Dr Julian Baggini - Was Jesus a great moral philosopher? (Feb 2021)

Supported by the Royal Institute of Philosophy
Tuesday 9 February 2021 at 7:30pm

"Even if we don't believe that Jesus was the son of God, we tend to think he was a great moral teacher. But was he? And how closely do idealised values such as our love of the family, helping the needy, and the importance of kindness, match Jesus's original tenets? Drawing on his new book, Julian challenges our assumptions about Christian values - and about Jesus - by focusing on Jesus's teachings in the Gospels, stripping away the religious elements such as the accounts of miracles or the resurrection of Christ,  and asking how we should understand Jesus's attitude to the renunciation of the self, to politics, or to sexuality, as expressed in Jesus's often elusive words."

Here's a link to buy Julian's book, which supports both Julian and independent bookshops.

Julian Baggini is a British philosopher, journalist and the author of over 20 books about philosophy written for a general audience. He is co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine and has written for numerous international newspapers and magazines.

Prof Sophie-Grace Chappell: Epiphanies in experience and in ethics (Dec 2020)

An epiphany is an overwhelming existentially significant manifestation of value in experience, often sudden and surprising, which feeds the psyche, which feels like it “comes from outside”—it is something given, relative to which I am a passive perceiver—which teaches us something new, which “takes us out of ourselves”, and to which there is a natural and correct response. (At least one; possibly more.) Often the correct response is love, often it is pity, or again creativity. It might also be anger or reverence or awe or a hunger to put things right—a hunger for justice; or many other things. It may be something that leads directly to action or new knowledge, but it may also be something that prompts further contemplation or reflection; or other responses again.

Epiphanies are central to ethical experience, but not to ethical theory. I address this mismatch, and show how what needs to change to fix the mismatch is not experience—but theory.


Prof Fiona Ellis: True Naturalism, Goodness and God (Jan 2021)

Thank you to everyone who attended Fiona's recent talk, and for some excellent questions.

You can view the recording here and the handout here. Please do subscribe to our channel so you can easily find future talks.

Prof Ellis defended a form of naturalism which has much in common with Iris Murdoch’s ‘true naturalism’, but argued that it can accommodate God. She considered what it could mean for naturalism to be theistic in this sense, and respond to the charge that it leaves no room for the transcendent.

Fiona is happy to receive questions about her talk - her email address is included in the handout.