|26th Nov 2013||The Big Ideas Team||The Wheatsheaf|
Join us for drinks and conversation (serious or otherwise) at our traditional end-of-year social.
|29th Oct 2013||Jonathan Pritchard||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Are The Limits To Our Knowledge Of The Cosmos?
How does this limited perspective, our own location in space and time, bound our knowledge of the cosmos? What can we infer legitimately when faced with a single object of study?
|24th Sep 2013||John Roberts||The Wheatsheaf|
|Should All Errors Be Eliminated?
Can we separate "good" from "bad" errors? Can human creativity survive without them?
|30th Jul 2013||Des Freedman||The Wheatsheaf|
|Is a ‘Responsible’ Press a Free Press?
After Leveson, what should press regulation in the UK look like?
|25th Jun 2013||Alexander Paseau||The Wheatsheaf|
|What kind of things are numbers?
Are numbers real like tables and chairs, or the North Sea? If not, are they just invented?
|12th Jun 2013||Nathan Charlton||The Wheatsheaf|
|Greenbelts and Skyscrapers
High-rise or garden city? Join us for a look at urban planning in the twentieth century and its legacy today.
|28th May 2013||Stella Sandford||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Is Gender?
Is there a meaningful difference between "masculine" and "feminine" separate from that between "male" and "female"?
|8th May 2013||Nathan Charlton||The Wheatsheaf|
|Finding A Space In The City
Different Class takes a turn this spring towards urban studies - How can we and do we live in cities?
|30th Apr 2013||Andrew McGettigan||The Wheatsheaf|
|What do we want from higher education?
Have recent reforms reflected the right values about university education? If not, what should those values be?
|16th Apr 2013||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: What Is The Cost Of A Free Ride?
In this month's text the American social scientist Mancur Olson (1932 – 1998) uses the problem of the Free Rider in order to challenge the notion that groups can act collectively distinct from the interest of individuals. Instead he theorises a logic of collective action in which individual interests are central to the creation and dissolution of groups.
|26th Mar 2013||Dave O'Brien||The Wheatsheaf|
|How Can Social Science Support The Arts?
When viewed through the lens of public policy and funding, the methods of social sciences can appear antithetical to vibrant arts scenes. Practices of measurement and evaluation attempt to quantify what would seem most resistant to those means. Is art experience always traduced by cost-benefit analysis and assessments of ‘impact’?
|26th Feb 2013||Ann Pettifor||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Do We Need To Know About Macroeconomics?’
How do politicians present economic and fiscal competence to the public?
|13th Feb 2013||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: How Is A Good Life To Be Lived With Others
Hannah Arendt (1906 - 1975) writes in the aftermath of the cataclysms of the first half of the twentieth century in which the foundations of Western political philosophy appeared to crumble. Arendt returns to some fundamentals and begins with such basic ideas as action and freedom, seeking to establish a picture of what is essentially human in terms of our doings and interactions rather than some essential, internal nature. As such she directly addresses one of the oldest questions about society: what makes a good life and how is it to be lived with others?
|12th Feb 2013||Andrew & Rich||The Wheatsheaf|
|Shape Up 2: The Parallel Axiom And Pythagoras
As requested at the previous session, we'll also spend some time looking again at Thales' theorem and how it relates to multiplication and division.
|29th Jan 2013||Alice Bell||The Wheatsheaf|
|Is A Scientifically Literate Public Feasible Or Desirable?
The argument for greater scientific literacy is that to meaningfully participate, appreciate and even survive our modern lives, we all need certain knowledge and skills about science and technology. This sounds great, but is it that straightforward if we can't all become experts? How do we deal with unavoidable differences in understanding? And what is really meant in this context by 'science' and the 'public'?
|9th Jan 2013||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: How Free Can A Market Be?
Conintuing on from Smith and Durkheim we now come to the work of Karl Polanyi. In our set of readings Polanyi's The Great Transformation is the first to posit a polemic explantion of a modern social and economic order.
|8th Jan 2013||Andrew & Rich||The Wheatsheaf|
|Shape Up 1: Starting with Stillwell
The surprising connection between ruler-and-compass constructions and arithmetic.
|12th Dec 2012||The Big Ideas Team||The Wheatsheaf|
That's right, it's time once again for the traditional Big Ideas Christmas Social, celebrating another year of free talks and seminars at The Wheatsheaf.
|27th Nov 2012||Øystein Linnebo||The Wheatsheaf|
|Is the infinite real?
What is infinity and does reality contain anything infinite?
|14th Nov 2012||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: What Holds Society Together?
Our reading group series continues as we jump over a century from Adam Smith to Émile Durkheim to see how the concept of specialisation becomes a commonplace in intellectual history.
|30th Oct 2012||Josh Ryan-Collins||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Is Money And Where Does It Come From?
The vast majority of money circulating in society has been created out of nothing by private, commercial banks. Surprised? Money is central to our society and daily existence yet few understand what it is and how it works.
|10th Oct 2012||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: Can prosperity and morality co-exist?
We're delighted to welcome back Dr Jonathan White, Reader in European Politics at the London School of Economics, for his second set of Different Class sessions on society. We'll be starting by asking if prosperity and morality co-exist? Extracts from Adam Smith's work will focus our discussion.
|25th Sep 2012||Matthew Gandy||The Wheatsheaf|
The term landscape, derived from the sixteenth-century Dutch word landschap, was originally used for the demarcation of land but has subsequently become associated with a way of seeing space from a distance.
|12th Sep 2012||Andrew McGettigan||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: What should a public school system look like?
Diane Ravitch was a former education advisor to George Bush Sr. She was a strong advocate for accountability, testing, charter schools and choice. In 2006, she became concerned about how that agenda had been taken over by large private foundations (Gates, Broad and Walton) and entrepreneurs looking to make profits. She outlines her case studies that led her to change her mind about the market reform agenda in Diane Ravitch The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
|28th Aug 2012||Andrew Edgar||The Wheatsheaf|
|What is a Legitimate Enhancement in Sport?
What really counts as "fair" when it comes to winning?
|8th Aug 2012||Andrew McGettigan||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: What is the place of the art school in modern society?
Can art and design be taught? If so, how?
|31st Jul 2012||Andrew McGettigan and Rich Cochrane||The Wheatsheaf|
|What is the role of government in education?
What do we mean by public or state education? Should the state own and administer schools, colleges and universities? Fund them? Or regulate them?
|11th Jul 2012||Andrew McGettigan||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: How Does The School Relate To Society?
What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children. Any other ideal is narrow and unlovely; acted upon it destroys our democracy.
|26th Jun 2012||Robert Kesseler||The Wheatsheaf|
|How Do Art And Science Visualise Life?
It's tempting to imagine that the presentation of microscopic or very distant objects - stuff which can't be seen with the naked eye - is simply a matter of adjusting the scale of an image of the object. It's far more complicated than that.
|19th Jun 2012||Andrew McGettigan||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: What Should Children Learn?
It's easy to imagine that what we learned at school is, more or less, the natural content for education. But what if we were to design a complete curriculum from scratch, with no constraints?
|29th May 2012||Iain Boal||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Are The Legitimate Ends And Means Of Protest?
Iain Boal asks what it means to protest and when, if ever, it's a good tactic.
|9th May 2012||Andrew McGettigan||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: Do We Learn Better From Books Or Teachers?
In a time when a vast amount of information is available online, are we better off teaching ourselves through study or going to an expert for instruction? Is teaching yourself more effective, more creative or more authentic than learning from someone else? Are gurus dangerous or is learning at its best always a social encounter?
|24th Apr 2012||Aislinn O'Donnell||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Form Of Education Should We Offer Prisoners?
What should we expect prisoners to get out of their education -- skills, knowledge, discipline, maturity, self-confidence or something else entirely?
|11th Apr 2012||Andrew McGettigan||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: Can Excellence Be Taught?
We kick off with a classic of ancient Greek thought: Plato’s dialogue Meno, which deals with questions of what it means to learn and be educated and what we should teach our young people to prepare them for civic life.
|27th Mar 2012||David Cunningham||The Wheatsheaf|
|Are Cities Important To Philosophy?
We explore the relationship between philosophy as an activity and the urban environment in which it so often seems to take place.
|14th Mar 2012||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: Is Knowledge Power?
Everyone's familiar with the idea that "knowledge is power". But how does power really operate and what's its relationship to knowledge? Is it exercised solely by the elite or are its formations more complex?
|28th Feb 2012||Ilora Finlay||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Does It Mean To Die Well?
Baroness Finlay invites us to re-examine the euthanasia debate from a different perspective.
|8th Feb 2012||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: What Does It Mean To “Be Yourself”?
Erving Goffman wasn't the first to suggest that the human world is like theatre but in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life the dramatic metaphor is central.
|31st Jan 2012||Paul Mason||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Would Be A Socially Just Solution To The Current Economic Crisis?
Newsnight's Paul Mason joins us for a discussion about what would count as a good solution to the crisis.
|11th Jan 2012||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: Who Are “The Elite”?
At a time when the phrase “We are the 99%” has gained popularity, the idea that somehow an elite – the 1% – has taken more than its fair share by stealth has been transformed into a rallying cry for protesters across the United States and elsewhere. There is nothing new in this analysis, however. C. Wright Mills classic, The Power Elite, was published in 1956
|16th Dec 2011||The Big Ideas Team||The Wheatsheaf|
Raise a glass with us to another year's excellent thought and discussion.
|29th Nov 2011||Jeremy Jennings||The Wheatsheaf|
|Are Public Intellectuals Important?
Does the "public intellectual" have a distinctive role to play in modern society? Or is it a case of "If you can, do"?
|7th Nov 2011||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: Should we be utopian?
Many of the most influential political projects: that is, they've aimed at creating an ideal society, and have had a definite idea of what that society might look like.
|25th Oct 2011||Dr Maria Alvarez||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Does It Mean To Give A Reason?
Can we ever give adequate reasons for our actions? If so, how? If not, what would be the implications?
|10th Oct 2011||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
|Different Class: How do rulers win the consent of the ruled?
We're excited to announce the first session of Different Class, our series of free seminars programmed and chaired by Dr Jonathan White of the London School of Economics.
|27th Sep 2011||Robert Skidelsky||The Wheatsheaf|
|How Much Money Do We Need To Lead A Good Life?
Is enough ever, really, enough? Is there such a thing as too much?
|30th Aug 2011||Mark Rowe||The Wheatsheaf|
|How Much Does Style Matter?
Why do some philosophers write clearly while others are obscure? Is the style an important part of the ideas, or does it just help or hinder us to understand them?
|26th Jul 2011||Roger Cotterrell||The Wheatsheaf|
|Do Communities Make Laws Or Do Laws Make Communities?
Do we need to have laws before we can speak of a "community"? Do they emerge naturally from communities of people who associate initially without them? Do we need laws at all, or is an "anarchist community" a contradiction in terms?
|28th Jun 2011||Caroline Pelletier||The Wheatsheaf|
|Do Organisations Have Minds?
Can a school or workplace be said to have an unconscious? Can you psychoanalyse an institution?
|31st May 2011||Andrew McGettigan||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Is Criticism In The Arts?
Do the arts benefit from academic critic and theorists? Or do they merely obfuscate the work and confuse the audience?
|26th Apr 2011||Richard Sennett||The Wheatsheaf|
Is it time we thought again about the old dichotomy between co-operation and competition? Sociologist Richard Sennett encourages us to think again about these important concepts.
|29th Mar 2011||Tim Stanley||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Is The Role Of Religion in US Political Life?
How does religion interact with politics in the US? Tim Stanley, an expert observer of the political scene across the pond, invites us to look at a bigger picture than we usually see.
|22nd Feb 2011||Nina Power||The Wheatsheaf|
|Is Work Central To Being Human?
Is working part of the human condition? Nina Power examines what it means to work in the shadow of mass unemployment.
|25th Jan 2011||Miranda Fricker||The Wheatsheaf|
|Why Should I Believe You?
What matters most: whether I'm telling the truth or whether you believe me? Miranda Fricker discusses the ethics and politics of credibility.
|7th Dec 2010||The Big Ideas Team||The Wheatsheaf (Downstairs)|
Join us in raising a toast to another year spent asking hard questions about philosophy, politics, ethics, science and journalism over a beer or two.
|26th Oct 2010||Quentin Skinner||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Is Political Liberty?
Political thinkers have long pondered the nature of political freedom. What does it mean to have political liberty?
|11th Oct 2010||Big Picture||The Paradise|
Horace Ove's film tangles with the politics of racism and black liberation, seen through the eyes of a young black teenager, Anthony, who discovers that Britain might not have all to offer him that he thought.
|28th Sep 2010||Andrew Gardner||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Is Time For Us?
Archaeologist Andrew Gardner asks how we engage with time, both at an ordinary level and when dealing with the long periods on historic, prehistoric, geological and cosmological scales.
|13th Sep 2010||Big Picture||The Paradise|
Made in 1982, just as 'Thatcher's Britain' was beginning to take shape, Britannia Hospital is an unlikely comedy with a biting sense of social justice.
|31st Aug 2010||Nathan Charlton with Robert Kingham||The Wheatsheaf|
What place does a citizen have in popular urbanism, this city of the city break? Paradoxically, though we revel in them, we no longer identify as closely with our own cities but are rather spectators and consumers of them - we are all tourists now.
|9th Aug 2010||Big Picture||The Paradise|
Is Jacques Derrida a ghost?
|27th Jul 2010||Katerina Deligiorgi||The Wheatsheaf|
If a pill could make you a better person, should you take it? Such questions are rapidly moving out of science fiction and into consulting rooms as psychiatric drugs become ever more powerful. Katerina Deligiorgi guides us through a particularly hazardous scientific, ethical and political minefield.
|12th Jul 2010||Big Picture||The Paradise|
When network news anchor Howard Beale faces the sack for his falling ratings he announces his planned suicide live on air.
|30th Jun 2010||Julian Baggini||The Wheatsheaf|
|Do Thought Experiments Tell Us Anything?
Freelance philosopher Julian Baggini invites us to consider the thought experiment. Is it the only way to think reasonably about things that can't be tested by experiment or mathematics? Or do thought experiments just typify the philosopher's problem -- head in the clouds and completely detatched from reality? Can a thought experiment ever tell us anything we didn't already know?
|1st Jun 2010||Big Picture||The Paradise|
Scripted by Ayn Rand from her own novel, King Vidor’s story of a visionary architect brought low by the cowards around him brings Rand’s Objectivist philosophy to the big screen.
|25th May 2010||Jonathan White||The Wheatsheaf|
An evening of exploration of the relevance of political parties with Jonathan White.
|10th May 2010||Big Picture||The Paradise|
|a showing of ‘Wittgenstein’ (1993)
Derek Jarman's unorthodox biopic, Wittgenstein, with comment and discussion afterwards.
|5th May 2010||Big Ideas and The Forum for European Philosophy||The Counting House|
|Crisis in the Body and the Body Politic
Big Ideas and the Forum for European Philosophy at the LSE come together to present an interactive panel discussion on the idea of "crisis".
|27th Apr 2010||John Worrall||The Wheatsheaf|
|Just A Theory – Can There Be Certainty In Science?
Improvements in procedure have been made to scientific method, but observation, hypothetisation and experimentation have remained at the heart of modern, rational scientific endevour. However, once we have have proofs for hypotheses, to what extent can we claim they are true?
|19th Apr 2010||Big Picture||The Paradise|
|a showing of ‘Gattaca’ (1997)
Gattaca presents a frightening picture of a genetically determined dystopia in America's 'near future' in which two brothers, one born with the help of genetic screening and one without, live in a society that discriminates between the genetically 'valid' and the 'in-valid', fixing identity and destiny at birth.
|30th Mar 2010||Prof Paul Standish||The Wheatsheaf|
|Does Education Need Theories?
Paul Standish invites us to consider philosophical perspectives on the theories that drive much education policy.
|29th Mar 2010||Big Picture||The Paradise|
|a showing of ‘Waking Life’ (2001)
Richard Linklater’s animated adventure in the meaning of consciousness picks up where Slacker left off.
|23rd Feb 2010||Mark Vernon||The Wheatsheaf|
|Is there an art to living?
Can we practice philosophy as an art of living, who should our inspiration be, and why does it matter?
|26th Jan 2010||Tim Luckhurst||The Wheatsheaf|
|The Future of News
Tim Luckhurst will introduce a talk and discussion about the role of traditional journalism in the age of blogs, twitter and 'have your say'. Has the newspaper been made obsolete by the web site? And how much do we know about who produces the media we now consume?
|15th Dec 2009||The Big Ideas Team||The Wheatsheaf|
It's time to celebrate another year of Big Ideas talks. We’ll be getting together at The Wheatsheaf on the 15th of December for the Big Ideas Christmas Social. There’s no speaker and no agenda, just come along for a few drinks and general sociability.
|24th Nov 2009||Susan James||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Use is an Imaginary Social Contract?
To celebrate Spinoza's birthday, Susan James will introduce his unique account of the social contract and its relevance to contemporary political debate.
|27th Oct 2009||John Pugh||The Wheatsheaf|
|Should All Politicians Be Utilitarians?
A philosophy which first became popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Utilitarianism in its various guises purports to provide a rational basis for moral action, both at an individual and a societal level. Perhaps Government ministers need only remember Bentham's maxim, "the greatest good for the greatest number of people." But how can we decide what is good? Or what makes us happy? And is there a rational way for policy to achieve good and happy outcomes?
|29th Sep 2009||Jonathan Wolff||The Wheatsheaf|
|Are there risks we can’t afford to take?
When we expose others to risk we make a moral choice. When we choose, is there a line to draw between acceptable and unacceptable risk? Where would, for example, the risk from passive smoking come in decisions about smoking in public? Or the risk of inaction against climate change?
|25th Aug 2009||Paul Simpson||The Wheatsheaf|
|Is Rhetoric A Dirty Word?
Paul Simpson will argue that, rather sticking to the facts, we should all be telling more tales. Without greater use of rhetoric, and the art of storytelling, ideas will increasingly cease to matter.
|28th Jul 2009||Christian Michel||The Wheatsheaf|
Christian Michel will outline issues and concepts of punishment
|30th Jun 2009||Annabelle Lever||The Wheatsheaf|
|How Much Privacy Should We Have?
A talk and discussion about privacy and whether it really is valuable in a democratic society
|3rd Jun 2009||Rich Cochrane||The Dartmouth Castle|
|Is Music A Universal Language?
In what ways is music like a language? Can it communicate emotions, atmospheres or ideas? And how much of what we think of as “universal” is actually very specific to our culture?
|26th May 2009||Rebecca Cassidy||The Wheatsheaf|
|Why Do We Gamble?
Dr Rebecca Cassidy will introduce some of the myriad explanations for our appetite for risk and show how finding answers requires an understanding of the context in which gambling takes place.
|13th May 2009||Nathan Charlton||The Dartmouth Castle|
|Has New Media Won?
Nathan Charlton leads a talk and discussion about "new media" at our firstevent in Hammersmith
|28th Apr 2009||Miran Epstein||The Wheatsheaf|
|The Truth About Medical Ethics
Miran Epstein offers to take us behind the scenes of moral philosophy
|31st Mar 2009||Robert Kingham||The Wheatsheaf|
|What’s The Point Of Regeneration?
A talk and discussion about urban regeneration
|24th Feb 2009||Andrew Edgar||The Wheatsheaf|
|Who Am I When I’m Online?
Dr Andrew Edgar from Cardiff University will lead a discussion on the subject of online identity
|27th Jan 2009||Andrew Medworth||The Wheatsheaf|
|Why Should We Do What We Should Do?
Andrew Medworth will kick off the new year with a discussion of one of the thorniest questions in ethical philosophy
|16th Dec 2008||The Big Ideas Team||The Wheatsheaf|
Come and join us for a pre-Christmas celebration
|25th Nov 2008||Dave Boyle||The Wheatsheaf|
|Football, Loyalty and Identity
A talk and discussion about the history of football and its relationship with its fans
|28th Oct 2008||Simon Glendinning||The Wheatsheaf|
|Is Europe A Place Or An Idea?
Is Europe a location, or something deeper that draws on ideas and tradition spanning millennia?
|30th Sep 2008||Wilfrid Hodges||The Wheatsheaf|
|Is Being Rational The Same As Being Logical?
Can one be rational without being logical? Can one be perfectly logical but irrational? Do we miss something of profound importance if we always insist on logic, or rationality, or both?
|26th Aug 2008||Alasdair Mackenzie||The Wheatsheaf|
|How Much Democracy Is Too Much?
Hansard reporter and Westminster village resident Alasdair Mackenzie will introduce a discussion about democracy
|29th Jul 2008||Nathan Charlton||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Does It Mean To Be Modern?
A talk and discussion about modernism
|16th Jun 2008||Rich Cochrane||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Can We Do About Vagueness?
An introduction to the problem of vagueness
|27th May 2008||The Big Ideas Team||The Wheatsheaf|
|May ’68 Special
May’s Big Ideas event will be an anarchic May ‘68 special
|29th Apr 2008||Danny Rye||The Wheatsheaf|
|How To Grasp Power (A Brief Guide)
What is power really and how does it work? Can it be identified and described or is it something altogether more hidden and nebulous?
|25th Mar 2008||Rich Cochrane||The Wheatsheaf|
|What Happened to Classical Music?
A talk and discussion about music. What is it? What’s it for? How can you tell whether it’s any good? What is a “classical” tradition anyway?
|26th Feb 2008||Clare Churly||The Wheatsheaf|
|Who Needs Copyright?
A discussion about the legal and philosophical ideas surrounding copyright and some of the debates that arise from them
|22nd Jan 2008||Nathan Charlton||The Wheatsheaf|
|Is Heritage History?
An exploration of the differences between ideas of history and history
|17th Dec 2007||The Big Ideas Team||The Wheatsheaf|
Join us for a pre-Christmas celebration
|4th Sep 2007||Danny Birchall||The Wheatsheaf|
|What’s the Point of Film Studies?
Sight & Sound columnist Danny Birchall puts the case of the tabloids' favourite Mickey Mouse degree.
|11th Aug 2007||Robert Kingham||The Crosse Keys|
|Are Ley Lines There by Chance?
We examine whether there's any mathematical significance to some claimed ley lines.
|26th Jun 2007||Phil O'Donnell||The Wheatsheaf|
|Can Consciousness Be Evoked Computationally?
Phil introduces Roger Penrose's controversial arguments about artificial consciousness.
|27th Mar 2007||Steve Morris||The Wheatsheaf|
Policy expert Steve Morris introduces the idea that public policy can (and should be) evidence-based.
|23rd Feb 2007||Phil O'Donnell||The Champion|
We investigate the notorious Newcomb's Paradox, a curious thought-experiment that unites determinism and game theory.