Saturday, September 26, 2009

Philosophy Society Update

The October meeting for the Philosophy Society will be held on the 8th, at 7pm in The Gallery Room above the SU Bar at Park Campus. All following meetings will fall on the first Thursday of the month.

I found an interesting dialogue on "Before the Law" that you may like:
Also, an allegorical similarity has been drawn between "Before the Law" and the Seinfeld episode "The Chinese Restaurant", where entrance is obstructed by what appears to be an amorphous set of temporal circumstances (note how bribery and charm are used to seduce "the gatekeeper" in Kafka and in Seinfeld). What do you think? Is it fair to draw a comparison between the two? Here are the links to the episode (each about seven minutes):

The link to "Before the Law" is:
And Derrida's essay "Law of Genre":

Any questions or comments can be made here or to Shelley

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dawkins on Science

I read this in the Guardian the other day. Though, as students in RPE 201 know (Philosophy, Science and Belief), I am not an ardent fan of his, I do believe he’s absolute right about this, when he writes about scientists,

"Scientists often disagree with one another, sometimes passionately. But they don't go to court to sort out their differences, they go into the lab, repeat the experiments, carefully examine the controls and the statistical analysis. We care about whether something is true, supported by the evidence. We are not interested in whether somebody sincerely believes he is right. There exist objective methods for discovering whether he is, as a matter of fact, right. If he is wrong, the evidence will show it, and – notwithstanding Judge Eadie – be blowed to whether he is sincere in his error or not."

Not quite sure what he means by ‘blowed’, but it’s a pretty accurate description of what scientists do as opposed to pseudo-scientists.

If you want to read more go to

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Philosophy Society September 2009

The Philosophy Society has ended its first year with the promise of a successful second year now dawning. We have a new wave of fervour from a long list of Freshers to add to our small, but dedicated, core group. Over the past year we have turned our attention to:
  • business ethics by looking at a 1970s article by economist Milton Friedman, "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits" (in other words the business of business is business), and a short story by B. Traven, "Assembly Line"
  • political philosophy by reading Machiavelli's The Prince and Thoreau's Civil Disobedience
  • Herman Melville's short story Bartleby the Scrivener in tandem with Emerson's The Transcendentalist (which is considered the inspiration behind Bartleby)
  • Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, studying the two famous chapters "Rebellion" and "The Grand Inquisitor"
  • Paul Caddle, one of our members, led a meeting on paradoxes, which generated a rousing round of comments
  • Christopher Norris, a philosopher from the University of Cardiff, who gave a paper entitled, "The New Musicology: What's it all about?", followed by a lively discussion
  • Robert Ellis, another guest speaker, who gave a paper, "Moral Objectivity and the Middle Way". For more information, you can look at Robert's web-site at this address:
  • the philosophical themes underpinning the two films Arlington Road and Primer

For our October meeting we are reading "Before the Law" from Kafka's The Trial found at this address: Also, if you are interested in further study, please read Derrida's "Law of Genre" found at this address:

The Philosophy Society meets (usually) on the first Thursday of every month at 7pm in The Gallery Room above the SU Bar at Park Campus. However, I am still uncertain whether the meeting will be on the 1st or 8th of October. I will post and send emails with this information in due course.

If you have any queries about The Philosophy Society please contact Shelley Campbell

Film & Philosophy

Some pictures here of today's induction-week presentations on Crimes and Misdemeanors - but for those still keen to think aobut this movies - there is some useful discussion at the Philosophical Films website, the C&M page is at

There were some really exciting ideas in the presentations this morning - and there is a forum for discussion of them on the RPE ning... (where there are more photos)


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moral Modularity in Buddhism?

If you're keen to get going this term - you could head to the Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy and get the podcast of an intriguing talk: Owen Flanagan (Duke University). The lecture was entitled "Buddhist Ethics and Moral Modularity" and the respondent was Professor Wayne Proudfoot.

The podcast is HERE - enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This is a post just for our current RPE / Philosophy students: we have a social network (with chat, forums, etc) for the course at - all level 2 and 3 students should have had an invite to join by now - and level 1 students (who are still in he process of registering this week) will get an invite soon...

If I have missed anyone - just email me from your glos account and I'll add you...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bertrand Russell: Comicbook Superhero!

I always knew this was the case, of course. A new comicbook (or graphic novel) called 'Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth' has just been published by Bloomsbury. Described as: 'it's the story of the quest for the foundation of mathematics, starring and narrated by Bertrand Russell, the British logician, philosopher, mathematician, reformer, pacifist, activist, jailbird and chronic womaniser. It's set 50 years ago on 4 September, 1939, when Russell arrived at an American university to lecture on "The Role of Logic in Human Affairs" before a sceptical audience, just after Britain had declared war on Germany. The book delves into Russell's past, his childhood and the first inklings of his search for the certainties upon which maths, and therefore all science, ultimately rest.'

A real page-turner. Move over Batman!

A warm welcome to the new RPE students

It's the start of a new academic year and, hopefully, lots of interesting comments and debates on the RPE blog. Do make your voice heard and I hope you visit this site frequently as it is not only a place for debate, but also for useful information.

Enjoy induction week, and all the RPE staff look forward to seeing you in class.

More details of induction week can be found at:

Oh, and for Wednesday evening for the Project, the website for the Exmouth Arms can be found at: