Talks are postposed until further notice – but watch this space!

Hi everyone.

We are having to postpone our talks for the foreseeable future.

We are exploring on-line options – if anyone has good experience in this please do get in touch at  






Fri 13 March is Postponed ! “About Empires” panel discussion


With great regret we have to cancel this Friday’s meeting

Events dear boys and girls! Corona to be precise

But do not despair, goto our Facebook and argue the toss over there

I’ve started it off nothing too controversial



Societymember Geraint Day recalls: “One Friday evening in late last November just before the start of the Philosophy Society evening, in midst election cum Brexit-itis, Gerry Hannon tapped on my shoulder. He said something like: “I’ve had an idea – something about Empires. Fancy a double hander?”

Gerry recalls that Geraint said something like: “Sounds interesting. What might it be about?!” I replied along the lines of: “Things are looking like not just the end of the British Empire! – but also the English one?”

Marina Strinkovsky continues: “I happened to be standing within earshot of these two … British … men and found myself saying something like: “Do you know that the Russian Empire has the most number of languages within it?”

And so, next Friday’s triple hander “About Empires”. It will cover:
Empires: definition/s; history/overview; ways of building

Empires : Russian style

Empires: today and tomorrow

Fri 6 March “Do we need God to make sense of life – the Psychology of Belief” Blackmore vs Peterson

ALL change !!!!

Unfortunately, Michael Wills is laid low with a virus and so not able to be with us on Friday. In place of Michael, we will be showing and then discussing a debate between Susan Blackmore and Jordan Peterson
entitled ‘Do we need God to make sense of life – the Psychology of Belief‘. Susan Blackmore (author of the Meme Machine) says yes and Jordan Peterson (author of Twelve Rules for Life) says no but they both have interesting things to say.
Come along and let us know what you think…






The former North Swindon MP  will be giving us his views on the the State of our Democracy.  

He writes ” ‘in the last five years, the 2Oth century model of democracy has been overturned. Everywhere in Europe and the US social democratic politics has been trashed by nativist populism. Why ? Is there any future for the left ? Or for representative democracy ?’


Michael was North Swindon MP from 1997 to 2010 with various roles in government.  He stepped down and entered the (Europa league)  House of Lords as Baron Wills of North Swindon  of which he is now an active member .  Where does he stand on that institution?

Interestingly he resigned from Government (Gordon Brown) over the Common Agricultural Policy  in 2003.  Is there some link to recent events? I’m sure he will have a view on that!

Expect a fascinating and insightful talk from someone who has been at the very heart of government.

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Fri 28th Feb “The Evolution of Conscience” – John Little

This week its John Little – he writes:

©calyx_Pictures_Swindon Festival of Literature. Think Slam

Robert Hare famously called his ground-breaking book on psychopaths “Without Conscience”.

If it’s conscience that stops our descent into psychopathy then what exactly is it, how do most of us develop it, and how did we evolve the capacity for it?
Pat Churchland’s latest book, Conscience – The Origins of Moral Intuition, is an attempt to answer these questions. The distinguished founder of neurophilosophy, reaches beyond the familiar argument of nature versus nurture to bring together insights from philosophy and revolutionary research in neuroscience. Scientific research may not be able to say what is ethical, but it shows that from birth, our brains are configured to form bonds, to cooperate and to care. As they grow children encode the norms, values and behaviour of their parents and cultures. Does that leave any room for individual experience and reason in the formation of conscience?

Delving into research, from twin studies to psychopathology, Churchland deepens our understanding of the brain’s role in creating an ethical system. She then turns to philosophy, from Socrates to contemporary thinkers like Owen Flanagan, to explore why morality is central to all societies, how it is transmitted down the generations, why different cultures live by different moral systems and how changes occur”

NTtimes review of Conscience

Fri 21 Feb “Why we should NOT go to Mars” Professor David Waltham

This Friday,  Professor David Waltham of Royal Holloway College will explain why he thinks its Not OK to go to Mars?  Its not often we get scientists saying we shouldn’t explore –  find out why he thinks this way on Friday!



david Waltham

will there be music ? 

Buy the Book

Hes got a BLOG –

Visit David’s Website


Fri 14th Feb “Economics for Hard Times” Neil Howard

This week, Neil will introduce the 2019 book ‘Good Economics for Hard Times’ for discussion. The authors, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, are co-winners of the 2019 Nobel prize in economics.
In the preface of the book, published last November, they say: “Many of the issues plaguing the world right now are particularly salient in the North, whereas we have spent our lives studying poor people in poor countries. … But … as we thought about it, we realized the problems facing the rich countries in the world were actually often eerily familiar to those we are used to studying in the developing world— people left behind by development, ballooning inequality, lack of faith in government, fractured societies and polity, and so on.”


Fri 7th Feb “the Best Defenders of Christianity” Paul Archer

Normally, Paul delights us with insights into politics and economics, this time he is delving into religion. It’ll be good! Here’s his description:

“There is a tendency in debates to straw man the opposition presenting their case in the weakest form. 

I think this has happened to the faith/myth of Christianity want to look at how the best modern thinkers strong-arm their case.  The argument is that, at best, Christianity is a counter-intuitive, counter-cultural, fierce, spiritual discipline giving an intense moral seriousness to the world and showing the way to some kind of self-transcendence. 

Is this fair and, in any event, is it all true?”

Image result for paul archer swindon

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