Friday, January 23, 2009

Islam Conference 2009, 28th April: Shi'ism - Past and Present

On Tuesday 28th April 2009, the Department of Humanities at the University of Gloucestershire will host its annual Islam conference.

This year the topic is:


The event will be held at:
TC001 - Tiered Lecture Theatre, FCH Campus, Swindon Road, Cheltenham.
Contact for details: Full Programme to follow shortly - all welcome (including students!)..

You can book HERE

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Four Noble Truths podcast

Those of you studying our Indian Religions module may wish to visit to download a podcasst of my reading the Mahasatipatthana Sutta, about the Four Noble Truths.

Hope this is useful - and that you enjoy the visit of today's meditation teacher...


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Limits to Rights

What are rights? Can they only be ascribed to human beings or also to animals... the environment... inanimate objects?

Jonathon Wolff, Christopher Stone and Kenan Malik discuss these questions on the BBC Radio 4 'Law in Action' programme.

It is definitely worth listening to this articulate and stimulating discussion.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Seventh Seal (again)

We will be looking at the film The Seventh Seal in class today.

Look at for some ideas (see list of questions near base of the page) - and make comment via this blog post.

Other ideas are at

Prefer the Bill and Ted version? see


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sense about Science?

Following RPE201 (Philosophy, Science and Belief)- many of us have been talking about related issues - - I thought this video might then be pertinent..
D. Revolutionary Minds

Why Study Philosophy?

We have discussed this previously - see HERE and HERE to look at what we came up with - but I wanted to raise it with a new 'batch' of students - our current first year cohort.

I have pasted below the initial questions I have asked the RPE187 class - and await the answers with interest. [Other readers of the blog are welcome to join in!]

So: why study philosophy

1 – Pragmatic:

What skills can you take from the subject? What else (if anything) will it make you good at?

2 – Social / Political:

Does a philosophical education make you a more aware citizen – who makes better choices?

Are you more moral as a result of the study of ethics?

Is a society with more philosophers in it, more or less likely to be:
  • Fairer?
  • Smooth functioning?
  • Well organised?
  • Argumentative and disputatious?

3 – Personal

Has your study so far impacted upon you as a person?

Is this a subject which changes people – unlike, perhaps, some other subjects (can you think of an example of a subject which doesn’t change people?)?

If it does bring about personal change – what is the nature of this change?

Other: Are there other reasons?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Philosophy Reading Group Update

The Philosophy Society is hotting up with enthusiastic responses to the reading (along with many other topics). Next month's reading is Machiavelli's The Prince. It promises to be an invigorating topic: cruelty, evil, politics, being misunderstood, Nietzsche's Ubermensch. Just the right tone to prepare us for February, the month of love. For more information the reading group blog can be found here:

We will meet Thursday, 5th February, 7pm, The Gallery Room (above the SU Bar at Park Campus). New-comers welcome!

If you have any questions please contact Shelley Campbell s0510427

Thursday, January 08, 2009

RPE Research Seminar Series

We are pleased to announce the start of a series of research seminars in Religion, Philosophy & Ethics at the University of Gloucestershire, in Cheltenham.

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics: Research Seminar Series

Wednesday, 21st January 2009, 6pm - 7.30pm, HC204,
Francis Close Hall Campus

Are Buddhist Ethics Kantian?

Speaker: Justin Whitaker

University of Montana / Goldsmiths College

Free of Charge – All Welcome (but let me know that you are coming, if possible - )

You can find out more about our speaker, Justin, at his blog: American Buddhist Perspective


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Nigel M's new website

Some of you may be interested in a new website from our esteemed colleague, and poet, Dr Nigel McLouglhin.

Nigel is Reader in Creative Writing, and Course Leader for the University's MA in Creative & Critical Writing.

You can listen to him reading his work, and find out about readings, at

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Kuhn, Anamolies, and those pesky Homeopaths

Those who enjoyed RPE201 (Philosophy, Science and Belief) may enjoy the piece at which discusses how to make sense of the role of anomalous results / findings in the context of Kuhn's thought.

It also makes reference to the way that homeopathy has tended to mis-use scientific ideas (see for some excellent material on this, and the role of evidence, risk and the like in science). If you want to understand more about evidence-based medicine and the problem with homeopathy - there is a fuller piece at which is well worth a read...