Philsoc Away Day is held once a year and the speakers are Society
members. These events are open to all Philsoc members. The Away Day Archive page gives access to
records of past such events.
AwayDay 2017 is now fully booked, but you can be
wait-listed. See below
The theme is Universals, a central topic in philosophy since
at least the time of Plato's Ideas or Forms. Plato's Forms reappeared
almost unaltered as Bertrand Russell's universals in the latter's
extremely readable and inexpensive The Problems of Philosophy
(1912). Universals also masquerade as 'properties', 'types',
'kinds', 'attributes', 'qualities', 'features', etc. The precise
relationship between such universal qualities, properties etc and the
particulars to which they are attributed or in which they inhere
continues to exercise philosophers to this day. What universal quality
does any particular game have – say tennis, patience, ring-a-ring
o' roses or blind man's bluff – that enables us to recognise it as
a Game at all? Is it an internal essence, or some transcendent ideal to
which they all approximate, or a human concept of gameness; or are they
only 'games' because we have decided to call them call them that?
The four Philsoc members who will present at Pigotts will illuminate
the problems associated with such proposals, ones that philosophers have
made over the centuries; and even if they fail to come up with a wholly
satisfactory solution, you will be left with a richer understanding of
the problem, and have full opportunity to contribute to the debate.
The speakers and their talks are as follows:
Bob Stone: 'Universals: how Plato started the whole thing off'
Neil Webb: 'Did Wittgenstein solve the problem of Universals?'
Bob Clarke: 'Universals - A conceptualist approach'
Peter Gibson: 'Universals - humanity's greatest creation'
The format is not unlike Members' Days held in Rewley House, but
cosier and more bucolicc, with participation limited to 25 members!
Pigotts is a historic and wonderfully rural
location in the Bucks countryside near High Wycombe, a place to escape
all urban distractions and enjoy philosophy. See here for directions on how to reach
The course fee of £15
includes a slap-up lunch, as well as a thoroughly entertaining day of
absorbing philosophy in a rustic setting. In due course I shall send you
a full programme, which will also appear here on the website. Attendance
is from 9.30 am until 5.15 pm.
Although the event is now fully booked, do write to me to be put on the
waiting list. Cancellations often occur, and I will immediately inform
wait-listed applicants in strict order of application if a place becomes
available. If so, and you can still attend, payment can be made on the
day by cheque or cash.
Please address any application or query to me at