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OUDCE Philosophical Society

Philsoc Away Day, Sunday 23rd July 2017



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.

Registration is now open for Philsoc's AwayDay 2017 in the country

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 bucolic! 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 Pigotts.

Register here. The course fee of £15 includes a slap-up lunch, as well as a thoroughly entertaining day of absorbing philosophy in a rustic setting. Participation is limited to 25 Philsoc members; so do not wait too long to be sure of reserving your place in the intimate gathering. In due course a full programme will appear on the website.

Please address any queries to me at fbrierley@ntlworld.com.

Frank Brierley