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The Ethics of Debt and Finance

Alexander Douglas (St. Andrews)

Date: Sunday 16th February


Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL


Time: 7-8:30pm


Cost: £8 (£5 conc.)

Economists and philosophers tend to work with a relatively benign concept of debt: it is an instrument allowing a borrower to effectively spend her own future income by borrowing the savings of a lender and (often) paying an interest charge for the temporary use of them. 

 

The practice of lending at interest has regularly functioned to allow creditors to deliberately generate unpayable debts, with the intention of reducing debtors to permanent servitude. Naturally this involved collusion among creditors, so that early economists could reasonably have expected the practice to die out with modern capitalism. But, I argue, this does not seem to be what happened.

 

Rather, the modern financial system preserves the old feudal structure. It continues to facilitate the generation of unpayable loans, along with the major consequence: the stratification of society into a creditor caste and a debtor caste. Sweeping such practices under the benign-sounding concept of debt serves an agenda of political obfuscation that we should resist.

Alexander Douglas is lecturer in philosophy at St. Andrews and the author of The Philosophy of Debt

N.B. This is a ticketed event: eventbrite.co.uk/e/90993428795

The Medicalization of Love

Brian D. Earp (Yale)

Date: Sunday 15th March


Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL


Time: 7-8:30pm


Cost: £8 (£5 conc.)

The idea of drugs that intervene in our love lives may sound like a really bad one, the kind of sinister-sounding idea that is likely to generate an instinctive sense of horror or despair in anticipation of yet another aspect of our lives coming under the medical gaze, of new love-related mental disorders being manufactured by drug companies and added to the catalogue of disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), of a virulent form of bio-reductionism that reduces the complexities of love to neuronal firings in a particular part of the brain, and so on. 

Yale-based bioethicist and co-author of Love Drugs Brian D. Earp will explore cutting-edge research into "love drugs" and "anti-love drugs" and their ethical implications for individuals and society.

Praise for Love Drugs

"Love Drugs reports current science on the effect of drugs on love and sex, adds anecdotes and case studies, and combines that with ethics and wisdom on what is important. The result is a fascinating account of a future that is starting to unfold right now." Peter Singer

N.B. This is a ticketed event: eventbrite.co.uk/e/91000128835

Wild Philosophy

Jonathan  Rée (Author of Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English)

Date: Tuesday 24th March


Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE


Time: 7-8:30pm


Cost: £5 (£3 concession)

 

 

Blurb for Talk TBC

Jonathan Rée is a freelance philosopher and historian. His recent book Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English has been praised as "astonishing" by Boyd Tonkin. 

Talk Title TBC

Tommy J. Curry (University of Edinburgh)

Date: Tuesday 7th April


Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE


Time: 7-8:30pm


Cost: £5 (£3 concession)

Blurb for Talk TBC

Tommy J. Curry is professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests are in Africana Philosophy and the Black Radical Tradition. His areas of specialization are: 19th century ethnology, Critical Race Theory, Social Political Theory, and Black Male Studies. He is the author of The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood, which won the 2018 American Book Award. 

Fear of Our Own Power: Spinoza & the Climate Crisis

Beth Lord (University of Aberdeen)

Date: Tuesday 21st April


Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE


Time: 7-8:30pm


Cost: £5 (£3 concession)

\In this talk, renowned Spinoza scholar Beth Lord will explore what Spinoza can contribute to our thinking about the climate crisis, and specifically, our thinking about the emotions generated by it.

For Spinoza, that which increases human action and thinking is good: on this definition, deriving energy from fossil fuels has been a very great human good over the past 400 years. But we now understand our reliance on fossil fuels to be bad for our flourishing and that of other forms of life on earth. We can no longer rejoice in the consideration of collective human power: instead, we now fear its devastating predicted effects. What are the implications of this fear of our own power? What confusions does this fear emerge from? And how can we correct and clarify our emotional response to the climate crisis?

Beth Lord is a Canadian philosopher specialising in the history of philosophy, especially the work and influence of Immanuel Kant and Baruch Spinoza, and contemporary Continental philosophy. 

Panpsychism is Not Just for Hippies

Philip Goff (University of Durham)

Date: Tuesday 5th May


Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE


Time: 7-8:30pm


Cost: £5 (£3 concession)

Once dismissed by Colin McGinn as “a complete myth, a comforting piece of utter balderdash. . . isn’t there something vaguely hippyish, i.e. stoned, about the doctrine?”, panpsychism is on the rise, and University of Durham philosopher Philip Goff is leading the charge. 

Rooted in an analysis of the philosophical underpinnings of modern science and based on the early 20th century work of Arthur Eddington and Bertrand Russell, Goff will make the case for panpsychism as a theory which posits that consciousness is not confined to biological entities but is a fundamental feature of all physical matter—from subatomic particles to the human brain. 

Philip Goff's recent book Galileo's Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness has been praised by Philip Pullman as "a splendid introduction to this fascinating idea."

How to Be a Stoic

John Sellars (Royal Holloway)

Date: Tuesday 19th May


Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE


Time: 7-8:30pm


Cost: £5 (£3 concession)

After hosting Edith Hall defending Aristotle in 2018 and Catherine Wilson defending Epicurus in 2019, we are delighted to have John Sellars come and defend the Stoics in 2020! 

What aspects of your life do you really control? What do you do when you cannot guarantee that things will turn out in your favour? And what can Stoicism teach us about how to live together? Sellars will be addressing these and other questions that play a central role in this reinvigorated philosophy of life. 

John Sellars is a lecturer in Philosophy at Royal Holloway and one of the founder members of Modern Stoicism, the group behind Stoic Week, an annual global event inviting members of the public to "live like a Stoic for a week" to see how it might improve their lives. He recently wrote the bestselling Lessons in Stoicism

The Philosophy Queens

Rebecca Buxton (University of Oxford) & Lisa Whiting (Birkbeck)

Date: Tuesday June 5th


Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE


Time: 7-8:30pm


Cost: £5 (£3 concession)

The history of philosophy has not done women justice: you've probably heard the names Plato, Kant, Nietzsche and Locke - but what about Hypatia, Arendt, Oluwole and Young?

In this talk, Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting will discuss their much anticipated edited collection The Philosopher Queens, a book about the lives and works of women in philosophy by women in philosophy. From Hypatia to Angela Davis, Buxton and Whiting will guide us through the history of these badass women and how their amazing ideas have changed the world. 

Rebecca Buxton is a PhD student in International Development at the University of Oxford, specialising in philosophy, ethics and forced migration, while Lisa Whiting is currently studying for an MSc in Government, Policy and Politics following her undergraduate degree in philosophy.