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October 2017

Parallel Universes (the Forum/BSPS Lecture)

23 October, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Is Schrödinger’s cat alive or dead? This thought experiment was devised to illustrate a fundamental puzzle in quantum mechanics. A radical solution is that the cat is both alive and dead, but in different, parallel universes. This is the ‘many-worlds interpretation’ of quantum mechanics and our panel of philosophers and physicists will discuss why it is controversial and its strange consequences.

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Who Is a Refugee? (the Forum)

30 October, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Some people crossing borders are called refugees while others are not. But who is a refugee? What precisely is the relationship between migration and seeking refuge? Can we justify the distinction between refugees, migrants, and displaced people? Our panel discuss whether current legal definitions are need of modification, and if so, what should be altered and why.

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November 2017

The Politics of Mental Health (the Forum)

8 November, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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At the intersection of the personal and the political, we explore the relationship between mental health and economics, politics, and society at large. Is it even possible to distinguish between mental illness that derives from an individual’s physiology or childhood experience and that which has broader social or political causes? Why do particular mental illnesses appear to characterize certain eras? Could social change limit the spread of mental illness in contemporary society?

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Strong Feelings (the Forum)

14 November, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Does anger impede political progress or is it essential for change? Does love make us biased or is it the foundation of ethical thinking? Might shame alter not merely our perception of the world, but the very world itself? Reason is often contrasted with emotion, but what if emotion is essential for understanding traditional philosophical ideas? And how did we end up thinking that reason could ever do without emotion?

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The Minds of Birds

20 November, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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What is it like to be a bird? What do they think and how do they feel? What can comparative psychology tell us about the intelligence of birds? And what can we learn about birds, and about ourselves, from our encounters with them? In this dialogue, world-leading comparative psychologist Nicola Clayton and author and naturalist Mark Cocker give us a bird’s eye view on the world, and consider how human thought and culture have been shaped by interaction with birds.

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Sovereignty (the Forum)

29 November, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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The Brexit debate saw a revival in talk of ‘sovereignty’. But what exactly is it, and why is it so highly prized? What are its essential features and what are its limits? In a globalized world, is sovereignty something modern states can achieve? We will explore this elusive concept, and ask whether it is still a useful concept in the twenty-first century.

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December 2017

Time Travel (the Forum)

5 December, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Born of science fiction, thinking about time travel has allowed us to visit possible and lost worlds, and rediscover the past through modern eyes. It also raises big puzzles: If you travelled back in time and killed your grandfather when he was a young man, would you still exist? Would changing the past mean you returned to a different present? What about travelling to the future? Two philosophers and a science fiction writer discuss time travel, and how thinking and writing about it has changed science and philosophy.

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