W E B Du Bois (the Forum for Philosophy)

21 January 2019|

 

W E B Du Bois (the Forum for Philosophy)

W. E. B. Du Bois is usually remembered as a sociologist and civil rights campaigner, and his analysis of race and racism continues to shape the way social scientists think about these issues today. But a genuine polymath, he was also a skilled philosopher and in this event […]

War (the Forum for Philosophy)

15 January 2019|

 

War (the Forum for Philosophy)

War scars human history and continues to mar lives across the globe. Is war part of human nature? Is it ever morally justified? And with the development of advanced weapon technologies, will future wars be more destructive than ever before? We bring together philosophers, a historian, and a cultural evolutionist to discuss […]

Imagination in Science (the Forum for Philosophy)

24 October 2018|

 

Imagination in Science (the Forum for Philosophy)

Science is often mistakenly thought to involved nothing but cold reason. In reality, very human acts of creativity appear everywhere. We explore the role of imaginative thinking in science. Are thought experiments sources of knowledge or just hypotheses? Can a story or narrative also be a scientific explanation? And how should a scientist balance […]

The Evolution of Altruism (the Forum)

24 February 2018|

 

The Evolution of Altruism (the Forum)

If evolution is a ‘struggle for existence’, why do we witness so much altruism in nature? From bacteria to baboons, the natural world is full of spectacular examples of organisms cooperating with one another. In the early 1960s, W. D. Hamilton changed the way we think about how such behaviour evolves, […]

What Is It Really Like to Be a Bat? (the Forum)

14 February 2018|

 

What Is It Really Like to Be a Bat? (the Forum)

Are bats conscious, and how can we tell? What is it like to use sound to navigate? In a classic paper called “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”, Thomas Nagel used the bat’s capacity for echolocation to introduce philosophical problems concerning conscious experience. But […]

The Minds of Whales (the Forum)

2 March 2017|

 

The Minds of Whales (the Forum)

What is it like to be a whale? How do they think and what do they feel? How are their social groups structured, and how do whale ‘cultures’ arise? And how has human thought and human culture been influenced by interaction with whales? In this dialogue, two internationally recognized whale experts — prize-winning […]

The Social Lives of Microbes (the Forum)

24 January 2017|

 

The Social Lives of Microbes (the Forum)

What are microbial societies? In what ways do they resemble human societies and in what ways do they differ? Can the same ideas that explain cooperation in larger animals also explain cooperation in microbes? And what can we learn from microbes about what it is to be human? In this panel […]

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    Hive Minds: Collective Intelligence in Humans and Other Animals (the Forum)

Hive Minds: Collective Intelligence in Humans and Other Animals (the Forum)

19 October 2016|

 

Hive Minds: Collective Intelligence in Humans and Other Animals (the Forum)

Swarms of bees make decisions as a ‘democratic’ collective, voting on various possible nest sites through waggle dances. Does this phenomenon amount to a form of ‘collective intelligence’? Do we also find collective intelligence in humans? And what might humans be able to learn from bees about the best ways […]

The Worst Form of Government? (the Forum)

5 October 2016|

 

The Worst Form of Government? (the Forum)

Winston Churchill famously described democracy as ‘the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried’. While not exactly a resounding endorsement, something like this sentiment is strongly held by most people in Western societies. Those who challenge it are branded ‘extremists’ or ‘ideologues’, with special suspicion reserved […]

Evolution and Moral Progress (the Forum)

24 March 2016|

 

Evolution and Moral Progress (the Forum)

It now seems hard to deny that at least some of our moral beliefs have been shaped by natural selection. What does this mean for the objectivity of ethics and the possibility of moral progress? Does evolution mean that morality is an illusion? Are we locked into ‘tribal’ ways of thinking, or is […]