Fri 17th “Polarisation, Populism, and Pessimism’. MATTHEW TAYLOR

This Friday from 6.30pm at the Arts Centre, Matthew Taylor will be speaking on ‘Polarisation, Populism, and Pessimism’.

What does the term ‘populism’ mean to you?  Where does it come from, what does it mean, and what is its validity? Who are the populists? And what about pessimism and polarisation? In what ways do they apply to life today?

Former Downing Street advisor and current Chief Executive of the RSA, full if antiquated title the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, whose mission is to enrich society through ideas and action and which believes that all human beings have creative capacities that, when understood and supported, can be mobilised to deliver a 21st century enlightenment, Matthew Taylor, looks at how we address and/or overcome the three Ps.

Following Matthew Taylor’s presentation is the annual Swindon Think Slam where are a number of philosophy regulars are likely to be competing -please come!

The two events are part of the Swindon Spring Festival and tickets are available to purchase from the Arts Centre on 01793 524481.


Fri 10th May “There is No Planet B” Mike Berners-Lee (at ARTS CENTRE – 8:00pm)

This Friday at 8.00pm at the Swindon Arts Centre, the Swindon Spring Festival is running an event in association with Swindon Philosophy Society and Swindon Climate Action NetworkMike Berners-Lee is speaking on what we should do to live better and well.

We have the chance to live better than ever before. But, as we become ever more powerful and ‘advanced’, can we avoid blundering into disaster?  Feeding the world, climate change, biodiversity, antibiotics, plastics – the list of concerns seems endless. But what is most pressing and what should we do first?  Do we all need to become vegetarian?  How can we fly in a low-carbon world?  Should we frack?  How can we take control of technology?  Does it all come down to population?  And, given the global nature of the challenges we now face, what on Earth can any of us do? 

Fortunately, in his book There is No Planet B Mike Berners-Lee, professor and fellow of the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University and director of Small World Consulting, has crunched the numbers and plotted a course of action that is practical and even enjoyable. 

There is a £9.00 charge for this event and tickets are available via the Swindon Spring Festival website.

I hope to see you there.


Swindon Climate Action Network



Fri 3rd May “the limits of free speech” John Little and Paul Archer

This Friday at the Friends Meeting House from 7.40pm, we will be having a discussion on Political Correctness and the Limits of Free Speech.

Are some opinions (or even scientific theories) so dangerous that they should be suppressed? Are some individuals so dangerous that they must be denied a platform to spread their views? Trigger warnings, safe spaces, no-go topics and de-platforming are becoming features of academic and political life. Lawrence Summers, James Watson and James Dalmore saw their careers blighted. Recently Jordan Peterson and Roger Scruton have suffered censure. 
For those on the right, political correctness has become a weapon that feminists and social justice warriors use to stifle legitimate debate. For those on the left it is the demonising of political correctness that is a weapon used by the ‘alt right’ to spread the myth of a left wing conspiracy to stifle conservative opinion. And was the election of Donald Trump largely the result of the success of his anti-PC `strategy?
So – are some ideas so toxic that we must censure them? Even if true? Or does exposure to them confer a sort of immunity?
And is there any answer as to where to draw the line between personal opinion and hate speech? (”Hell awaits homosexuals”?)
I hope to see you there.