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Meeting Details

Meeting DayFirst Wednesday
Time10.00 (refreshments from 9.30)
LocationAbbot Hall Social Centre
Co-ordinator(s)Liz Kelly & Andrew Knowles

What we do

This is a study-group for interested amateurs, or retired professionals. It is run by a team comprising Roger Collinge (Group Coordinator), Chris Bisco and Jim Pottinger.

Our way of working is to select topics of interest and invite a member (or members) of the group to research the subject and then present with a talk of 20 minutes or so on that subject. The members are then invited to discuss and comment on the topic. As we are all learning to a greater or lesser extent an absence of previous knowledge of a subject is certainly no bar to taking on a presentation!

We encourage contributions from all but equally recognise that some wish just to listen. All views are welcome. Philosophers never expect to end up agreeing on much!

The following books may be useful for newcomers to the subject:


July 2017

For many of our members, Philosophy is something we’ve been meaning to get around to. To this end, there is always consideration for the newcomer – and this year we have welcomed a good number.

Meetings take the form of input by one of our members, followed by small-group discussion (which allows everyone to contribute) and plenary feedback. In recent months, John Studholme surveyed the Philosophy of Islam, Tim Thornton and Mike Threlfall introduced us to the complexities of Wittgenstein and Roger Collinge revisited Freedom of Expression.

Our guiding text for the coming year is Edward Craig’s ‘Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction’ and the programme will be a mixture of ancient and contemporary conundrums.

If you would like to be included in the regular mailings, please contact Andrew Knowles by email.

March 2017

We are an open group which has been greatly refreshed by an influx of new members. We range from those who have some background in philosophy to those who have always meant to get around to it.

Each meeting is complete in itself and we try to ensure a mix of topics, from looking at the work of a particular philosopher to trying to apply philosophical principles to the trends in our society and the issues of the day.

In December our consideration of ‘The Death of God’ failed to dampen our enthusiasm for Christmas; in February we could hardly avoid Trump and Post-truth (impressively packaged as ‘HyperNormalisation’); and in March we had a most interesting comparison of ‘Plato and Popper’. On each occasion one of our members introduced the theme with previously-distributed notes, and there followed some small-group discussion and feedback.

Our programme for the coming months includes ‘The Philosophy of Islam’ (5 April), ‘Freedom of Speech’ (3 May) and ‘Introducing Wittgenstein’ (7 June). We certainly know how to have fun!

At the time of writing we are meeting in the Radley Room at St George’s Church, but look forward to returning to the Abbot Hall Social Centre. If you are thinking of coming to a meeting, please check the venue with one of the coordinators – or ask to be included in our regular mailing.

November 2016

2017 Meetings - 4 Jan; 1 Feb; 1 Mar; 5 Apr

On the first Wednesday of the month in Abbot Hall Social Centre you will find twenty or so of us attempting to put the world to rights, but unsurprisingly we can have differing views of how to do this, indeed we could question ‘what is the world?’ before we get anywhere.

The subject of Aristotle and ‘Friendship’ got us thinking of the many different kinds of friends we have and questioning how important they are to society’s well-being.

In the session on Citizenship we faced many of today’s concerns. The libertarians’ freedom of religion, political rights, a minimal standard of living to share our resources equitably were compared with the republican expectation of active political involvement of everyone to prevent the abuse of power. Small groups tried to draw up a charter of their utopia. The thinking of Aristotle, Machiavelli, Rousseau, Locke and Rawls were drawn on by the speaker.

In December we shall question the death of God and survival of Christmas.

In our number we have some who have studied philosophy in some way or another, but many are new to the subject and keen to get their brains around new ideas and look at life from a different perspective. Usually someone introduces a subject, having given us some notes or links to websites in advance. In small groups we then chew over what we have learned and open up a wider discussion.

If you are interested in trying us out just turn up or speak to one of the coordinators - Josephine Jaffray, Liz Kelly or Andrew Knowles


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