Wednesday, December 27, 2006

RPE Christmas Meal Pictures

The Christmas Meal Pictures are now in the RPE Photo Album. (more photos please if you have them)
(see the 'Links' section) - enjoy - Dave.

Or click:

Note: Due to a blog upgrade (like the new look?), you may need to re-register to leave comments.

Sorry about this - should only take you a moment...

While on the subject of Christmas, you may think there is little of philosophical interest in the holiday...

Well, not everyone agrees - I wish I had found it earlier, but see for details of a book about 'The Philosophy of Christmas' - I am not sure how serious it is - but hope to have read it by next Christmas...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Festive Greetings

Hope you all have a great Christmas, winterval, etc -

But if it is Christmas day - why are you on the internet?
See to ponder whether you ought to be...


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Convert or Die?

Thanks to Jason (level 2) for this link to a Christian computer game story - in which you have to convert or kill the heathens...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Flickr, etc

Hi - quick post: I am in the process of organising a Flickr book for the course: this is an on-line photo album for pics from various events, trips, etc..

I will put the images into folders, etc - once I have time. For now, you can see some pictures from the Hindu Temple visit at

Also after last night's student Christmas meal - I expect an influx of images from those with digital cameras - which I shall also upload..

Cheers, Dave

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Argument Panic?

As some of you are still frantic looking for examples of bad arguments - I thought a bit of compassion may be in order: take a look at for help: but be sure to properly reference any examples you use.

If people want to add to the comments sections (esp after today once the RPE101 notebook task is complete & handed in) any bad arguments they have either used in that task - or just come across and would like to share - that would be interesting...


Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas banned?

As the tabloid press starts its usual festive hysteria over the "PC brigade" banning Christmas (see ) - is this accurate?

- the Guardian offers another view - that this is a 'phoney war':,,1967368,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=11

The National Secular Scoiety says that: Claims That Christmas Has Been Banned by Employers are Exaggerated and Misleading.

How do you feel about this: do you feel that xmas is under pressure?

Or is there something else going on?

Looking forward to a festive response...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Peter Singer / Animal Testing & Utilitarianism

Philosopher Peter Singer has been in the news again. While most well-known for his advocacy of animal rights, he has surprised many by claming that some animal testing may be justified. While some animals rights campaigners may be shocked - students may recongise the view that, as he is a utilitarian (of some kind), he would not have an in principle, objection - if the benefit can be said to outweigh the harm. Read here: about Singer's recent statements - and his seeming ability to upset just about everyone...

What is your view of animal testing? Is it justified in a consequentialist manner? On some other grounds? Or not at all?


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

See update at: as well... - esp for discussion of the story in more detail..

Note: If you are a student looking at this to help with a paper/essay on the Omelas short story - that is great, we hope something here helps - but be sure to give a reference - and send me and e-mail to let me know if you find the material useful..

Dave W:

In the RPE101 (Philosophical and Ethical Arguing) class today, we talked about the Ursula Le Guin short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas - as a focus for concerns about Utilitarianism and responsibility...

There is a wikipedia piece at - which explains the story - but also see the essay at - whose conclusions I am not convinced by: but ask yourself the questions

1 - Would you stay in the city - knowing your happiness was at the expense of a suffering child?

2 - Do we not anyway enjoy an easy life at the direct expense of others in the developing world already? Are we not just at guilty as the Omelas-people who choose to stay?

responses welcome...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Meal...

NEWSFLASH: The Christmas RPE Student meal is booked: It will be at the Balti on the Bath Road at 6pm on Wednesday 13th December.

However - they do need some idea of numbers - so let the student reps know (I will e-mail the contact for the second years who have booked it to all current students on Tueday 5th December - let me know if you don't get that e-mail)

Or let me know - and I will pass on requests for details, etc...


Those of you doing RPE101 (Philosophical and Ethical Arguing) may enjoy the argument examples at - using the words of MTV's Beavis and Butthead (some of us are old enough to remember them)...


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Heirs to the slavers - Guardian

Today's Guardian has a piece entitled Heirs to the slavers - at,,1960629,00.html - which looks at those whose ancestors were slave traders - and asks the views of a range of others - including Dizzee Rascal, Trisha (!) and others - hope you find it interesting...


Buddhist 2

Celebrity Buddhist watch, pt2: THe e-magazine, Zen Unbound has a table of celebrity Buddhist practitioners - and an estimation of the extent to which Buddhism is part of their lives... It is at


Friday, December 01, 2006

Celebrity Buddhist Watch...

Okay - we talked about Richard Gere: I suggest we now collect examples of pop-stars and other celebs giving their views on Buddhism - and indeed other spiritual matters: I will start with Ricky Martin (remember him?) talking on Buddhist Philosophty, as reported in an Indian newspaper at:

more examples welcome (maybe we should have a prize for the best/worst?) - so use comments to nominate the naffest news story of Celebrity Buddhist matters - or equivalents...