Upcoming talks at the Barnes Philosophy Club


A public club that meets to talk with philosophers and discuss a wide variety of philosophical issues. We aim to promote a philosophical and thoughtful approach to everyday life, and to help connect the outside world with the thinking of professional philosophers. We are supported by the Royal Institute of Philosophy and based at the OSO Arts Centre.

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Upcoming talks in our series Philosophy and Modern Life (all on Tuesday evenings at 7:15 for prompt 7:30 start)

25 June: The philosophy of flirting - Lucy McDonald, Kings College, London

We take a break for July and August and expect to return in September with a season on "Minds and souls", beginning with:

24 September: Do We Have a Soul? with Professor Eric Olson 

Records of some recent talks can be viewed on our YouTube channel.


Other philosophy events:

2023 February 14th: Watch our Valentine's Day special talk with Ulrik Lyngs

It was great to see the OSO so busy for our "Valentine's Day Special" last month with Ulrik Lyngs, Carlsberg Foundation Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford's Human Centred Computing Group. He gave a lively and thought-provoking talk on how we can use a growing range of tools to save ourselves from digital addiction - whether to social media or dating apps - in the face of tech companies' war for our attention. We have a pretty good recording of the talk, which you can watch on YouTube.

You can book on for our next talk with Professor Sophie Grace Chappell, at the OSO website.


2022 November: Personal Identity with Andrew Ward

Tuesday, 8 November⋅7:30 – 9:00pm

Andrew explained how the problem of personal identity first arose in the early modern period and then go on to describe how it has been taken up in recent years (largely on the back of the earlier thinkers). The talk brought out sharply contrasting views - some of them - as to what constitutes our identity, not only in the early modern period but, equally, in the present one. Andrew assumed no previous knowledge of the topic.

Andrew Ward was born and lived for his first 25 years in East Sheen. Towards the end of this period, he even became an undistinguished member of the Barnes and Mortlake cricket team. In 1971 he was appointed a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of York. He is now an honorary lifetime fellow of the department. He has also taught at the University of Florida, Gainesville and, from 2014 to 2017, was visiting professor of philosophy at Shanghai’s University of Finance and Economics. His philosophical papers cover a variety of topics, including scepticism, aesthetics and personal identity. He is the author of Kant: The Three Critiques in Polity Press’s Classic Thinkers series.

Barnes, London SW13 and online


10 January 2023: Professor Susan B. Levin: Posthuman Bliss? The Failed Promise of Transhumanism

Register now

Susan B. Levin is Roe/Straut Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy. The areas of Susan's research are bioethics and ancient Greek philosophy. Her most recent book is Posthuman Bliss? The Failed Promise of Transhumanism (Oxford, 2021). The American Philosophical Association featured the book in its Recently Published Book Spotlight. Levin also discusses the book in a post for OUP blog, an article for the Institute of Art and Ideas, and a blog post in the series “The Page 99 Test.” An interview with her appears in the Summer 2021 issue of the Smith Alumnae Quarterly.

According to a review of Posthuman Bliss? The Failed Promise of Transhumanism in The Hastings Center Report, “Levin offers a comprehensive takedown of the transhumanist project.…Her deeply argued, scientifically informed book shows both that we have good reason to reject transhumanist value assumptions…and that a more robust picture of scientific evidence undermines the feasibility of the transhumanists’ wished-for interventions. Not only are the imagined enhancements unlikely to work in the ways that they imagine, Levin convincingly argues, but even if they did, we would be at risk of losing the very values and capabilities that make humanity worth saving.”

Susan, who is US-based, will be appearing online. To watch at the OSO, and join us for a drink before and/or after the talk, please book a free ticket with the OSO here.

To join us on Zoom, please use the following link to join.

Supported by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.


2022 11 October Piers Benn, "Is concern about freedom of expression based on a right-wing fantasy?"

Watch our second talk on freedom of expression, with Piers Benn.

This Tuesday 11 October 2022, 7:30pm at the OSO 

 Supported by the Royal Institute of Philosophy

 Is concern about freedom of expression based on a right-wing fantasy?

In this talk Piers will attempt to do two things. First, he will argue for the importance of free enquiry and free expression within a framework that owes much to J. S. Mill, while considering some genuine difficulties with the ‘Galileo Defence’ of Mill’s conclusions and the often-made claim that much speech is harmful even by Mill’s lights, especially when exercised by the privileged. Second, he will argue against the claim that the limitations on free speech, especially in universities, is a right-wing fantasy. He will concede that boycotts of speakers and angry attacks on opinions are sometimes misrepresented as attacks on freedom of expression but argue that there is nevertheless a fairly serious problem. He proposes a Socratic approach to argument, and the encouragement of opinions diversity in institutions, as part of the solution to this. 

Zoom and online

I'm pleased to say that we seem to have found a solution to our Zoom challenges. The main issue with this recording is the lighting, which we'll work on for next time with Andrew Ward. 

There is no need to register if you'd like to (attempt to) attend the talks online - they should always be accessible via this link.

You can also view past recordings on our YouTube channel.