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February 2015

Simon Blackburn (Cambridge) & Pascal Engel (Geneva): On Truth

2 February 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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Realists take truth to be a robust property of our thoughts and assertions, one which fits certain facts in the world. Deflationists, expressivists and pragmatists disagree: for them truth is a very shallow notion, which comes down to a few (important) trivialities. The view one takes on truth has important consequences for all sorts of issues, in particular for moral…

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Onora O’Neill (Cambridge) & Jonathan Wolff (UCL): On Informed Consent

9 February 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
New Theatre, East Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Informed consent is not the most fundamental ethical standard, but a means of securing respect for other, more basic standards or aims. It is neither possible nor required when public goods – such as sound currency or clean air – are to be provided. Where it is possible and can be required, as in transactions with individuals, it must be…

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Simon Glendinning (LSE): Philosophy, the Public and Other Subjects

10 February 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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50 years ago Professor Glendinning gave an inaugural lecture arguing for the abolition of inaugural lectures. His failure allows his son to return to this theme. This lecture will explore whether philosophy’s distinctive and historic relation to something like an inaugural public pledge to speak publicly points towards a conception of the professor in general as someone who, working in…

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Forum for European Philosophy LSE Literary Festival lecture: The Soul of the Marionette: a short inquiry into human freedom

25 February 2015, 7:00 pm8:30 pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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John Gray draws together the religious, philosophic and fantastical traditions that question the very idea of human freedom. We flatter ourselves about the nature of free will and yet the most enormous forces - biological, physical, metaphysical - constrain our every action. Many writers and intellectuals have always understood this, but instead of embracing our condition we battle against it,…

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Forum for European Philosophy LSE Literary Festival discussion: The Human Age? Art and Identity in the Anthropocene

28 February 2015, 11:00 am12:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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The controversial designation “Anthropocene” names a geological epoch in which the planet has been irrevocably changed by human activity. In this panel, three thinkers consider the ways in which the Anthropocene requires us to reconsider both human self-identity and the human capacity for creation and destruction. Is art a narcissistic reflection of human concerns and desires or might it provide…

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Forum for European Philosophy LSE Literary Festival discussion: Is There Life in the Novel of Ideas?

28 February 2015, 5:00 pm6:30 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Is the 'novel of ideas' an outdated genre or are we witnessing its resurgence? What answers can it offer to twenty-first-century questions? In this panel three speakers will discuss examples of the 'novel of ideas' and assess the genre's contemporary relevance. Peter Boxall is Professor of English and Deputy Head of the School of English at the University of Sussex.  His research…

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March 2015

John Dupré (Exeter) & Gina Rippon (Aston): Gender and the Brain

2 March 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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Are there ‘hardwired’ psychological differences between men and women? Do these alleged differences show that gender differences in society have a biological explanation? And what does talk of ‘hardwiring’ even mean? In this interdisciplinary dialogue, philosopher John Dupré and cognitive neuroscientist Gina Rippon will debate these and other issues concerning the science and philosophy of gender. John Dupré is Professor…

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Kimberley Brownlee (Warwick): On Civil Disobedience

5 March 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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When is it permissible to resort to civil disobedience? Do we sometimes have a moral duty to do so? Should we be punished for it? Kimberley Brownlee is Associate Professor of Legal and Moral Philosophy at the University of Warwick. Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEcivildisobedience

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April 2015

Is Politics Based on Morality? (Forum for European Philosophy ‘Ethics Matters’ dialogue)

27 April 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
New Theatre, East Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Is politics the instrument of moral ideals and values? Is it something like ‘applied morality’? In recent years there has been a revival of approaches which give greater autonomy to distinctively political thought, which can be called ‘political realism’, in contrast to ‘political moralism’. The panel discussion will explore this contrast, and ask whether political legitimacy is ultimately a question…

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May 2015

Evolutionary Benefits of False Beliefs? (Forum for European Philosophy “Consilience” dialogue)

5 May 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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The human mind produces countless biases, illusions and predictable errors. Are such false beliefs adaptive? Had they evolved for a reason? From overconfidence to the illusion of control, the speakers will argue that false beliefs can provide the individual with an advantage in domains ranging from war and politics to health and finance. But how do such beliefs affect us…

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The Good Life (Forum for European Philosophy public discussion)

11 May 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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What makes a life good? Is the ‘good life’ a happy life? Does the ‘good life’ name an individual experience or a social goal? In what ways have alterations in our perception of the human changed the notion of human flourishing? In this event, three thinkers will address the meaning and significance of the ‘good life’ today. Amber Carpenter is…

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Belief and Evidence (Forum for European Philosophy dialogue)

18 May 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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The Enlightenment philosopher David Hume tells us that ‘a wise man proportions his belief to his evidence.’ And according to W.K. Clifford, ‘it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence’. But is believing without evidence really wrong, and if so what are we to make of religious beliefs? To answer these questions, we will…

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June 2015

On Free Speech (Forum for European Philosophy public discussion)

2 June 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm

Recent events have provoked a public debate about the right to free speech. In a continuation of this debate, we will bring together philosophers and campaigners to examine the philosophical underpinnings of free speech, and how recent events should affect our thinking about it. Lisa Appignanesi, (@LisaAppignanesi) prize-winning writer, novelist, broadcaster and cultural commentator, is Visiting Professor in the Department…

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What is Enlightenment? (Forum for European Philosophy public discussion)

3 June 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Is the Enlightenment finished or is it an ongoing project? What does Enlightenment mean in a globalised world? In what ways might the concept of Enlightenment illuminate current issues of European identity, secularisation, and the so-called ‘clash of civilisations’? In this event, three speakers return to Immanuel Kant’s seminal essay ‘Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?’ in order to address…

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Alienation and Disenchantment (Forum for European Philosophy public discussion)

9 June 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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‘The fate of our times is characterised by rationalisation and intellectualisation and, above all, by the “disenchantment of the world”’, declared Max Weber in 1917. These themes have occupied Akeel Bilgrami over many years, and his reflections on them have now been brought together in a collection of essays, Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment. Bilgrami will be with us to discuss…

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Are We Stewards of the Earth? (Forum for European Philosophy dialogue)

22 June 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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Are humans exceptional amongst living beings? How should they understand their relationship with, and responsibilities towards, the natural world? Current ecological crises have led to new conceptions of this relationship, increased focus on human responsibilities, and changing environmental practices. In this panel, two speakers will address both the theoretical questions raised by these issues and assess some of the practical…

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International Cooperation and Climate Change (Philosophy@LSE Panel Discussion)

23 June 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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This event is jointly organised with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE In the wake of the fifth IPCC Report, we know that tackling climate change is crucial for human well-being. So why has the international community been faltering on effective climate action? What prospects are there for improvement at the forthcoming Paris conference? And…

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The Folly of Crowds? (Forum for European Philosophy “Consilience” public discussion)

25 June 2015, 6:30 pm8:00 pm

Mind sharing, crowdsourcing, online ratings – in our modern world we are constantly exposed to the opinion of the group. We are told that crowds are wise (‘Two heads are better than one’ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) and are cautioned against the madness of the mobs (‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’). When is the crowd wise and when is it prone…

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September 2015

The Nature of Memory: perspectives from art, history and neuroscience (Forum for European Philosophy public discussion)

29 September 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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Our ability to recall the past is a fundamental feature of what makes us human. While neuroscience has advanced our understanding of memory, how do these insights relate to memory as understood in the classics, literature, philosophy and art? Jessica Bland is Principal Researcher in Policy and Research at Nesta. Sebastian Groes is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the…

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October 2015

A Right to Migrate? (Forum for European Philosophy public discussion)

6 October 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 Most people would agree that we have a right to leave our country of origin. But since leaving one country usually means arriving in another, do we also have a right to immigrate? If so, how can this be reconciled with a state’s apparent right to exclude? We bring together a panel of philosophers…

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