Archive for March, 2012

If, as Christians claim, God is good and loving, why is there so much suffering and evil in the world?

Theodicy is the quest to explain or reconcile this question, and this Friday, Lee Rayfield, the current Bishop of Swindon, has agreed to explore this subject.

To some, the suffering of one innocent child is sufficient to disbar belief in a divine being whose very nature is love.  Yet Christians have persisted in holding to this assertion despite all the evidence that seems to contradict it.

Come and hear Bishop Lee reflect on why this is in ‘Where is your **** God?!  Belief in the face of suffering.’



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This week, Dr Rahman Khatibi will be talking about risk. This is what he has to say:

Risk analysis practices attracted philosophical debates from late 1960s to the 1980s, but I am not aware of philosophical thinking on this subject prior to the 1960s. The backdrop to the emergence of risk analysis practices and philosophical debates on risk is the emergence of a greater awarness of environmental issues, and the drive of policymakers and industrialists towards more developments with potential hazards, e.g. nuclear power. Philosophically-minded risk analysts thought they could enlighten the world by philosophy, but not surprisingly their endeavours soon ended up in a stalemate.                                                                                                           This talk will focus on three aspects: (1) a pragmatic overview of risk analysis, (2) an overview of philosophical debates on risk and their subsequent stalemate; and (3) a possible evolutionary explanation of risk practices.



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Last year, Ram Thiagarajah talked about Hindu Philosophy and touched upon the Caste System.

In this week’s talk, Ram will explore this further, looking at the origins of the Caste system, including:

  •  what it really means; 
  • advantages & disadvantages of the system; 
  • caste in the 20th  century; 
  • what the Indian  government has done to rectify the disadvantages  experienced by the low castes; 
  • political advantage in keeping the caste system alive;
  • and finally, posing the question “is the caste system relevant in the 21st century?” 

Ram will also briefly touch upon on divisions in other societies.


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This week’s speaker is Dr Andrew Pyle.

John Locke’s account of natural rights, and in particular his account of rights to property, have been the subject of much dispute. He has been represented as the last of the medieval natural law theorists, as a precursor of the modern theory of “possessive individualism”, and as at least implicitly committed to some form of rule-utilitarianism. But these three theories are radically distinct both in their principles and in their implications for practice. We will attempt to disentangle the opposed positions and discover Locke’s actual views.

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