Winter Programme 2020

30th January

Professor Alessandra Tanesini (Cardiff University) will talk on Passionate Speech: On The Uses and Abuses of Anger in Public Debate

Anger dominates debates in the public sphere. In this talk I discuss two types of anger: the arrogant anger of those who arrogate special entitlements, and the liberatory anger that can be used to good effect in the struggles for equality and recognition. I show that arrogant anger is often at the root of intimidation and behaviours designed to humiliate. I also explore how on occasion calls for civility actually promote the silencing of liberatory anger.

Alessandra Tanesini is Professor of Philosophy at Cardiff University. Her new book The Mismeasure of the Self: A Study in Vice Epistemology is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.

12th February

Paul Bridges (Gloucestershire Philosophical Society) will speak on A short history of Determinism; but you knew that already didn’t you.

There cannot be anybody that has any interest in philosophy that hasn’t pondered on the subject of determinism at some point.  Does the universe behave rationally, in accordance with the laws of cause and effect or is there an element of randomness, of irrationality inherent in it?  And the same question can be posed at the sub-atomic and quantum levels as it can at the biological and human level, and the ultimate expression of the conundrum lies in the question of free will.  Are we really the moral agents of our own destiny or simply clockwork constructions acting out the play that was predetermined at the Big Bang?

In this talk Paul Bridges will look at the history of determinism and the current landscape of deterministic thought as well as how determinism has been portrayed in some aspects of modern culture.  And there will be plenty of time for attendees to bring their own thinking and ideas to the table.  Although we won’t resolve all of the questions that determinism poses in the time available, we can hopefully have a lively and stimulating discussion.  But you knew that already didn’t you?

Paul Bridges has been a member of the Gloucestershire Philosophical Society for the last three years.  Paul, along with 8 billion other people on this planet, is almost uniquely qualified for this talk in having suffered the vicissitudes of good and bad fortune for over 60 years whilst still doggedly clinging to the belief that he ‘makes his own luck’.

26th February

Professor Adam Hart (University of Gloucestershire) will speak on Killing for conservation – the ethical tangle of ‘trophy hunting‘.

With Love Island providing the latest “controversy”, trophy hunting is never far away from the headlines. In this lecture Professor Adam Hart will explore the reasons why a great many conservation scientists and international conservation organisations support the activity, and why many people loathe it. Through some real-world wildlife and habitat management problems, Adam will show how nothing is black-and-white when different ideas of ethics and morality meet conservation.

Adam Hart is Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire.  He is a biologist, broadcaster and author and, among other things, researches conservation management in southern Africa. He is a frequent commentator on the trophy hunting debate for national media. 

10th March

Professor Havi Carel  ‘It’s hard to think without your pants on’: Patients as Knowers.

In this talk, I will examine how patient accounts are discounted, ignored, marginalised or otherwise deemed uncredible. Using Miranda Fricker’s concept, epistemic injustice, I characterise this problem as endemic to modern healthcare structures. I end by offering ameliorative strategies.

Havi Carel is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bristol and the author of Phenomenology of Illness (2016), Illness (2008, 2013, 2018 shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize), and of Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger (2006).

25th March

Dr Patrice Haynes (Liverpool Hope University) will talk on Decolonising Philosophy of Religion in Conversation With African Indigenous Religions

Increasingly, philosophy of religion is charged with failing to attend to the diversity of religions in the world, typically focusing on a narrow, abstract vision of Christian theism. This talk first historicises modern philosophy of religion in order to disclose the field’s entanglement with a colonial global order. Following the work of decolonial theorist Sylvia Wynter, I argue that a mandatory task for decolonising philosophy of religion is re-conceptualising the human beyond European ‘Man’ hailed as normative humanity. Drawing on the rich yet often-neglected resources in African indigenous religions, I develop the notion of an animist humanism. In developing this notion, my aim is not simply aim to expand the content of philosophy of religion but to renegotiate the field altogether, pointing to constructive possibilities that defy its colonial legacy.

Patrice Haynes is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Liverpool Hope University. Her research interests focus primarily on issues in philosophy of religion, particularly as these are reframed by continental, feminist and decolonial philosophies. She is currently working on her second book, tentatively titled Decolonising Philosophy of Religion in and through an African Cosmo-Sense, in which she challenges the Eurocentric focus of philosophy of religion and explores how African indigenous religions could reorient the field in exciting new ways.

All sessions will be held at the Francis Close Campus of the University of Gloucestershire, Swindon Road, Cheltenham at 7 pm in room HC203 (apart from the session on the 10th March, which will be at 5:30 pm). All sessions are free.

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