Archive for September, 2014

This coming Friday, our Honorary president Chris Eddy speaks on this topic. He says:

“This talk will be about the idea that genital contact between the sexes is spiritually polluting in itself, or that it is so if not surrounded by the purifying rituals of marriage.   The idea is explicit in traditional religions and in radical separatist feminism, e.g., in the influential work of Sheila Jeffreys and Kathleen Barry.   I shall suggest that it is also implicit in the mainstream feminist assumption, expressed in a UN report of 1983, that all prostitution is slavery – which assumes that no woman could be imagined engaging in that occupation from choice.   I shall also suggest that it is implicit in some of the public discussion of the Jimmy Savile case and in the use of the phrase like “it sucks” as a general term of condemnation.

I believe Daniel Kelly (author of “Yuck!”) is right to argue that we should not use expressions of disgust to generate support for moral arguments.   Beyond that, I believe pollutionistic attitudes to sex are still being used to infantilise and intimidate women.   Of course, we no longer have any patience with the claim that, when a woman says “No” she means “Yes”, but it seems we are still willing to hear it said that, when a woman says “Yes”, she means “No”.

Come along this Friday to hear more and add your own thoughts.



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Autumn 2014 schedule…

is now published – see the ‘page’ linked from the right hand side of this page.

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This week we welcome Bob Churchill to the Phil Soc. Bob works in policy and communications at the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), having previously worked at both the British Humanist Association and the Uganda Humanist Association. He studied philosophy at the University of Warwick and Queen’s University, Canada, and has long-standing interests in secularism, Humanism, ethics and epistemology.

In “You Suck at Rationalism”, Bob will tackle some lesser known problems faced by those committed to the use of reason. Not boring problems like relativists and post-modernists think there are, but proper philosophical problems, explained so almost anyone can understand them. He will air challenges to rationalists and sceptics that you may never have heard before, and which are often downplayed or overlooked by philosophers themselves. He will show that a smarter, leaner rationalism can survive this attack and why it should be the true philosophy of scepticism.

Come along for what promises to be a fascinating evening.


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This Friday the Philosophical Society commences its autumn term with a talk by Treasurer John Little on “DOGNITION  – The minds of dogs, chimps and humans.”

John says: ” As always, my interest is in human cognition and what gave us our decisive advantage over the animal kingdom. Recently, two new pieces of information have crossed my path.  Firstly, in some mental abilities, dogs are closer to humans than chimpanzees.  Secondly, over at least the last twenty thousand years, the human brain has been shrinking (between 10 – 20 %).

So over summer, I’ve been reading books on dog cognition plus Michael Tomasello’s ‘A Natural History of Human Thinking’, Bruce Hood’s ‘The Domestic Brain’, and Thomas Suddendorf’s ‘The Gap’.  Just how did we get to be the way we are?”

Come along to the Friends’ Meeting House on Eastcott Hill this Friday at 7.40 to find out more.

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