SPATIAL HISTORY

Dr. Stuart Elden, Durham University, on 1st July 2003

 

REALITY AND JUSTICE IN MODERNIST DISCOURSE

Prof. Paul Edwards, Bath Spa University College, on 8 May 2003

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