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Next Talk: A Royal Institute of Philosophy Talk by Dr Christian Piller - 'Beware of Safety'

Beware of Safety:
Philosophers have suggested that a belief has to be 'safe' in order to qualify as knowledge. This means that in order to know something, one's belief need not only be true it, furthermore, needs to remain true in 'close-by possible worlds'. In other words, a belief, if true, is safely true, if it could not have easily been wrong. In my talk I argue against such views. I ague that a concern for the safety of our beliefs would get things 'the wrong way round'. This talk is of interest to those who want to know more about knowledge and about why philosophers tend to make mistakes (myself, of course, excepted.)


Next talk: 'The Limits of Scepticism' by Grant Bartley (Editor, Philosophy Now) 10 April 2018 - 7.30 pm - 9 pm

The Limits of Scepticism
Just how useful is scepticism? Nowadays philosophers use the possibility of doubt to argue against everything from free will to morality, the self, even the existence of our own minds. But is this a good way of arguing? Does it prove anything? Or is scepticism instead about showing the absolute limits of our knowledge? In this talk I will be sceptical about scepticism itself, to try to see just how far it can get us.


Next Talk: 'The Philosophy in Film' by Prof Gregory Currie, Tuesday 13 March 2018

The Philosophy in film

Cinema is often thought of as overwhelmingly a medium of entertainment. Yet its short history includes some of the greatest works of narrative art we have. Even modest productions, certainly designed to entertain, often present striking images that present views of the world we might call "philosophical". But what, exactly, does it take for something to count as philosophy, and how, exactly can film make a contribution to a philosophical project. I'll illustrate these issues by discussing some of the best (and worst) examples where film and philosophy collide.


Next Talk: A Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Lecture: 'Fake News! Language, Power and the Politics of Knowledge' by Dr Yasemin J. Erden, 13 February 2018

A Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Lecture                                        Abstract:                                                                                                                                          From Rumsfeld's 'Known unknowns' to Blair's Dossier, through to Trump's protestations of fake news, knowledge plays an important role in political narrative. Who knows what, and what can be known are key issues in those decisions which affect all our lives. Even when the claim to knowledge has been tenuous at best, there is an expectation of certainty -- we expect experts and politicians to know their stuff. In this talk we'll explore the space between knowledge as certainty, and knowledge as cultural in poststructural terms. We'll begin by examining the impact caused by philosophical doubt, uncertainty, and deconstruction, and end by asking whether philosophers have a role in reassuring others. For instance, by showing that there are some things we can know, and that these are the known knowns on which we can rely.  


Next talk: 'The Idea of a Social Science: Winch, Weber and Wittgenstein' by Chris Bainbridge 09 January 2018


People who study social phenomena, - the economy, politics, art, religion, family life, with their competing world views, have looked with envy at the natural sciences and sought to become more like them, with their hard, undisputed empirical facts and uninterrupted progress. But natural science isn’t quite as simple as that, and thinkers such as Peter Winch and Max Weber have said the fact that we’re participants in social life gives us a big advantage which we throw away if we just look at society from an outsider’s point of view as we do with natural phenomena. I will look at various concepts of what philosophy is to see what light they can throw epistemology’s key question – how do we know things?