Our group has completed its seventh year. In our first year, we looked at Plato's Republic. We have learnt little of importance about politics since Plato’s times and his analysis of the various types of political system enables us to understand much of what has happened in the affairs of humankind in the intervening two and a half millennia.
In our second year, we looked at spirituality and consciousness. There were not enough meetings to do these subjects justice but we were able to look at some related philosophical opinions and a quantity of empirical material – some of it strictly scientific and some anecdotal. In particular, we looked at some famous anecdotal material that was studied, as far as possible, by scientific methods – especially the case of Raymond (the son of the distinguished scientist, Sir Oliver Lodge), and Shanti Devi. We also looked at some of the vast amount of academic research that has been done into psychic phenomena by such worthies as Vasiliev, Rhine, and Soal – as well as the research done by the American and Russian governments into psychic abilities as weapons of war.
The following year, we looked at logic. Logic is germane to a philosophical education (especially in the British Analytical School, which is the dominant school in the English-speaking world) and is often misunderstood by people whose education should enable them to do better. It has been around for about two and a half millennia and has many forms.
The year after that, I based our studies on a set of dvd lectures on the subject of thinking. This course was a practical one and addressed what philosophy is all about; it provided useful insights and techniques that help us to think better and not fall prey to the wiles of politicians and advertisers.
The next year, we lightened up and looked at conspiracy theories.
The year after that, we looked at philosophical idealism.
The following year, we looked at psychic research and why philosophers should be interested in it.
This year, I want to look at the philosophy of science.
Many people do not know what academic philosophy is so, to give some idea, I am attaching some of my notes for sessions we have already had on a sub page.
John Gibbs 01342 323959