The series of seminars takes place between October 2019 and June 2020. Please note that all seminars take place on Thursday evenings (unless otherwise stated), beginning at 18:30. They will be held at the Reform Club, 104 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5EW (see: information for visitors and directions).
Thursday 10 October 2019
Niall Ferguson. Understanding Modernity.
Niall Ferguson is an historian by training, but also one with a developed philosophical approach, and students are strongly advised to look at his book Civilisation: The West and the Rest, published in 2011, to get an idea of his approach to the great geo-political and cultural conundrums that currently confront us.
Thursday 31 October 2019
Alicja Gescinska: Continental Philosophy and the Lebenswelt.
Alicja Gescinska is an award-winning Polish-Flemish novelist and philosopher, who has made a study of Max Scheler, Karol Wojtyła, and other important voices that are too often overlooked by analytical (that is English-speaking) philosophy. A reading of Max Scheler’s book on Sympathy would be a good introduction to her talk.
Thursday 28 November 2019
Simon Backburn: What is Philosophy?
Professor Simon Backburn FBA is a leading analytical philosopher who will show why the study of language and logic is not a dry and uncreative addition to philosophy but part of the essence of the subject. His highly influential and readable book Think should be on every philosopher’s desk.
Thursday 19 December 2019
Raymond Tallis: Mind, Brain and World.
Raymond Tallis is one of the most prolific polymaths of our time. A retired doctor with a profound interest in brain science, he has published essays, novels, poems and philosophical theses at a rate that continues to astonish his many admirers. His latest philosophical work, Logos, 2019, exploring the relation between mind and world, has been enthusiastically received, and would make an engaging introduction to the work of this highly versatile and challenging writer.
Thursday 16 January 2020
Fiona Ellis: God and Nature.
Professor Fiona Ellis is one of our leading philosophers of religion, who has expounded a vision of God and the sacred that builds on the same foundations as the naturalism of our post-Enlightenment ways of thinking. Students should look at the argument of her God, Value and Nature, and connect it to their own thoughts about the relation between the imminent and the transcendent.
Thursday 13 February 2020
Simon May: On Love.
Professor Simon May’s influential account of love, the most recent version of which was published in 2019 as Love, A New Understanding of an Ancient Emotion, OUP, has helped to return anglophone philosophy to the realm of the relevant, and students will learn much from its author as to what philosophy can be and how it can make a difference.
Thursday 12 March 2019
Douglas Murray: The Madness of Crowds.
One of the most distinguished and combative of the younger generation of political commentators, Douglas Murray has turned his highly philosophical mind to the question on which philosophy, as a public enterprise, now depends: the question of free speech, witch-hunting and the hysteria of crowds. How can we ensure that the questions that concern us can remain discussable, in a world where all are afraid of speaking their minds? His book The Madness of Crowds is to be published very soon.
Thursday 16 April 2020
Anthony Daniels: Freedom and Responsibility.
Anthony Daniels, well known for his columns as a prison doctor, under the pseudonym of Theodor Dalrymple, has observed the many ways in which responsibility is being driven from the heart of human relations in our age of instant gratification. His portrait of our cultural crisis is a refined exercise in black humour (see The Knife Went In), but it also opens the question of what freedom and responsibility really are in the age in which we live. On that students might be advised to read Roger Scruton, On Human Nature.
Thursday 14 May 2020
Maurice Glasman: Citizenship, Nationhood and Belonging.
Lord Glasman is a historian and commentator, founder of Blue Labour, who has been an active voice in defining the emerging situation of our country and of Europe, as global ways of thinking exert their influence over traditional ways of being. He will give the philosophical and historical context to the recent crises, and point the way to the application in contemporary politics of the ideas that we have been exploring in this course.
Thursday 18 June 2020
Roger Scruton and team. An overview of the course and encouragement.
We have left this seminar open, because we will want to advise students on how to take things forward in the writing of a thesis. Results from previous years have been very encouraging, and you will be shown examples of theses that have been produced, many of which have been awarded merit or distinction. You will be guided through the summer by your supervisors, and there will be no need to panic. Just remember that the purpose of a 20,000 word MA is to show an understanding of your topic. It is not to make an ‘original contribution’ of the kind looked for in a Ph D.
Each guest speaker seminar begins at 18:30 and is followed by a dinner (also at the Reform Club), at 20:00, with the guest speaker. The cost of all post-seminar dinners is included in the tuition fees.
See the Humanities Curriculum Handbook for further course details.