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Archive for May, 2011

This is the final meeting of the Philosophical Society until autumn. Unfortunately our planned speaker is unable to join us; in his place John Little will talk about Intuition and Reason.
In recent years there has been great interest in so-called dual-process theories of human cognition. According to such theories, there are two distinct systems – an evolutionarily old system that is associative, automatic, unconscious, parallel, and fast, and a more recent, distinctively human system that is rule-based, controlled, conscious, serial, and slow. In the former, processes are held to be innate and to use heuristics that evolved to solve specific adaptive problems. In the latter, processes are taken to be learned, flexible, and responsive to rational norms.
Sound familiar? How does this relate to Iain McGilchrist’s claims based on the two hemispheres of the brain? And is Tamar Gendler’s distinction between Alief and Belief a helpful one?
Come along for this final meeting and find out.

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This week’s speaker is Fred Inglis, Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Sheffield and author of Collingwood’s biography. Previously, Fred was Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick.
R. G. Collingwood (1889–1943) was a British philosopher best known for his work in aesthetics and the philosophy of history. During the 1950s and 1960s, his philosophy of history occupied centre stage in the debate concerning the nature of explanation in the social sciences and whether or not they are ultimately reducible to explanations in the natural sciences. His ‘Essay on Philosophical Method’ (1933) attempts to explain why philosophy is an autonomous discipline with a distinctive method and subject matter that differ from those of the natural and the exact sciences. Collingwood is most famous for his two books, The Idea of History and The Idea of Nature, works collated from various sources soon after his death: they came to be a major inspiration for philosophy of history in the English-speaking world, leading one commentator to ironically remark that Collingwood is coming to be “the best known neglected thinker of our time”.

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In conjunction with the Literature Festival, we are holding two events at the Swindon Arts Centre. From 6.30pm to 8.00pm, Professor Laurie Taylor (presenter of ‘Thinking Allowed’ on Radio 4) and Emma Kennedy (author of ‘I left my tent in San Francisco’) will be speaking about their work.
From 8.00pm, we have the second Swindon Think Slam where entrants have 3 minutes to introduce a thought-provoking idea, theory, or story. This is a competition and we need your support so please come!!

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Just to remind you that this Friday night’s event is run jointly between the Swindon Festival of Literature and the Swindon Philosophical Society and you will need to obtain tickets (cost £5.00 each) from the Swindon Museum (telephone 466556). The reviews of Iain Gilchrist’s recent book ‘The Master and his Emissary’ have been extremely positive and so it should be a very interesting evening.

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