Archive for April, 2014

This week, Marina Strinkovsky visits the PhilSoc to talk about the controversial topic of evolutionary psychology. She asks:

What draws us to evolutionary explanations of our behaviour?

Why do we look to Darwinian mechanisms when trying to explain economic inequality, interpersonal violence, or even why children seem to prefer toys of certain colours to others?

Marina will look at the axioms and assumptions of the field of Evolutionary Psychology and suggest three different hypotheses as to its enduring appeal as an explanatory framework for human relationships.


How can you miss it? Come along this Friday and hear all.


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Hopefully not – but read this article and see what you think.



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For the first talk of the summer ‘term’, John Little will be looking at the cosmos.

John quotes Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: “As far as our knowledge of the nature of physical reality is concerned—four-dimensional space-time and genes and neurons and neurotransmitters and the Higgs boson and quantum fields and black holes and maybe even the multiverse—it’s science that has racked up the results. Science is the ingenious practice of prodding reality into answering us back when we’re getting it wrong, and, of course, we have a marked tendency to get reality wrong. If you think of the kind of problems our brains evolved to solve in the Pleistocene epoch, it’s a wonder we’ve managed to figure out a technique to get so much right, one that is capable of getting reality itself to debunk some of our deepest intuitions about it. In contrast, philosophical arguments, lacking that important pushback from the world, don’t have a comparable track record in establishing what Hume called matters of fact and existence. ”

Come along to find out (some of) the answers to these questions:

What is the nature of the Cosmos?

How big is it … could it be infinite? Did it have a beginning in time?

What was the early universe like? How do we know?

What is inflation? What are gravity waves?

Why is everyone so excited by the recent news of the confirmation of gravity waves in the early universe? How solid are the findings of BICEP 2?

Have we found the first evidence of the existence of the Multiverse?

Do these findings tell us what the fate of the Cosmos will be?

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This week sees the long  – awaited talk from Swindon Quakers about their faith. This is what they have to say:

“Members of Swindon Quaker Meeting are pleased to welcome the Philosophical Society to their Meeting House, but have you ever wondered what happens in the Meeting Room on a Sunday morning?  Elspeth Wollen and other Swindon Quakers will explain what you can expect if you come to a Quaker Meeting for Worship, covering such questions as:

  • How does the worship work without a priest?
  • In what way is Quaker worship a corporate experience, rather than individual meditation?
  • How do Quaker Meetings make decisions without voting?

We will look back to the origins of Quakerism in the turbulent times of the mid 17th century: how George Fox, disillusioned with the established church and searching for a more meaningful faith, discovered the power of the Inward Light of Christ in his heart; how early Friends spread their message and upheld their testimonies in the face of persecution – and why they were called Quakers!

We will outline changes and developments in the movement during the 18th and 19th centuries, and the role Quakers played in social reform, industry and science.  Reaching our own lifetimes, we will describe ways Quakers are trying to live out their faith in the world and consider some responses to the challenges of inequality, violent conflict and environmental damage.

Recognising the wide diversity of theology among Quakers today, we may reflect on whether the Society of Friends can still be said to be Christian and what role it has in ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue.

Areas to explore through questions and discussion might include: the relationship between science and religion; the nature of Truth; where authority lies for Quakers; the tension between the individual and the corporate – and no doubt much more.”


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