Friday, 11 October 2013

Royal Institute of Philosophy

One of the great treats of the lecture season in London is the annual offering of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, generally based on some grand over-arching theme.

Last year the Institute looked at a whole range of philosophical traditions that would be regarded as alien to the Western analytical tradition. The high points for me were two lectures on Japanese philosophy from slightly differing perspectives and an Iranian contribution.

These and others did not merely help understand where contemporary 'others' were coming from (a session on Iranian philosophy might help move peace forward in the Middle East) but demonstrated that these ways of seeing had merit in their own right. It was somehow right to include Nietzsche in the series.

This year's series is on identity - mind, self and person - and I will be sure to go to at least those this month through to Christmas. They are at the heart of my own interests.

I might add that the Institute is serious but not stuffy, the lectures are free (though come early for a decent seat) and the atmosphere friendly. Membership is recommended though my wife has taken the family position on this rather than me.

The Institute has promised podcasts of last year's series and you should look out for them.  Even if you are a thorough-going amateur like me, the Institute is such a mine of information and links that it would be hard not to engage with it. If you are at all serious about philosophy it is a 'must'.