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Next Royal Institute of Philosophy talk is by Dr Stephen Rainey, University of Oxford ‘Somewhere between zombies and neuroscience: Neuro-ethics and the hunger for brains’ 12 November 2019


Dr Stephen Rainey University of Oxford


“An unlikely affinity appears to emerge between two groups: the undead, and the neuroscientist. Each has a seemingly endless hunger for brains. But why? Can each learn from the other? What’s any of that got to do with moral philosophy? And what’s it got to do with us?

In this talk, these questions and more will be answered. Among the topics to be discussed will be mind/brain identity theory versus dualism; a probably dottery (but unreal anyway) afterlife; scientism versus phenomenalism; mind reading and the ethics of neuroscience; and a multitude in between. Bring your thinking caps, and their contents.”


Next Royal Institue of Philosophy Lecture at Barnes Philosophy Club, 'Are we morally responsible for our implicit biases?' by Prof Helen Beebee

Speaker Prof Helen Beebee and our two Speakers together Dr Yasemin J Erden from last month

 Paige our gallant events manager with someone's husband !

Some of our Philosophy Club members

Image result for Prof Helen Beebee        Professor Helen Beebee

There’s a lot of evidence from social psychology that we all harbour ‘implicit biases’: attitudes towards people based on their race, gender, weight, disability, etc. that we are often not aware of, or even that we actively and sincerely claim not to hold. These can have damaging effects, e.g. if a hiring panel judges a woman to be less suitable for a job than a man, or if a police officer judges a black youth to be more likely to be carrying drugs than a white youth. But if we acquire these attitudes unwittingly and are not aware of them, then it seems that the behaviour that they give rise to is not really within our control — so are we really to blame for such behaviour? I’ll argue that we are — at least some of the time.
Prof Helen Beebee


Barnes Philosophy Club - next Royal Institute of Philosophy talk 'Culture and mind in Ethics and Moral Philosophy' by Dr Yasemin J. Erden

Dr Yasemin J Erden 
'CULTURE MIND in ETHICS and MORAL PHILOSOPHY' This was a good start to our new season in what for us is a new venue and venture:  Yasemin was fun, clear and informative - more please

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Next Royal Institute of Philosophy Talk: ' The Religious Roots of Utopian Thinking' by John Madeley

Speaker: John Madeley and some of the club members

Bertie off to Madrid

Dr Barbie Underwood: chair
This is what philosoohy does to you
 a little blurry !

Picture: Phillip Medhurst

This talk draws a ‘history of ideas’ connection between two of the Philosophy Club’s recent major themes: the philosophy of religion and utopian thinking and beliefs.  It addresses the claim made by philosopher and controversial essayist John Gray (eg. in Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia(2007)) of a direct historical connection between religious dissidence on the one hand and utopian beliefs and thinking on the other – from Zoroastrianism and early Christianity through the Anabaptist ‘revolution’ in Muenster twenty years after Thomas More penned Utopia (1516) and on to present times.  While Gray is a non-believer he is an open admirer of the wisdom he sees as nurtured and maintained by most mainstream religious traditions.  On the other hand, he excoriates utopian thinking (in particular the Enlightenment belief in the possibility of humanity’s moral progress) and what he takes to be the disastrous political projects inspired by it in modern times (from the 1789 French Revolution, via socialist, communist and anarchist experiments to American Neo-Con attempts to create a New World Order).  Many questions arise: what is the significance of the long, trailing roots utopianism has in religious dissidence including, in particular, radical sectarian sets of ideas; how is it that these ideas have been domesticated and rendered relatively harmless in adventist sects like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, while they still remain politically relevant among some Evangelical Protestants, especially in the USA; and does this even tell us something useful about David Khoresh’s Waco and ISIS in Raqqa and beyond?