Monday, 19 December 2011

The ethics of vegetarianism on Philosophy bites, an enlightened podcast here

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The continental-analytic split

Great podcast: The continental-analytic split.  Ecute here!
Stephen Mulhall
Professor of Philosophy at New College, University of Oxford
Beatrice Han-Pile
Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex
Hans Johann-Glock
Professor of Philosophy at the University of Zurich

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Monday, 26 September 2011

All about language...Superb programme


Episode image for BabelWatch now4 WEEKS LEFT


Episode 1 of 5
In this five-part series, Stephen Fry explores language in all its amazing complexity, variety and ingenuity. In his own distinctive way, he comes to understand how we learn it, write it, sometimes lose it, why it defines us to the very core of our being and can make us laugh, cry, tear our hair out.... Watch here

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

To lie or not lie?

By: The OpenLearn team (The Open University), Professor Timothy Chappell (The Open University)
A lie’s a lie, right? But what if it wasn’t that simple? This game makes you think about your moral responses to different lies, test it here

Philosophical consultant and copywriter: Professor Tim Chappell

Credits: Spartacus clip - used under 'crit and review'. The content must be kept within the context of the interactive at all times.

Photos: Getty images and PA Image

Saturday, 23 July 2011

After the Apocalypse

Here is the synopsis:
During the Soviet era, the people of Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan were used as human guinea pigs in the testing of nuclear weapons. Today they live with the consequences. Whilst sheep graze in radioactive bomb craters, many in the population believe that the testing is the reason why one in twenty children are born with birth defects. Dr Toleukhan Nurmagambetov, the boss of the city's maternity clinic, wants to introduce a genetic passport which will prevent those with suspect genes from giving birth.

Bibigul -- a local woman from the test-site -- is pregnant and her "defected and frightful" face arouses the suspicion of local medical staff. Nurmagambetov labels her a genetic failure. He implores Bibigul to get tested and abort the child who he fears will be born disabled, but Bibigul refuses to give up her dream of becoming a mother

This superberb documentary is now available to watch in youtube thanks to 4oD

It raises many questions: The Ethics of war and how the country treats its on citizens; the effects of weapons of mass destructions; the effects of nuclear armaments; medical ethics: the right to be born, the right of maternity; genetic discrimination & eugenics and the classical moral & ethical dylemmas: free choice or predetermination? Quality of life or sanctity of life?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Existencial Star Wars

Existentialism: Existential philosophy, existentialist philosophy ((philosophy) a 20th-century philosophical movement chiefly in Europe; assumes that people are entirely free and thus responsible for what they make of themselves) Read more here

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Bio Ethics with Peter Singer

Thanks to Bio-Ethics site, you can listen to great interview to Professor Singer about Euthanasia. Click in his name and listen to the interview. I copied what was available on the website of Oxford Center for Neuroethics. If you want to visit the website click here and you also can receive updates from BBC Open Univeristy Ethics podcasts, click here 
PETER SINGER (MP3) - Life and Death
If a patient decides she doesn’t want to live any longer, should she be allowed to die? Should she be allowed to kill herself? If a patient is no person to decide – perhaps she’s in a coma – then should somebody else be able to decide to kill her? Who? Is there a moral difference between killing and allowing someone to die? And is the role of the doctor always to prolong life? Peter Singer, of Princeton University, is one of the world’s leading bio-ethicists, and has been reflecting on life and death issues for four decades.
Peter Singer
Peter Singer was born in Melbourne, Australia, on July 6, 1946, and educated at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford. He has taught at the University of Oxford, La Trobe Uni-versity and Monash University. Since 1999 he has been Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. From 2005, he has also held the part-time position of Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne, in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. Peter Singer first became well-known internationally after the publication of Animal Liberation in 1975. Since then he has written, co-authored, edited or co-edited more than 40 other books, including Practical Ethics; The Expanding Circle; How Are We to Live?, Rethinking Life and Death, The Ethics of What We Eat (with Jim Mason) and most recently, The Life You Can Save. His works have appeared in more than 20 languages. He is the author of the major article on Ethics in the current edition of the Encylopaedia Britannica. Two collections of his writings have been published: Writings on an Ethical Life, which he edited, and Unsanctifying Human Life, edited by Helga Kuhse, and also two collections of critical essays, with responses: Singer and Critics, edited by Dale Jamieson, and Peter Singer Under Fire, edited by Jeffrey Schaler. Outside academic life, Peter Singer is a member of the Leadership Council of Oxfam America, a Vice-President of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UK),and a member of the Advisory Board of In 2005 Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Epicurianism, a very short introduction

Epicureanism ancient Greek Philosophical system which goal in life is to be happy and content. It rejects superstitious fear of Gods and the notions of life after death. It has also been associated with the idea of eat, drink and be merry but Epicurean principle do not pursuit of the bodily pleasure and deeply differs from Hedonism.
It was found on circa (around) 300 Before Common Era (BCE), in Athenas (Greece), its founder was Epicurus. Here he gathered a group of disciples and taught became known as the "philosophy of the Garden."Epicurus and his disciples formed a close-knit community, living a life of austere contentment in seclusion on his property. He admitted both women and slaves to his community, which, along with his seclusion and "atheism," probably led to the rumors and criticisms that circulated about his school. Epicurus was a father-figure to his students and wrote letters of instruction to the Epicurean communities he had formed.

Epicureanism was highly influential in the Hellenistic Age. The Epicureans and the Stoics were the chief rivals for the allegiance of educated people of this period. Both had a continuing influence, but Stoicism, with its active involvement in public life (the philosophy of the Porch instead of the Garden), ultimately appealed to more individuals and had more influence.

Epicurus taught a materialistic view of the universe: the whole of nature consists of matter and space. All matter is divisible down to the level of atoms (Greek for "indivisible"). They are eternal; neither created nor destroyed. They cannot be seen or felt with the senses but they do have size, shape, weight and motion. The atoms operate according to natural law. Thus there is no creation and no purpose in nature. Epicurus also rejected believe in an afterlife. The soul is also made of atoms, though of a subtler sort than the body.  Body and soul must be joined to give life; when the body dies, the soul also disintegrates. Therefore, there is no need to fear either death or future punishment.

Epicurus did believe in the gods. The visions of gods in dreams and the universal opinion of humanity proved their existence. But he regarded them as made of atoms like everything else (immortal because their bodies do not dissolve) and living in a happy, detached society out of contact with humans. Thus there is no place for providence, prayer or fear of the gods. Epicurus saw religion as a source of fear; banishing religion made peace of mind possible. He could be said to have had "a theology without a religion." The Epicurean purpose of life is peace of mind, happiness and pleasure. But the Epicurean pursuit of pleasure was neither hedonism nor self-indulgence. Epicurus primarily promoted the pleasures of the mind, friendship and contentment. Epicurus noted that it is human nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain, and made this the basis of his guidelines for living.

He encouraged seeking after the the highest quality of pleasure, which is rarely the immediate gratifications of hedonism. Epicurus evaluated pleasure and pain by three main criteria:
  • intensity - strength of the feeling
  • duration - length of the feeling
  • purity - i.e., pleasure unaccompanied by pain
Therefore for Epicurus, "there was no reason to eat, drink and be merry today if you are going to have a headache from it tomorrow." Overindulging in food or drink would not score highly on either duration or purity of pleasure. Pleasures that begin with pain are also inferior: eating is a pleasure but it starts with the pain of hunger; sex is a pleasure but it starts with the pain of desire. These pleasures are not as "pure" as those characterized entirely by the absence of pain, such as rest, good health, and the companionship of friends. Just as pleasure was not to be blindly sought after, so not all pain should be avoided. Sometimes endurance of pain brings greater pleasure so that it is worth it. Moreover, since pleasure and pain are measured quantitatively, pain can be endured in the knowledge that more pleasure has been experienced.

The highest good in Epicureanism is ataraxia, a tranquility derived by the absence of agitation. And the highest positive pleasure of was a society of good friends. It shelters the fearful and gives the pleasure of companionship. He thus replaced the loss of the gods and civic life with the bond that exists among friends.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Notes about BBC's programme about Justice - citizen's guide which explores the notion of Justice from different view points, revealed here

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Egyptian protests

The Philosopher Zizek and Tariq Ramadan talking about the Egyptian crisis, watch here. Thanks to Al Jazeera

RE CPD booklet

Today I included this website (RE CPD booklet) to the link, please have a look. It is fabulous! I would like to take this extract to explain how RE and Philosophy are so interconnected.

"Philosophy, Truth and RE

RE is a more philosophical school subject than most subjects, not least because philosophy as an academic subject is so closely tied to the study of religion. Issues of meaning and purpose, of morality and ethics, of justice and rights: all have religious and philosophical treatments. The last book written by Ninian Smart, the academic who has been perhaps the greatest influence on UK religious education, was called World Philosophies (Smart 1999), and set academic philosophical traditions in their broader context of ‘worldviews’ and religious traditions from across the world and across history."

The nature of philosophical research is rather different to social science research too. It is likely to involve contemplation of complex issues and the careful elucidation of key concepts, rather than the collection of evidence for this or that hypothesis. Education researchers can all too easily forget this tradition of research, and yet it is important to RE in particular, as it also reflects the approach of many researchers to the understanding of religions.
The growth of multi-religious RE in the UK, supported by Smart’s work, and the decline of the sort of ‘confessional’ RE that promoted belief in a particular religion, has led some researchers to fear that matters of truth are pushed to the sidelines in RE. This would no doubt surprise and upset Smart, but a sense of letting all beliefs come together in RE classrooms, accompanied by an attitude of some that ‘there are no right answers’, or that ‘whatever you believe is right for you’, can leave truth somewhat marginalised.
Researchers in the postmodern style, such as Erricker (Erricker and Erricker 2000), have celebrated the personal in such RE; other researchers, such as Wright (1993, 1997, with Wright based at King’s College, London) and Copley (1997, with Copley based at the University of Oxford) have been keen for RE to engage with truth claims of major religious traditions.
As the work in Stern 2007a (chapter 1 on the ‘philosophy of schooling’, with Stern based at York St John University) suggests, this has brought more philosophy into RE. Recent UK curriculum developments, such as the National Framework and the increasingly pupil AS/A2 syllabuses, have left the subject more open to philosophical influences. And philosophical approaches to learning, such as those described in terms of ‘thinking skills’ (Lipman 2003), have been popular within RE, as in the work of Baumfield (2002, with Baumfield based at the University of Glasgow), Ord (, and the philosophy for children projects (, It is good to see the interaction of RE and philosophy, and the different subjects working together to inform the rest of education, as in the ‘action philosophy’ described in Stern 2007b, the broad work of Haynes (2002) in primary schools, and the RE-specific work of Hookway (2004)
Read more here

Monday, 24 January 2011

Justice: A Citizen's Guide to the 21st Century

BBC4 brings again enlightenment and excitement with "a specially-commissioned documentary in which renowned Harvard professor Michael Sandel looks at the philosophy of justice.
Is it acceptable to torture a terrorist in order to discover where a bomb has been hidden? Should wearing the burka in public be banned in Europe, if the majority of citizens disapprove? Should beggars be cleared off the streets of London?
Sandel goes in search of Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant and Aristotle, three philosophers whose ideas inform much contemporary thinking on justice, and tests their theories against a range of contemporary problems.
Filmed in Berlin, Boston, Athens and London, this thought-provoking film includes interviews with the world's great philosophers, modern day politicians and thinkers from all around the globe".
Watch here