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November 2015

Can a Country be Proud of its Past? (Forum for European Philosophy public discussion)

2 November 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Forum for European Philosophy public discussion Individuals are responsible for their actions, but what about groups of individuals like nations or states? Does membership of these groups make it appropriate to take up certain normative attitudes towards ourselves such as pride, guilt, or shame? And what role (if any) should public acts of remembrance play in maintaining and determining these…

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Art as Knowledge? (Forum for European Philosophy public discussion)

11 November 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Forum for European Philosophy public discussion Plato and Hegel thought of art as inferior to philosophy; philosophers like Aristotle, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche held the arts in high regard. Today, do we think art can address the big questions in life? Do artistic uses of imagination and emotion play a role in acquiring knowledge? And if art leads to knowledge, what…

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How (Not) to Make Everyone Better Off (Forum for European Philosophy public lecture)

23 November 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Forum for European Philosophy public lecture Policymakers often aim for so-called “Pareto improvements” — changes that make at least one person better off and no one worse off. This may sound innocuous, but is it always a sensible idea? Philosopher Anna Mahtani argues that there is more to the notion of a ‘Pareto improvement’ than meets the eye. Anna Mahtani…

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December 2015

Is Political Violence Ever Justified? (Forum for European Philosophy public discussion)

1 December 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Forum for European Philosophy public discussion Does political violence ever achieve its long-term goals or does it simply perpetuate violence? Are some types of political violence more rational, ethical, or justifiable than others? Is there always a clear line between resistance and political violence? In an era in which international relations have been transformed by globalization and new technologies, and…

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Will Machines Rule the World? (Forum for European Philosophy public discussion)

7 December 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Forum for European Philosophy public discussion AI is progressing fast. What level has it reached? Is human-level AI a realistic possibility? And if it is achieved in the near future, what will the consequences be for humanity? Could AI threaten our very existence? In this panel discussion, philosophers Huw Price and Mark Sprevak and computer scientists Mateja Jamnik and Kate…

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January 2016

Emotions: Do They Control Us? (the Forum)

18 January 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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From financial decisions to medical choices and political beliefs, emotion plays a crucial role. What is emotion and what is it good for? How is it represented in the brain and do human emotions differ from other animals? We will discuss the notion that emotion is the primary factor that controls our every action. Speakers Lisa Bortolotti, Professor of Philosophy…

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February 2016

Frantz Fanon and Political Activism (the Forum)

1 February 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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A revolutionary thinker who drew upon influences from philosophy, political theory, and psychoanalysis, Fanon is best known for his fierce championing of Algerian liberation and his reflections on the psychological impact of colonialism and imperialism. Now that the philosophical value of Fanon’s work is finally being recognised, we should also ask what it can teach us about the contemporary world.…

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Autism and Minds Wired for Science: Ethical Implications (the Forum)

8 February 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, London School of Economics, Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Our panel will offer perspectives from neuroscience, history and philosophy on autism: How has our understanding of autism evolved? Why is autism so often linked with scientific and mathematical talent? Does this mean that some minds are ‘wired’ for science (and others not)? Is autism really a disorder, or just an aspect of human ‘neurodiversity’? Speakers Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of…

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Does Science Have All the Answers? (the Forum)

15 February 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Modern science has provided answers to questions once thought impertinent for human beings to investigate. Among them, ‘What causes earthquakes and natural disasters?’, ‘Where does human life begin?’, and ‘Do we have free will?’. But when does the triumph of science become triumphalism? What are the limits of scientific inquiry, and does it leave any questions for non-scientists to answer?…

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Progress in Troubled Times: Learning from the ‘Age of Genius’ (the Forum @ LSE Literary Festival 2016)

24 February 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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How should we understand the intellectual changes that marked the turbulent seventeenth century in Europe? Fuelled by both original and orthodox thinking, this period witnessed perhaps the greatest shift in our outlook, from the alchemy and astrology of John Dee to the painstaking observations and astronomy of Galileo. Newton, the man who understood gravity and the laws of motion, remained…

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Ideals of Equality: Feminisms in the Twenty-First Century (the Forum @ LSE Literary Festival 2016)

27 February 2016, 11:00 am12:30 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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What is the future for feminism? How does feminism interact with concerns about other forms of oppression, such as those based on race and class? Is there one feminist movement or many? If there are many, how should they relate to one another? In this panel, our speakers will discuss these questions and ask what the future holds for feminist…

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Darwinism and the Social Sciences (the Forum)

29 February 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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A growing number of researchers are applying Darwinian ideas to explain aspects of human society, but this work has long been controversial. Is a Darwinian theory of culture possible? If so, what should such a theory look like? In what ways should it differ from a theory of biological evolution? Does the ‘meme’ concept have any value? How should we…

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March 2016

The Right to be an Independent State? (the Forum)

8 March 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Recent years have seen numerous calls for independence: in Kosovo, South Sudan, Scotland, Catalonia, and in Eastern parts of Ukraine. Are all declarations of independence created equal, or are some more legitimate than others? What gives a territory the right to become an independent country, and under what conditions can a state prevent it from doing so? Speakers John Breuilly,…

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What Are Prisons For? (the Forum)

15 March 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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In this time of austerity, many of those who want a small state are also committed to a highly expensive criminal justice apparatus that has little demonstrable deterrent effect. But are there other, more direct arguments against the use of imprisonment as a dominant form of punishment? If so, what are they? Why do they so often fall on deaf…

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The Philosophy of Pregnancy and Birth (the Forum)

22 March 2016, 7:00 pm8:30 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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The relationship between mother and foetus during pregnancy has long challenged our sense of ourselves as distinct individuals, as well as our conceptions of legal and moral responsibility. Are the mother and foetus best understood as one organism or two? What are the implications of this special relationship for the mother’s moral duty towards her child? The speakers in this…

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April 2016

Against the Double Blackmail: Refugees, Terror and Other Troubles with the Neighbours (the Forum)

20 April 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, London School of Economics, Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Slavoj Žižek talks about his new book, Against the Double Blackmail: Refugees, Terror, and Other Troubles with the Neighbours. From within the safety of Europe, we face two versions of ideological blackmail—open-door solidarity with refugees and drawbridge-minded protectionism. Both prolong the problem—so, confronted with this double blackmail, we find ourselves back at the great question: what is to be done?…

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This House Believes We Should Leave the European Union (the Forum)

27 April 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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On 23 June, voters in the UK will make a decision regarding their willingness to share or pool some of the UK’s sovereignty with the twenty-seven other member states of the European Union. This special event, held as part of the Forum’s 20th anniversary, will consider a motion to change the status quo… #LSEFEP

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May 2016

Heidegger and Technology (the Forum)

5 May 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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For Heidegger, technology does not simply refer to the various tools we use to get along in the world, but also the tendency we have to view the world as nothing more than a resource for the purposes of production and consumption. After offering a brief overview of Heidegger’s thought as a whole, the panel will discuss what Heidegger can tell us about the nature of modern technology and the threat it posses to the world in which we live, as well as potential solutions to the dangers of reducing the world to resources for production and consumption. #LSEFEP

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A Right to Be Believed? Testimony in Sexual Abuse Cases (the Forum)

16 May 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Sexual offences have frequently gone unpunished because victims have not been believed. This stands in the way of justice and constitutes an additional wrong; according to one victim, not being believed by the police "was almost worse than the rape itself". In light of this, many have called for a "right to be believed". But how can this be reconciled with the principle of "innocent until proven guilty"? And when, if at all, do we have a right that someone should believe our testimony? Our panel – a philosopher, a barrister, and a legal theorist – will debate these questions. #LSEFEP

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Evolution and Moral Progress (the Forum)

24 May 2016, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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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 a more inclusive morality possible? Our panel will consider the philosophical implications of the evolution of morality. #LSEFEP

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