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OUDCE Philosophy Weekends at Rewley House

Future Events Programme

Phlsoc members are entitled to a 10% discount on weekend courses listed below
(not applicable to the unaccredited lecture series).

October 08 - November 12, 14:00 - 15:30: Explanation (unaccredited lecture series)
Marianne Talbot (Lecture Theatre)
For human beings the intelligibility of our world is hugely important. We want – perhaps need – explanations for phenomenon that interests us. We want, that is, explanations to everything. But what is an explanation? And what is the process of explaining? Some people believe that all explanations are causal. But if so are there different types of causal explanation? Are reason explanations of our own behaviour, for example, a particular type of causal explanation? Will science ever explain everything? Or are there limits to scientific explanation? Recently it has been suggested that it is not the case that all explanations are causal. This is a live debate with some philosophers arguing that all apparent non-causal explanations are in fact causal, and others insisting that they are wrong.
October 20 - 21: Philosophy of Art in the Classical World
Angie Hobbs, Sheffield University and Patrick Doorly, OUDCE (Lecture Theatre)
In ancient Greek one term, kalon, embraces both aesthetic beauty and the morally fine. Another ancient Greek word aretê, traditionally translated as 'virtue' or 'excellence', shares a common Indo-European root with the Latin 'art' and English 'right'. But are the concepts of beauty and morality really related? What about great, but morally abhorrent, artists? Another conundrum is posed by the status of a work as a work of art. There are many different ways to characterise works of art. Different views may have a different impact on our views on how art and morality are linked, and therefore on censorship. And to what extent can we define the sublime? Perhaps any attempt to define it, or indeed any of our values, will destroy them? Did Socrates' insistence on definition marginalize the values he most cherished in the Western intellectual tradition? During this weekend school we shall address these questions and others.
November 24-25: Scientific Realism And The Challenge From The History Of Science
Peter Vickers, Durham University and Timothy Lyons Purdue University Indianapolis (Lecture Theatre)
Scientific realists claim that science seeks the truth and that we have good reason to believe that our best scientific theories achieve or at least approximate it. Vickers defends epistemic scientific realism, arguing that we can (at least sometimes) identify the parts of our scientific theories which are (approximately) true. By contrast, Lyons argues against epistemic scientific realism. Both Lyons and Vickers draw on historical examples to support their claims, especially historical episodes where scientists were confident they had hit upon 'the truth', but it later turned out that they were radically mistaken. Such cases have often been put forward to challenge the realist claim that the success of science gives us good grounds for believing that science is uncovering the fundamental truths of our universe. Whilst Vickers believes the realist can answer such historical challenges, Lyons is not so optimistic. Lyons does, however, support a realist attitude too when it comes to the aim of science, and he proposes that a refined understanding of the realist aim holds lessons for inquiry in general.

January 12-13: Wittgenstein: Religion and Nonsense
Stephen Mulhall, OU and Mikel Burley, Leeds (Lecture Theatre)
Wittgenstein's ideas about religion have been much more influential than is sometimes thought. The first two lectures will consider this influence, concentrating on Wittgenstein's remarks on James Frazer's The Golden Bough and Wittgenstein's proposal that we overcome the temptation to view certain religious practices as simply confused or nonsensical. We shall look at this through the lens of D.Z.Phillips' 'contemplative conception of philosophy', the purpose of which is to disclose 'possibilities of sense' within religious forms of life. In lectures three and four we shall consider the connections between Wittgenstein's views on ethics and his treatment of value in the Tractatus, and so to his early conception of sense and nonsense in language. It will be suggested that Wittgenstein's treatment of absolute value in his 'Lecture on Ethics', taken together with his comparison of mathematical conjectures with riddles, provides a fruitful way of understanding a range of religious uses of language. It will be claimed that Wittgensteinian sense can be made of the thought that religious language is necessarily nonsensical, but none the worse for that; indeed, if it were not nonsensical, it could not have the significance that religious believers attribute to it, and to the faith it expresses.
February 16-17: The philosophy of colour
Derek Brown, University of Glasgow and Will Davies Univ. of B'ham (Tawney Room)
What is redness? Is redness the quality of an experience, the property of an object or a property that emerges from the interaction of visual systems like ours with objects that reflect light at a certain wavelength? Could a blind person form the same concept 'red' as a sighted person? Does the answer to the second question tell us anything about the answer to the first? During this weekend we shall be discussing colours, our perception of them, our concepts of them, and the philosophy of colour more generally.
March 09-10: Practical Stoicism
Christopher Gill, Exeterand John Sellars, Royal Holloway (Tawney Room)
There has been a resurgence of interest in Stoicism in recent years, with people as varied as cognitive psychotherapists, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, resilience trainers, practitioners of Buddhism, deep ecologists, and even the US military extolling its benefits. Each year thousands of people follow Stoic Week, an experiment aimed at testing its usefulness. But what is Stoicism? What are its central ethical claims? How did the Stoics conceive a good human life? During this weekend we shall examine both the philosophical foundations of Stoic ethics and techniques by which they might be put into practice.
April 06-07: The Status of the Mind-Body problem in 2019
Marianne Talbot (Tawney Room)
The Mind-Body problem is the problem of how our minds are related to our bodies (and in particular our brains). There was a time when it seemed obvious that our minds could exist without our brains (surely after the death of the body the mind lives on?). Then there was a time when it seemed obvious that mental states are states of the brain. It is today often assumed by the person in the street and indeed the neurologist in the university that the mind is the brain. But philosophers are not so sure. Indeed most philosophers these days would deny that the mind is the brain. But who are philosophers to pronounce on this? Come and find out.
May 18-19: Continental and Analytic Philosophy
Yvonne Sherratt, Bristol University and Mike Beaney Kings College (Sadler Room)
In the western world philosophy tends to divide into two 'schools' – the analytic school and the continental school. Although some people successfully straddle the two schools, most philosophers tend to work in either one or the other. During this weekend we will compare and contrast these two schools. We will look at the history and development of each school, and problems that each of them face.
October 07 - November 11, 14:00 - 15:30: TBA (unaccredited lecture series)
Details TBA
October 19-20: TBA
(Lecture Theatre)
Details TBA
November 23-24: TBA
(Lecture Theatre)
Details TBA

January 11-12: TBA
(Lecture Theatre)
Details TBA
February 15-16: TBA
(Tawney Room)
Details TBA
March 07-08: TBA
(Tawney Room)
Details TBA
April 04-05: TBA
(Tawney Room)
Details TBA
May 16-17: TBA
(Sadler Room)
Details TBA