Thursday, September 27, 2007

Philosophy & Ethics Reading Group

I am pleased to announce our preliminary meeting will be next Tuesday (2nd October - Week 2) at 6pm in FCH bar.
It will be an opportunity to meet each other, collate some ideas for our reading material, and to discuss other issues of place and frequency of meetings.
Anyone is welcome to attend. It might be useful to send me an email ( so I at least have an idea of who is interested: but turning up on the night is fine too.

Hope to see you there...

In Our Time

The excellent BBC Radio 4 series In Our Time has returned after a summer break with a discussion on Socrates. You can listen to this at any time on the net and, for one week only, you can download it as an MP3 and chill out to Socrates on your iPod!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gloucestershire Philosophical Society - programme

Hi - below is the programe for the GPS. I would encourage all RPE students (and others) to attend these - you will be made very welcome... [the guilt debate still continues at ]
Gloucestershire Philosophical Society.
Programme: Autumn Term, 2007-08.

Sessions held at 7.30 p.m. room 203 FCH Campus, Swindon Road, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham,
(Other than Brown Jug meeting on December 5th.)

1. Wed. October 10th. 2007. Professor Christopher Norris, University of Cardiff. “Maths, Ontology and Politics: The Work of Alain Badiou.”
Chris Norris will talk on the work of the prominent contemporary French philosopher, author of “Ethics: an Essay on the Understanding of Evil” and “Metapolitics”.

2. Wed. October 31st. 2007. Dr. Ian Jones, University of Gloucestershire. “Race and Reality: Foucault and Jim Crow”.
Ian Jones will discuss his recent study of the medicalisation of racism in the United States as codified in many of the ‘Jim Crow’ laws and practices, and the work of philosopher Michel Foucault in their understanding.

3. Wed. November 14th. 2007. Dr. Stella Sandford, University of Middlesex. “Approaching .the Work of Simone de Beauvoir”.
Stella Sandford, a member of the Radical Philosophy journal editorial board, will discuss her 2007 book How to Read Beauvoir, on the work of the French existentialist and major figure in the history of feminist ideas.

4. Wed. November 28th. 2007. Liz Rolls, University of Gloucestershire: “Containing Grief: A Cross-Disciplinary Perspective”.
Liz Rolls will be talking about her extensive research over the last few years into the issues of grief and childhood bereavement.

5. Wed. December 5th.2007. 10.30. a.m. at the Brown Jug, Bath Rd., Cheltenham. Gloucestershire Philosophical Society Seminar: Cracker Barrel Philosophy: innate wisdom and its critics”.
Is there an innate wisdom shared by or sharable by all: are technical, professional languages merely ‘vernacular wisdom gone to college’? Or do they give us more powerful means of enquiry? What is ‘experience’ and how do we measure or apply it?

6. Wed. December 12th. 2007. Dr. Ieuan Lloyd, formerly University of Wales, Swansea: “Relativism: A Modern Fad?”
Ieuan Lloyd will investigate the issues in the ongoing debate over the currency of relativism in philosophy, and raises pertinent questions regarding its status in the climate of postmodernism.

The dates of the AGM and annual dinner will be fixed at the first meeting.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Natural (2)

Thanks to all students who took part in the Week Zero (Freshers week / Induction week) activities last week. They worked hard - both on the trip and back at FCH.
Our trip to Westonbirt Arboretum allowed us to reflect on was is meant by 'natural' - and the groups took a range of approaches - from the narrative account of a lost little leaf - to more detailled work on a range of philosophers. I have posted more pictures to the RPE Flickr book so go there for a look if you're interested. We hope to get a cross-year social event organised soon...


This morning I was with our friends at BBC Radio Gloucestershire talking to John Rockley about guilt. We covered eco-guilt, parental guilt and charity use of guilt to get us to pay up.

Two questions spring to mind that students might be interested in:

  • What makes you feel guilty?

  • Is guilt a bad thing / is it pointless / should we not feel even more guilty?

I look forward to your responses... please use the 'comments' option to respond..

Cheers, Dave

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Just a quick post to welcome the new intake of Religion, Philosophy & Ethics students - who we meet tomorrow...

On behalf of myself, Dee, Alison, Roy, Melissa and Nigel (and the others you will have from time to time) - we hope all goes well in Induction week - and that students from years 2 and 3 will join in welcoming you...


Friday, September 14, 2007

RPE 307

For those of you keen to make a start on Beyond Good and Evil (and why shouldn't you be!) we will be using the translation by Marion Faber, published by Oxford University Press. Translations do vary quite a bit so it's best we all follow the same one. In terms of commentaries, take your choice from either Laurence Lampert or Douglas Burnham, or both if you're feeling particularly flush at the moment! Looking forward to it and remember that the text is open to interpretation and it's your understanding of it that I'm particularly interested in!

For Nietzsche 'Fans'

Check out the Nietzsche Circle. Their 'vision statement' is: 'To create an intellectual and artistic community whereby individuals of similar spirit and vision may come together and explore Nietzsche’s philosophy, developing ways in which it can be transfigured.' It's good particularly for book reviews and essays on Nietzsche. Also, Brian Leiter (who has written an excellent book on Nietzsche's moral philosophy) has started up a new Nietzsche blog.

Thursday, September 13, 2007



As part of our induction activities for new students next week, we shall be asking them what is meant by term 'natural': what does it mean to talk of an 'unnatural' practice - especially as an evaluative moral term?

We shall be spending some time at a place where people go to spend time in 'nature' (Westonbirt Arboretum) - what does it mean to call such a place 'natural'? - And does spending time in such places assist us in reflection? I (and the new students) would appreciate any thoughts - or indeed references - that will help us think this through...

Comments welcome via the blog..

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New Author - Emily Ryall

Hello everyone, and thanks to Dave for trusting that I'm not going to abuse my privileges as a site author.

For those of you that are unaware of the fact: believe it or not, the Sport, Health and Social Care students do have a philosophy strand to their courses (it's not all running about on the astroturf!) - and that is where I come in. So let me introduce myself. Although my background was originally in Philosophy and Linguistics I am now lecturing over at Oxstalls mainly on the Sports & Exercise Science, and Sports Development degrees. This year I will be taking over the Sports Ethics modules (SV201 and SV302) which will hopefully be the forum for some very stimulating discussion surrounding the issues of violence, doping, and cheating in sport, as well as other aspects; for instance, the relationship between politics and ethics in sporting events. As both of these are on the RPE pathway I hope I would not offend my colleagues at FCH too much in encouraging the RPE students to take up the opportunity of one of these modules.

Additionally, I will be setting up a philosophy and ethics reading group in the University. It is anticipated that this will be a very informal session where we can attempt to comprehend and discuss issues in selected texts. More details will follow in the near future but I hope our first meeting to be around Week 2 of term. Again, I would encourage any interested parties to participate.

Other than that, you can find out more about me and my research interests on either my own website: or on the official faculty page (which also has a very cheesy photo of me!).

Essay Competition

University of Kentucky
Fifth Annual Prize Essay Competition in
European Philosophy from Kant to the Present

TOPIC: The Implications of Bio-Medical Technology for
Human Nature

This topic may be addressed historically, systematically, or through any combination of these two approaches. The winning essay will receive a prize of $1000 and, upon recommendation of the selection committee, be published in Inquiry. The author of the winning essay will also be brought to the University of Kentucky in the Fall of 2008 to present it.

The winner of the first four annual Prize Essay Competitions were Sami Pihlström (University of Helsinki), Robert Guay (Binghamton University), Helder De Schutter (University of Leuven), and Herbert de Vriese (University of Antwerp) for their essays “Recent Reinterpretations of ‘The Transcendental’ Revisited” (Inquiry 47, No. 3 [2004]), “The ‘I’s Have It: Nietzsche on Subjectivity” (Inquiry 49, No. 3 [2006]), “Nations without Nationalism” (Inquiry 50, No. 4 [2007]), and “The Myth of the Metaphysical Circle.”

Essays will be judged by a process of blind review. Submissions should be appropriately formatted for such a process, with the author's name and other identifying information appearing only on a separate cover sheet. Essays should be double spaced, in English, and no more than 8000 words in length. Past and present faculty and students at the University of Kentucky are ineligible to compete. Submissions should not have been previously published or submitted for publication.

The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2008. Essays should be submitted in triplicate in typed (hard copy) form to Ms. Katie Barrett, Department of Philosophy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0027 USA. No electronic submissions please.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

20,000 and counting

So - we hit over 20,000 for page hits to the blog - thanks to all those who have joined in, as we almost get to the 1-year birthday of the R-P-E blog.

I am hoping that two new authors will begin to post with me here soon. Emily Ryall and Roy Jackon - both philosophers here at the University of Gloucestershire. We will shortly welcome new students - and look forward to another busy year of blogging...

Cheers, Dave

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fair Use and Copyright - video

This is interesting on copyright and 'fair use'.... if you can follow it!


Monday, September 03, 2007

Religion and Public Opinion

An article on the Times website reports on a YouGov poll that finds that:

NEARLY half the British think that religion is harmful, according to a poll
carried out by YouGov. Yet more than half also believe in God “or

Is this a contradiction? These two halves are unlikely to be precisely exclusive - so a number of people clearly take the view that there is a God (or 'something') - but that the human response to this (if that is what we cal religion) is harmful... I guess it brings us to the question: can we have 'God without religion'? (and would we want it...)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Running Away.. - for anyone with spare cash to donate to charity!

[image is not my actual legs; for illustrative purposes only...]

Shameless Self Promotion...

In case readers are interested, both in general terms, and because of a piece entitled Even Philosophers Get the Blues, see this press release (also available from Amazon, etc):

Essays prove the Blues was an African American invasion of European music.

The impact of African American music on western, white popular music is well documented. But while much has been written about the influences of black music on early rock n’ roll and the explosion of British popular music in the 1960s, little has been said about the earlier, and broader, effects.

Cross the Water Blues: African American Music in Europe (University Press of Mississippi) is a unique collection of essays examining the flow of African American music and musicians across the Atlantic to Europe from the time of slavery to the 20th century.

Editor Neil Wynn has assembled a broad exploration of different musical forms such as spirituals, blues, jazz, skiffle, and orchestral music. The contributors consider the reception and influence of black music on a number of different European audiences, particularly in Britain, but also France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The essayists approach the subject through diverse historical, musicological, and philosophical perspectives. A number of essays document little-known performances and recordings of African American musicians in Europe. Several pieces, including one by Paul Oliver, focus on the appeal of the blues to British listeners. At the same time, these considerations often reveal the ambiguous nature of European responses to black music and in so doing add to our knowledge of transatlantic race relations.

Contributions from Christopher G. Bakriges, Sean Creighton, Jeffrey Green, Leighton Grist, Bob Groom, Rainer E. Lotz, Paul Oliver, Catherine Parsonage, Iris Schmeisser, Roberta Freund Schwartz, Robert Springer, Rupert Till, Guido van Rijn, David Webster, and Neil A. Wynn

Neil A. Wynn is professor of twentieth-century American history at the University of Gloucestershire. He is the author of Historical Dictionary from the Great War to the Great Depression, From Progressivism to Prosperity: World War I and American Society, and The Afro-American and the Second World War.

For more information contact Clint Kimberling, Publicist, at
Read more about Cross the Water Blues: African American Music in Europe at: