Philosophy in the Community

I occasionally run philosophy workshops, previously with Trade School Norwich. To find out about these please join my mailing list at the bottom of the page. Anyone can attend.

These are not lectures. They are dialogues in which anyone who wishes can participate. They are about talking and they are about listening. But most importantly of all they are about thinking, considering and reconsidering not only the thoughts and arguments of others but those of our own. No previous knowledge of philosophy is required.

Does Inequality Matter?

Barrio Juan XXIII

Moral philosophy is about providing arguments for what we regard as good in life and what principles can be used to realise these things. A good life can be thought of as one in which certain needs are met. So the kind of things that we are concerned with are those that the having of brings well being, and the lack of brings distress. These could be things like subsistence, further material goods once subsistence has been met, freedom and autonomy, meaningful social and personal relations, and avenues for cultural and artistic expression.

Coffee and Consciousness

Imagine two coffee tasters, Chase and Sanborn. Every morning they drink the same coffee at the same coffee house. One morning while drinking their coffee they both decide that they no longer like it. Although the coffee they taste has not changed, the pleasure they get from it has ceased to be. Chase says “My tastes have changed. I’ve become a more sophisticated coffee drinker. I no longer like that taste at all.” Sanborn rationalises “But my tastes haven’t changed; my... tasters have changed... I think something has gone wrong with my taste buds...”.

How to Avoid the Backfire Effect and Change Minds

Contrary to what we might think, when presented with facts that run counter to what we currently believe we have a tendency of hardening, not softening, our currently held beliefs. This tendency is called the backfire effect and was discovered by researchers investigating how memory and knowledge are updated after correcting information has been received. The backfire effect works in several ways. Firstly there is the familiarity effect, the more someone is familiar with a claim the more likely they are to accept it as true.

Norwich Philosophy Circle. 16th March @ The White Lion, 6.30pm

I would like to invite you to this event some friends in Norwich are organising.

Norwich Community Philosophy Circle encourages equal participation by all in the community in the questions that matter to us. In the group we leave the books on the shelf but knowledge and experience are equally valued. All we ask is curiosity, a willingness to listen and a respect for others opinions.