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Come along to Cabaret Voltaire (36-38 Blair St, Edinburgh, EH1 1QR), doors open at 6.30pm and the talks start from 7pm. Come along for a bite of food, a chance to learn about the philosophy of Daoism
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. Bilingualism/multilingualism is a research field focused on learning more than one language over the lifespan and its effects on brains and behavior. I am a professor of developmental linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. I’m the founding director of the research and information centre Bilingualism Matters, which makes research results available to different sectors of society and has 17 branches all over Europe and the US.
Then there is a break when we get the chance to eat something, have a drink and a chat. Everyone is invited to bring an item of food to put on the table, and help take away the food at the end so that nothing goes to waste.
Daoism is one of the oldest philosophies there is. It was written down in only five thousand Chinese characters by a respected teacher called Laozi (604-531 BCE) before he travelled to the West. Because the language it is written in is so ancient, scholars have made many different translations. There are a few books in English but they are rather difficult.I have been teaching Chinese culture for fifty years and trying to practise Daoism all that time. As the years have gone by I find it easier and easier to understand, and in recent years new discoveries in geology and astronomy hae confirmed everything that Laozi taught.
Come along to the Boardroom of St John’s Church Conference Center (Princes St, Edinburgh, EH2 4BJ) at 7pm and take part in discussion about philosophy and science. It is a friendly and informal gathering to discuss topics with nibbles in good company. It is entirely free and open to everyone although please register via the Meetup group as places are limited to 14 people
There are so many questions and all seem interesting. If you are like me and can’t stop asking ‘why?’ then this is for you. In our bi-monthly meetings we will discuss all the questions that we can come up with, from the strangest to the smallest from the question whether God exists to the question whether we exist.
We will ask and discuss the nature of knowledge, what it means to lead a good life and the nature of beauty. We can discuss certain philosophers, specific philosophies or concepts you have come across.
At the end of every meeting we will decide on the theme for the next one.
The main focus of these meetings is for us to explore all of these issues together, to get your critical argumentation skills used again. There is an art to argumentation that has been lost in our world where visuals, emotional manipulation and personal experience have taken the place of reasonable discussion.
In order to develop some antibodies to this kind of influence we will discuss a form of deceptive argumentation strategy each time we meet using Schopenhauer’s ‘The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument’.
“The tricks, dodges, and chicanery, to which they [men] resort in order to be right in the end, are so numerous and manifold and yet recur so regularly that some years ago I made them the subject of my own reflection and directed my attention to their purely formal element after I had perceived that, however varied the subjects of discussion and the persons taking part therein, the same identical tricks and dodges always come back and were very easy to recognize. This led me at the time to the idea of clearly separating the merely formal part of these tricks and dodges from the material and of displaying it, so to speak, as a neat anatomical specimen.”
Volume 2, § 26, of his Parerga and Paralipomena, Schopenhauer
How does it work?
After we have explored one of the argumentative tricks with the help of Schopenhauer, I will give a 15-20 minute introduction to the topic of the meeting. That we will then investigate and explore it in dialogue together.
Why do philosophy, if you can do science?
There are so many questions that we can encounter that seem interesting, many of them are tackled by scientists. But there are so many questions that cannot be fully answered by any specific science. Just like biologists, for example, have no definite answer to the question ‘What is life?’, physicists seem to have no final answer to the question ‘What is existence?’.
So there is room for a genuine philosophical engagement with these questions concerning the world, life and the human condition. An engagement that uses scientific discoveries to inform our reflections, but a form of engagement that goes beyond the rationality of the positive sciences.
Since the outbreak of the Civil War in 1936, Spain has experienced a series of profound transformations that have marked the trajectory of its literature to this day. This lecture will survey the changes that Spanish literature (the novel, in the main) has undergone in this historical context in order to shed light on contemporary writing, especially that of the democratic period.
In his Inaugural Lecture for the University of Edinburgh, Professor Alexis Grohmann (Chair of Contemporary Spanish Literature) will look at the challenges that Spanish literature – and those who study and teach it – face, viewed through the prism of key twentieth- and twenty-first-century developments and the trajectory of certain paradigmatic writers and genres. He will also trace the emergence of new genres, such as the newspaper column by writers.
This event is part of a series of Inaugural Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, where newly appointed Professors or Chairs give free public talks on their current and recent research. It was originally scheduled for 28th February 2018, but had to be postponed due to extreme weather.
Come along to the St John’s Church Hall (Princes St, Edinburgh, EH2 4BJ) at 2.30pm and take part in discussion about philosophy. It is a friendly and informal gathering to discuss topics with food in good company. It is entirely free and open to everyone
Meeting on 21st of October:
In the first part of this meeting, we will develop those critical thinking skills and chat about Schopenhauer’s The art always being right. (see link provided) We will discuss the rhetorical third to fifth trick Schopenhauer presents (generalisation, concealment and false premises), and talk about whether we have had them used on us and what to do when someone uses one of these tricks in a discussion.
The general context of our question: The mind and the world, part II
This is second meeting about this philosophical topic. But it will be a stand-alone, so feel free to come along, even if you missed the last talk.
- Think about it. How do you know that anything you think you experience is actually real?
- How do we know that we don’t live in a computer simulation (think Matrix) or in a really elaborate dream from which we just do not wake?
- How do you know you are not dreaming right now?
- And if something just exists in your mind, or in your dream, does that mean it is less real – even though it appears absolutely real to you?
All of these questions circle the relation between mind and world, and there are many ways philosophers have attempted to investigate this relation.
- They did, for example, ask, what is consciousness and how does it relate to the world?
- Or, how do the mind and the body interact?
- Is everything structured and distorted by our minds?
- What is the difference between the mind and the physical brain?
- If our mind depends on the physical interactions in the brain, are our thoughts then determined by causal interaction?
On the 21st of October, we specifically be looking at one set of answers given to these questions, namely the ones provided by the phenomenologists Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger
Come along to the Safari Lounge (21 Cadzow Pl, Edinburgh EH7 5SN) at 6pm to join the discussion about Philosophy and Truth…
Philosophy and Truth Series by Tina Röck
We are all aware that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to distinguish fact from fiction in our fast-paced information society. This has led some to announce the end of truth, or to consider ours a post-truth society. I would like to be a little more careful. Instead of simply proclaiming the death of truth, it seems to be more appropriate to claim that we are living in a time of crisis – a crisis of truth.
What we believe to be true still guides our actions, therefore in a practical sense, there can be no doubt that truth matters. It is simply not the case that modern western societies in general do not care at all about truth anymore (though there might be individuals that do not care), the core problem seems to be that it has become impossibly hard to find the truth. In this talk series I want to discover with all of you what you think truth is and give you some philosophical tools to think about truth
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