Home & News


Non-UK Members

Joining the Society

Membership Renewal


Events Programme

The Review

Members' Weekend

International Members' Weekend

Away Day

Discussion Forum

Chadwick Prize

Philsoc Student Prize


Links & Portraits



Rewley House Weekend Events

Future Events Programme

Phlsoc members are entitled to a 10% discount on weekend courses listed below
(not applicable to the unacredited lecture series).

July 23: Philsoc Away Day: Universals
Bob Stone, Neil Webb, Bob Clarke, Peter Gibson.
September 02-03: Members' Weekend: Health
Speakers TBA.
September 16 (one day): Free Speech
Richard Sorabji (Tawney Room)
In this day school we will be examining Free Speech. We shall start by examining the development of the idea of Free Speech starting in the fifth century BC and including ancient Greece, India, Persia, medieval Arabic-speaking countries and medieval Christianity. We shall then consider some of the difficulties inherent in Free Speech. We will consider the USA’s legal requirement on Free Speech, which allows few boundaries, and also John Stuart Mill’s emphasis on the benefits of Free Speech, as opposed to our right to it. We’ll examine the question of what happens when someone exercises their right when that frustrates the benefits of Free Speech, by closing down discussion and understanding. Should lovers of Free Speech voluntarily refrain from indulging their right, or encouraging others to do so, in such cases? Finally we shall look at the difficulties of framing legal boundaries to free speech. Should abuse of religion, class, or race be legally outlawed, if intended to cause offence, or if likely to do so? Did the Brexit campaign uncover further legal difficulties? For example did the law permit too much speech hostile to foreigners, or allow too much mendacity? How should we deal with lies in the newspapers, or abuse on the internet? There will be plenty of opportunity to socialise with other participants and with the speaker.
October 9 - November 13, 14:00 - 15:30: Knowledge (unaccredited lecture series)
Marianne Talbot (Lecture Theatre)
The claim that knowledge cannot be false always attracts objections. “Surely people used to know that the Earth was flat?”, people will say “But that was false”. But no, people once falsely believed they knew the Earth was flat. They didn’t, and couldn’t, KNOW it – and that is because if a belief counts as knowledge it must be true. This course will introduce you to Epistemology – the Theory of Knowledge. What is knowledge? Why is knowledge important? What different kinds of knowledge are there? Can we achieve knowledge? If we can achieve knowledge how can we achieve it? Knowledge is one of the most important goods that human beings can achieve – come to these lectures and discover why this is the case.
October 21-22: Wagner and Philosophy
Meade McLoughan and John Deathridge (Lecture Theatre)
Richard Wagner (1813-1883) has long been considered one of the most obviously philosophical of the great artists in the European tradition. This is in recognition both of the way in which his work was particularly open to philosophical influences and of the extent to which it has in turn stimulated significant philosophical responses. We will start by evaluating the importance of Schopenhauer’s philosophy for Wagner, before considering the extent to which the music dramas can be understood as presenting their own distinctive philosophical ideas. There will be then be two different takes on philosophical approaches to Wagner, focusing on the most important and sustained instance of this in the work of Wagner’s one-time friend and colleague, Nietzsche, but also taking in twentieth-century responses from Adorno and others.
November 25-26: The Rationality of Animals
Alex Kecelnic and Marianne Talbot (Lecture Theatre)
Aristotle called humans ‘the only rational animal’. But was he right? What exactly is it to be rational? Are there really no animals (birds, plants…) that are rational? Surely animals, birds and plants might be rational in a different way from human beings? Maybe there are degrees of rationality? We know for sure that different disciplines make use of different accounts of rationality – perhaps the idea of what it is to be rational must be relativized to different disciplines. Perhaps, even within a discipline, it should be relativized to different species? During this weekend a philosopher and a zoologist will be addressing these questions and more.

January 13-14: Equality
Jo Wollf and Emily McTiernan (Lecture Theatre)
Details TBA
February 17-18: Kantian Metaphysics
Anill Gomes and Adrian Moore (Tawney Room)
Details TBA
March 10-11: TBA
(Tawney Room)
Details TBA
April 07-08: TBA
(Tawney Room)
Details TBA
May 19-20: TBA
(Sadler Room)
Details TBA
October 08 - November 12, 14:00 - 15:30: TBA (unaccredited lecture series)

Details TBA
October 20 - 21: TBA

Details TBA
November 24-25: TBA

Details TBA

January 12-13: TBA

Details TBA
February 16-17: TBA

Details TBA
March 09-10: TBA

Details TBA
April 06-07: TBA

Details TBA
May 18-19: TBA

Details TBA