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Public Lecture by Franz Berto at Royal Society of Edinburgh (13 Feb; Edinburgh)

Professor Franz Berto (Universities of St Andrews and Amsterdam): Public Lecture 4
‘Knowledge via Imagination’

Wednesday 13 February 2019, at 5.30-7.30: Public Lecture 4
Wellcome West Room, Royal Society of Edinburgh, 28 George Street Edinburgh

The human mind can contemplate the strangest unreal scenarios in imagination, from dragons and unicorns to exotic islands or science fictions. Why? What is the evolutionary utility of such mental escapes from reality?
One promising answer is that imagination helps to answer ‘what if?’ questions. What if I try to jump the stream? Will I get to the other side, or will I get hurt? Will a no-deal Brexit make me lose my job? Instead of actually trying a dangerous jump, or waiting for a no-deal Brexit to come, we imagine these events taking place, and try to guess what would happen then.
Empirical research shows that imagination as mental simulation helps us in a number of ways: skiers imagining the path they’ll follow in the ski run perform better in a downhill race. House movers imagining guiding the couch through the living room door can reliably conclude that it will in fact pass through the door.
But how can it be? If imagination is an arbitrary escape from reality, we can imagine whatever we like. How can this give us knowledge about reality, then? Better understanding how imagination as mental simulation works – which traps we are prone to fall into when we use it, when it can give us new, reliably formed and true beliefs – will help us to become better mental simulators, thus better equipped to deal with the uncertainties of the future. This is what this talk is about.

The lecture will be preceded by a brief drinks reception from 5.00-5.30.
Attendance is free and open to all.

Public Lectures

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Hume Fellowship, IASH, Edinburgh (please circulate)

Dear SPA members,

Please note that IASH at the University of Edinburgh is advertising a (perhaps final) David Hume Fellowship for A/Y 2019/2020.  Please feel free to forward to any interested parties.

A few details below.




The Fellowship

The David Hume Fellowship is for 3-4 months in the academic year 2019-20. The David Hume Fellow will be an established scholar in any aspect of Hume studies. The Fellowship is intended to provide an opportunity for scholars to come to Edinburgh to work on the important Hume resources available in the city’s libraries and archives. The successful applicant will be expected to be in residence in Edinburgh for the duration of the Fellowship and to participate fully in IASH activities.

The 2019-20 fellowship provides a bursary of £5,000 towards travel and accommodation. We are grateful to The Hume Society, the Scots Philosophical Association and to IASH Fellows and supporters who have made it possible for us to offer this Fellowship.

The Institute is housed in an 19th-century courtyard close to the University Library and about 20 scholars are in residence at any time. Fellows are allocated a private office in the Institute with all the usual research facilities. They are also encouraged to develop contacts with colleagues within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. They give at least one seminar on their current research work during their tenure.

Application procedure

The closing date

The closing date for the receipt of the next round of applications is 28 February 2019.

The application form

You can find our application form here.

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CEPPA Graduate Conference in Moral and Political Philosophy; St Andrews; 8 – 10 February


What Difference Does It Make?

Philosophy’s Impact Beyond Philosophy


2nd CEPPA Graduate Conference in Moral and Political Philosophy  

8-10 February 2019 in St Andrews, Edgecliffe 104

The second CEPPA Graduate Conference provides a platform for early-career moral and political philosophers to discuss their work in a constructive and friendly environment.

The conference is open to all, and we especially encourage you to attend if you are not studying philosophy at university but are interested in moral and political philosophy nonetheless.

This year, the theme of our conference focuses on the question what impact philosophy can and should have beyond academia. We are asking our speakers to explain how society might benefit from better understanding their topic, and how their research can make a difference.

We are especially delighted to have Carrie Jenkins (University of British Columbia) delivering a talk on how to be a public philosopher. Everyone interested in making an impact with philosophy is very welcome to attend.

Lunch Tea and Coffee will be provided for all attendants.


17:00 Registration and Wine Reception

18:00 “So, You Want to Be a Public Philosopher?”
Public Philosophy Workshop with Carrie Jenkins (University of British Columbia)

9:30 “Clay, Glass and Implicit Bias”
Sam Sumpter (University of Washington)
Comments by Katherine Hawley (St Andrews)

11:00 “Why It Makes No Difference Whether You Make a Difference”
Samuel Lee (New York University)
Comments by Rowan Cruft (Stirling)

12:15 “On Doing Less Good”
Jessica Fischer (University College London)
Comments by Theron Pummer (St Andrews)

Lunch Break

14:30 Keynote: Christine Bratu (LMU Munich)

16:00 “Probabilistic Classifiers, Unknown Objects, and the Ethics of Automated Vehicles”
Geoff Keeling (University of Bristol)
Comments by Matt Clark (SASP)

17:30 “Microagressions and Indignation: How our Emotions Help us Track Injustice”
Lara Jost (Université de Genève)
Comments by Alison Duncan Kerr (St Andrews)

10:00 “Tackling Lookism”
Enrico Galvagni (University of Trento)
Comments by Lisa Jones (St Andrews)

11:30 “Rawls and the Distribution of Fair Work”
Frauke Schmode (Technischen Universität München)
Comments by Deryn Thomas (SASP)

Lunch Break

13:30 Keynote: Annabelle Lever (Sciences Po Paris)

15:00 “On David Estlund’s Account of Qualified Acceptability”
William Chan (University of Warwick)
Comments by Jakob Hinze (SASP)


Many thanks to the Mind Association, Scots Philosophical Asssociation, the Aristotelian Society, CAPOD, and CEPPA for their generous funding.

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Sociability and the Science of Man in the Scottish Enlightenment: themes from the work of Nicholas Phillipson (1937-2018); Edinburgh, 1 – 2 March

Sociability and the Science of Man in the Scottish Enlightenment: themes from the work of Nicholas Phillipson (1937-2018)

Playfair Library and Raeburn Room, Old College, University of Edinburgh, 1 – 2 March 2019


Friday, 1 March (Playfair Library, Old College)

10.30 – 11.00 am: Tea and Coffee

11.00 – 11.15 am: Introduction

11.15 am – 12.15 pm: Silvia Sebastiani (EHESS, Paris), ‘Lord Monboddo’s “Ugly Tail”: Orangutans in Enlightenment Sciences of Man’

12.15 – 1.30 pm: Lunch

1.30 – 2.30 pm: Ryan Hanley (Marquette University), ‘The Human Good and the Science of Man’

2.30 – 3.30 pm Sylvana Tomaselli (St. John’s College, Cambridge), ‘Reflections on the Art of Being in the Eighteenth Century’

3.30 – 4 pm: Tea and Coffee

4 – 5 pm: Robert Anderson (University of Edinburgh), ‘Nicholas Phillipson and University History’

Saturday, 2 March (Raeburn Room, Old College)

10.45 – 11.15 am: Tea and Coffee

11.15 am – 12.15 pm: Nicholas Phillipson as a teacher

12.15 – 1.15 pm: Lunch

1.15 – 2.15 pm: Nicholas Phillipson’s research: scholarship and sociability

2.15 – 2.30 pm: Concluding Remarks

This event is supported by the Scottish Philosophical Association, the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Eighteenth-Century and Enlightenment Studies Network (ECENS), and the St Andrews Institute of Intellectual History.

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Themes from Alan Weir; Glasgow 10 – 12 December

In a number of areas, Alan Weir has elaborated strikingly original views which involve a radical departure from the main-stream. These include formalism in the philosophy of mathematics, and as well as naïve set theory, with a universal set, and a naïve theory of truth. In contrast to other contemporary defenders of the latter two theories, Weir rejects dialetheism and accepts classical rules for the logical connectives. He avoids contradictions by restricting certain structural inference rules, specifically some generalized versions of transitivity. In addition, Weir has developed radical versions of naturalism and physicalism (partly informed by his work on Quine) and perceptual realism.

The aim of the workshop is to advance research on themes from Weir’s philosophy.

Everyone is welcome, but we request prior registration (at no cost): please email Adam Rieger ( by Monday 3 December if you would like to participate.

Postgraduate student bursaries: thanks to the Analysis Trust, we have up to five postgraduate students available, to cover up to 50% of the cost of accommodation (not travel). If you are interested in applying, please contact Adam Rieger as soon as possible.


Venue: Reid Room, Department of Philosophy, University of Glasgow (69 Oakfield Avenue).

Monday 10th December:

1-1:45: Pre-workshop Tutorial: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Alan Weir

2-3:30: Timothy Williamson (Oxford): ‘Alternative Logics and Applied Mathematics’


4-5:30: Stephan Krämer (Hamburg): ‘State-space semantics for state-space mereology’

Tuesday 11th December:

[9-9:30 coffee]

9:30-11: Stewart Shapiro (Ohio State): ‘Plurals, groups, and paradox’

11:15-12:45 Mary Leng (York): tba

2:15-3:45: Alan Weir: ‘A Mereological Theory of Properties and Relations’

4-5:30: Alex Miller (Otago, via video-link): ‘What is the Sceptical Solution?’

Wednesday 12th December:

[9-9:30 coffee]

9:30-11: Elia Zardini (Lisbon): ‘Against the World’

11:15-12:45: Marianna Antonutti Marfori (Munich): tba


2:15-3:45: James Levine (Trinity College Dublin): ‘On Quine’s Naturalism?’

4-5:30: John Divers (Leeds): ‘Metaphysical Modality and Objective Probability’

Updates will be posted at the website:

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Analysis Trust, the Aristotelian Society, the Mind Association, the Scots Philosophical Association, and theSchool of Humanities, University of Glasgow.

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OPEN-Scotland Launch Event, 11 January, Edinburgh

OPEN-Scotland is pleased to invite you to the network’s Launch Event on:

*Friday 11th January 2019 from 6pm*

OPEN-Scotland is an Online Philosophy and Education Network for Scotland, providing networking opportunities, resources, and an online community for anyone interested in teaching and promoting philosophy in Scottish schools and communities. The Launch Event is our first opportunity to bring people together to meet, make connections, share resources and experiences, and shape the future of the network.

Featuring: Representatives from Education Scotland, University of Edinburgh, Strathclyde University, University of Glasgow, University of St Andrews, SAPERE, The Philosophy Foundation, Wonder Ponder, the Public Philosophy Network, The Philosopher: a pubilc philosophy journal, and much more!

The event will include talks, stalls, interactive activities, and a virtual tour of the new online home for the network: Drinks and refreshments will be served.

The Launch Event will take place at the University of Edinburgh:

Teviot Row House, 13 Bristo Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AJ

The event (just like the network) is FREE and OPEN to all but registration is required. Register here!

We look forward to welcoming you on the night!

Lani Watson

(on behalf of the team)

OPEN-Scotland is hosted by the University of Edinburgh with generous support from the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences, and the EIDYN Research centre. For more information contact the OPEN-Scotland team via



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KBNS Network Workshop; 17 and 18 December, Stirling

Dear all,


The second KBNS Network Workshop will take place next month, 17th and 18th of December, at the Stirling Court Hotel, University of Stirling .


A draft programme (to be updated soon with titles and abstracts) is available here:


For delegates other than project members/speakers:

Please let us know by email if you are planning to attend (to: There is no registration fee, and teas/coffees during the Workshop are provided.

You are welcome to join us for meals during the Workshop – lunches, and the Workshop Dinner on Monday 17th – but these have to be booked in advance: details and costs are given below. (Email to:


Meal costs:
– Two course lunch, 17th: £13.5

– Conference dinner, 17th: £25

– Two course lunch, 18th: £13.5

Vegetarian options are standard.


Thank you very much!


Sonia Roca-Royes

KBNS project co-leader

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SPA AGM and Conference, Aberdeen 6 – 7 December

Dear SPA members,

Please see below for further information about our upcoming AGM and Conference at Aberdeen, 6 – 7 December.  Hope to see you there!



Annual Meeting of the Scots Philosophical Society 6 – 7 December 2018, Aberdeen

6 December: Meeting Room 1, 7th Floor, Sir Duncan Library

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm: Coffee, Meet & Greet

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: SPA Business Meeting (SPA members only)

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Alessandra Tanesini (Cardiff University)

“Sensibilities, Thinking Styles and Character Traits: On the Heterogeneity of Intellectual Vices”

4:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Coffee

5.00 pm – 6:30 pm: Stephan Torre & Clas Weber (University of Aberdeen & University of Western Australia)

“De Se Puzzles and Frege Puzzles”

7.30 pm


7 December: Meeting Room 1, 7th Floor, Sir Duncan Library

9:30 am – 11:00 am: Ian Kidd (University of Nottingham)

“Pathophobia: Illness, Vices, and Social Oppression”

11:00 am – 11.30 am: Coffee

VC Suite, University Office Building:

11:30 am – 1:00 pm: Havi Carel [via Skype] (Bristol University)

“Phenomenology of Illness”

1.30 pm – 2.30 pm


SPA AGM Information 2018

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Editorship of *Philosophy* (from John Haldane)

To Members of the Scots Philosophical Association: Editorship of Philosophy.

You may already be aware of the fact that in anticipation of the retirement of the current Director of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and Editor of the journal Philosophy, Professor Anthony O’Hear, the Institute seeks to make distinct appointments, to each of these positions.


In the case of the Directorship the nature of the responsibilities means that candidates need to be in or near to London. There is no such requirement, however, with regard to the Editorship of Philosophy. Also it is possible that the editorship might be shared as, for example, is that of Mind.

It is expected that handover of responsibilities would take place in the early part of 2019, on a schedule to be agreed with the Chair and the Executive Committee.

Initial expressions of interest for the posts should be sent by email to the Managing Director Dr James Garvey at and copied to me as Chair of the Royal Institute of Philosophy at to arrive on or before 26th October 2018.

These should include a CV, together with a brief statement of purpose. Selected applicants will then be invited to provide a more extensive account of how they would envisage pursuing the purposes and aims of the Institute as Editor(s) of Philosophy.

It is expected that applicants will already be familiar with the journal but those interested in being considered for the position should review its online website Information about the Royal Institute of Philosophy and further particulars of the Editorial post are provided in the attached document.

John Haldane

Chair, Royal Institute of Philosophy

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Kant’s Scots; Edinburgh, 3rd Nov

Kant’s Scots

Bi-annual workshop on Kant’s philosophy

Friday 3rd November 2018

Room 4.01, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AD




Dr. Anastasia N. Artemyev Berg (Cambridge)

Kant’s Feeling of Moral Respect as Practical Self-Consciousness


Lorenzo Spagnesi (Edinburgh)

Reason as “the touchstone of truth”. A perspectival interpretation of the Appendix to the Transcendental Dialecti


Prof. Jens Timmermann (St Andrews)

Kant against the Right to Lie: The Central Argument


Dr. Antonino Falduto (St Andrews)

The People’s Right to a Revolution: Kant, Fichte, Erhard

No registration necessary

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Scots Philosophical Association and the Edinburgh Philosophy Department.

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SPA AGM and Conference; Aberdeen, December 6/7 2018

Dear All,

I wanted to share a few details about the upcoming SPA Annual General Meeting and Conference, held at Aberdeen on Thursday/Friday 6 and 7 December, 2018.  I’ll be sending more information in due course, but please mark your calendars, and hope to see you there.



Annual General Meeting of the Scots Philosophical Association                     

 6 – 7 December, Aberdeen

 6 December

1 – 1.30           Coffee, Meet & Greet

1.30 – 3.00      SPA Business Meeting (SPA members only)

 3 – 4.30           Alessandra Tanesini, Cardiff

 4.30 – 5           Coffee

 5 – 6.30           Stephan Torre, Aberdeen

 7.00                 Dinner

7 December

 9.30 – 11 am   Havi Carel, Bristol (via Skype)

 11 – 11.30       Coffee

 11.30 – 1 pm   Ian Kidd, Nottingham

 1 – 2 pm          Lunch

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Environmental Ethics and Value in the Age of Exoplanets; St Andrews, 6 October

Environmental Ethics and Value in the Age of Exoplanets
An interdisciplinary workshop. 6 October 2018.

We will be working toward the production of an output: an essay that (1) lays out the central problems of environmental ethics relating to space science and exploration and (2) outlines how people from different disciplines can work together on answering them.

Free to attend

Location: Senate Room, St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews

9:00 – 9:05 -- Introduction
9:05 – 9:55 – Session 1 – Jacob Haqq-Misra (Blue Marble Space Institute of Science), "Value Theory"
9:55 – 10:45 – Session 2 – Charles Cockell (University of Edinburgh), "Exoplanets and Environmental Ethics"
11:05 – 11:55 – Session 3 – Ash Watkins (University of St. Andrews), "Asteroid Mining"
11:55 – 12:45 – Session 4 – Ben Sachs (University of St. Andrews), “Contaminating Other Planets”
1:00 – 2:00 – Lunch
2:15—3:05 – Session 5 – Natalya Zavina-James (University of St. Andrews), "The 21st Century Space Race: Evaluating the risk and potential of private space exploration"
3:05—3:55 – Session 6 – Tony Milligan (King's College London), “Fairness and Appropriation: The Case of the Martian Lava Tubes”
4:15 – 5:05 – Session 7 – Tim Mulgan (University of Auckland/University of St. Andrews), "Human and Alien Lives"
5:05 – 5:55 – Session 8 – Jacob Haqq-Misra, Synthesis and "How Can We Communicate Across Disciplines?"

To register, email the organiser, Ben Sachs (  Please note that this will be a *no distractions* workshop.  Everyone in attendance will be expected to give their undivided attention to the workshop proceedings except of course during breaks, so that means no texting, checking email or social media accounts, etc.

With gratefully acknowledged support from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
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Themes from Alan Weir; Glasgow; 10 – 12 December

A workshop Themes from Alan Weir will take place at Philosophy, 69 Oakfield Avenue, University of Glasgow, Monday 10 – Wednesday 12 December 2018.




John Divers (University of Leeds)

Mary Leng (University of York)

James Levine (Trinity College, Dublin

Fiona Macpherson (University of Glasgow)

Marianna Antonutti Marfori (University of Munich)

Alex Miller (University of Otago)

Stewart Shapiro (Ohio State University)

Alan Weir (University of Glasgow)

Timothy Williamson (University of Oxford)

Elia Zardini (University of Lisbon)


Organized by Stephan Leuenberger and Adam Rieger

More details at


Attendance is free but please contact if intending to come.


We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Scots Philosophical Association, the Mind Association, and the School of Humanities, University of Glasgow.

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Public lecture; Stirling; Sept. 20

Whatever we Know, there is More: the Cyborg Enhancement of Human Experience


Public Lecture by Liviu Babitz (CEO, Cyborg Nest


Sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy


When: 17.45 – 19.15, Thursday September 20th

Where: Pathfoot Lecture Theatre, University of Stirling


What would it be like to have an extra sense for experiencing the world, something in addition to the usual biological endowment of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste? And what would it be like to have a piece of intelligently designed technology physically, permanently and intimately anchored to your body that gave you that extra sense? How would that change the way you encounter, remember and think about reality? Liviu Babitz can tell you, because, for well over a year now, he has been a real, living cyborg, a technologically enhanced human being. Liviu’s sensory capacities have been augmented by the North Sense, an artificial exo-sense that is fixed onto the upper part of his chest, and that enables him to sense – to experience, not merely to detect – the magnetic field of the planet, and thus to perceive directly where north is.

Beyond any practical advantages such technological augmentation may bring (knowing where north is has been historically significant for human beings across cultures, and some other animals have an evolved, organic north sense), Liviu’s goal, and the goal of his fellow digital pioneers and transhumanists at the company he co-founded, Cyborg Nest, is to change the way we perceive reality. In this public lecture, Liviu will discuss the North Sense and his experience of living with it as part of him, in the context of a broader set of opportunities and concerns associated with our increasingly intimate and powerful couplings with progressively more sophisticated and intelligent technology. To explore these issues, Liviu will be joined by Professor Michael Wheeler (Philosophy, University of Stirling) and Dr Alisa Mandrigin (Anniversary Research Fellow in Psychology and Philosophy, University of Stirling). Everyone is welcome and there will be time to ask questions and join in the discussion. So come along and glimpse our species’ future.


This event is free, but if you are intending to come along, it would be helpful if you would register using the following link. This is to assist us with the planning. Thank you.

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Axel Honneth in Edinburgh 28 June

From Mirko Canevaro (Classics, Edinburgh):

Honour in Classical Greece
Public Lecture Series

28 June 2018


Speaker: Professor Axel Honneth (Frankfurt/Columbia)

Venue: Playfair Hall, Royal College of Surgeons, Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DW

Our project is delighted to welcome as its second public lecturer Axel Honneth, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia and Frankfurt Universities and Director of the latter’s renowned Institut für Sozialforschung.

The theme of Professor Honneth’s lecture is ‘Recognition in Modern Europe’.

The lecture will be followed by a reception.

All are welcome. The event is free to attend, but registration is required. Please register at

Dr Mirko Canevaro

Reader in Greek History
Department of Classics
The University of Edinburgh
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Galloway and Sa Cavalcante at Dundee; May 14 – 16 and 21 – 24

From Ashley Woodward (Dundee):

Dear all,
The University of Dundee and The Scottish Center for Continental Philosophy is please to announce a series of special events by visiting scholars Alexander R. Galloway and Maria Sa Cavalcante Schuback, funded by the Scots Philosophical Association.

All event are open to all and are free to attend. There is no need to book.
Alexander R. Galloway (4-6, May 14-16)
First masterclass on the concept of the digital.
Second masterclass on the concept of the analog
Evening lecture: “How did the computer learn to see?”

Marcia Sa Cavalcante Schuback (4-6, May 21-24)
Three masterclasses on time in exile, and the struggle of existence
Evening lecture: “Thinking through Sketches.”

For more details, follow the link:

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Lacan in Scotland; Edinburgh; May 8

From Amanda Diserholt (Edinburgh Napier):

Please join us for a seminar by Aaron Schuster on: From Hedonism to the Symptom: The Destiny of Lust

In this seminar, we will examine Lacan’s notion of jouissance, through the lens of Plato’s dialogue Philebus, his most advanced treatment of the question of pleasure and the good life. How is Lacan’s notion of enjoyment both grounded in Plato’s theory on pleasure as well as a decisive break from it? What are the moral and ontological implications of Lacan’s idea of enjoyment? How does it relate to Freud’s attempts to theorize the nature of Lust? In addition to the interpretation of Lacan, we will sketch a history of pleasure, starting with Plato’s critique of hedonism and ending with Freud’s paradoxical notion of the “unfelt pleasure” of the symptom. From Greek hedonism to the neurotic symptom: is this the destiny of Lust?

Aaron Schuster is a philosopher and writer, based in Amsterdam. He is the author of The Trouble with Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis (MIT Press, 2016). He was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago in 2016, and will be at the Society of Fellows, Cornell University in 2018-2019.

You are invited to read Aaron Schuster’s texts:
Is Pleasure a Rotten Idea?

Being and Enjoyment in Plato’s Philebus: A Lacanian Perspective

Tuesday May 8 at 18:30 – 20:00 
Edinburgh Napier University, Merchiston Campus, Room G24


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Paul Boghossian at the Royal Society of Edinburgh; 23 May

?The Knowledge Beyond Natural Science project at the University of Stirling would like to announce the third of the project’s series of Public Lectures.  The lecture will be given on Wednesday 23 May 2018 by Professor Paul Boghossian of New York University. He will address the question: ‘Should we be Relativists about Morality?’

Many people, philosophers and non-philosophers alike, regard themselves as relativists about morality. They are suspicious of there being any objective truths about how we should conduct our lives. In this talk, Professor Boghossian will argue that relativism about morality is not an option: we face a stark voice between eliminating moral discourse altogether or accepting a certain measure of objectivity about the moral domain. He will conclude by arguing in favour of the latter option.
The lecture will be held in the Wellcome West Room of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s building at 28 George Street, Edinburgh. Attendance is free and open to all.