Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 14, 2010

Is Thinking Dangerous?

It’s easy to look around and believe that intelligent debate is a dying art as we all sink under the weight of the lowest common denominator in popular culture. But a phenomenon in Brighton proves that belief wrong. The ‘Philosophers in Pubs’ project, that gets a speaker to kick-start a discussion for twenty minutes, before joining a team of facilitators who float from table to table in a packed pub has been so successful that the landlord has been forced to close the pub to prevent more people entering! Publicans think they have to lay on more food to bring the punters in, but the PIPS project proves they just have to lay on more philosophy!

'Philosophers in Pubs' Patrons of the Park View Pub, Preston Drove, Brighton engage in heated debate

In April they have an evening exploring the question ‘Is Thinking Dangerous’?And as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival in May they will be holding a series of evenings and have asked me to talk at their May 16th event, and sent this description: “On the first 4 Sundays during the festival we’ve asked speakers, from different arenas of human thought and emotion, to say whether it is possible to identify the basis of truth and knowledge.

Following their short, introductory talk we then invite you to consider and discuss your own questions and answers around these fundamental topics. The four weeks are:

Sunday, May 2nd Philosophy – I know What I think.

The mystery of the brain! After thousands of years of thought, how much do we know now? Why do we all think differently and do we learn from our mistakes? Can a philosopher pinpoint how we know what we know?

Sunday May 9th Science – I know what I can prove

A scientist will only accept facts, based on evidence. So how do they come up with different answers? Why are scientific claims so often taken as authoritative?

Sunday May 16th Mysticism – I know what works for me!

Alternative thinking holds the answer to knowledge for many people.  From the supernatural, and spiritual to unconventional ways of learning. Why does it work for some and not others?

Sunday May 23rd Music – I know what I feel

Often by surprise we are caught out by our emotions when we see a piece of art, hear poetry or music. In this final section we will look at the affect of music on all of us and consider why this is.



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