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Philosophy Reading Groups 2020/21

Art and Mind: Reading Group

Our group aims to explore connections between philosophy of mind and aesthetics, trying to cast light on our understanding, perception and reception of arts. In each meeting, one of our members will give a brief introduction (5/10 minutes) about the reading and artistic materials picked for the discussion.

We welcome interested Undergraduates as well as other Postgraduates and PhD students that want to share some thoughts and expand their readings on art and mind. We also look forward to proposals for further readings and artistic examples

The materials will be philosophical papers/book chapters linked to artistic pieces (music recordings or link to them, pictures, videos, literary pieces, etc) distributed through our mailing list.

In Term 2 (January – March 2021) our topics of discussion are going to be: censorship, art criticism and imagination.

Time and location: On Mondays of weeks 5-7-9 (namely: Monday 8th February, Monday 22nd February, Monday 8th March), 16 – 17:30 pm. Online on MS Teams.

Contact: Giulia Lorenzi to receive further information, be added to the mailing list and get the link to participate.


The Moral and Political Philosophy Reading Group

This group will focus on reading key Moral and Political philosophical texts. This year we are reading Hegel's Philosophy of Right published in 1821. This work has been described by Stephen Houlgate as 'one of the greatest works of social and political philosophy ever written.' The book traces the true realization of freedom and free will via Hegel's immanent process of dialectics. Arguably, this book is still pertinent and relevant for our times: not only does it acknowledge that freedom can be enhanced by economic opportunities, but, moreover, it recognizes that unregulated capitalism is a cause of alienation, inequality and poverty.

Everybody welcome!

Time and location: Term 2 - Fridays from 18:00-19:30 online via MS Teams. Starts on Friday 22nd January 2021.

Contact: Andrew Paull to receive further information and get the link to participate.


Early Chinese Philosophy Reading Group

The study of Chinese thought in the West has often been mired with misinterpretation. The causes of this misunderstanding range from simple lack of knowledge and accurate translations to blatant ethnocentrism. This reading group proposes to study early Chinese thinkers on their own terms, without imposing Western concepts on them. It is our goal to create a space of exchange and learning that will enable all to join and get something from it. Therefore, everyone is welcome. No previous knowledge of Chinese thought and languages is required, as we will use English translations of the classics. It will however be one of the goals of the reading group to develop an awareness of the particular meaning of certain Chinese terms, so as to not lose too much in translation.
This term, we will be reading the Daodejing 道德經, "The Classic of the Way and Virtue". There are far too many translations, and of too varying outlooks (and quality), to unquestionably recommend any one of them. D.C Lau's 1963 "Tao Te Ching" and Roger T. Ames & David L. Hall's 2003 "Dao de jing: a philosophical translation" are both good starting points, but crossing sources will be very important to grasp all the complexity of this often obscure text.

Everybody welcome!

Time and location: Every week (starting 19 January 2021) on Tuesdays from 15:00-17:00, online via MS Teams.

Contact: Thaddee Chantry-Gellens to receive further information and get the link to participate.


Race and Philosophy Reading Group

Philosophy students and staff are warmly invited to join the Race and Philosophy Reading Group. The readings will address questions about race from a variety of perspectives. We will consider race as a focus for research in ontology, epistemology, phenomenology, existentialism, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics and the history of philosophy, and also as an important focus of concern for activism, education, and the practice of philosophy. We hope the readings will be jumping-off points for discussion of issues, events, experiences, and projects of significance to participants.

Participation restricted to Philosophy staff and students only.

Time and location: Every week (starting 15 January 2021) on Fridays from 16:00-17:15, online via MS Teams.

Contact: Eileen John to receive further information and get the link to participate.


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'Philosophy in a Time of Crisis' Public Lecture by Professor Etienne Balibar: 'Circulation and Hospitality as Fundamental Rights'

Location: Room S0.21, Social Sciences Building

A migrants and refugees in increasing numbers are subjected to extreme violence in their attempts at crossing borders to reach a more liveable place, a fundamental reflection is needed to update the concepts which frame mankind's treatment of its own mobility. This includes a critical return on the question of the "law of population" of capitalism, but also a jurisdicial elaboration of the rights of circulation and hospitality which articulate territory, citizenship, and community. At stake, ultimately, is a political transformation of the world into a place where everyone can live a decent life.

Etienne Balibar is Emeritus Professor at Paris X Nanterre and Anniversary Chair of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. He is an internationally recognised political philosopher and critical thinker, a leading voice in the Marxist tradition, and the author of Spinoza and Politics, The Philosophy of Marx and co-author of Race, Nation and Class and Reading Capital. In these, any many other seminal works, he has addressed fundamental questions such as racism, the notion of the border, whether a European citizenship is possible or desirable, violence, identity and emancipation.

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Starting a Reading Group

If you wish to start a reading group, please complete this form. If you need help booking a room please email