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New Meetup: Raymond Tallis: 'The Sighted Watchmaker: How Humans Evolved To Be So Different'

From: Alice F.
Sent on: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:40 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Central London Humanists!

What: Raymond Tallis: 'The Sighted Watchmaker: How Humans Evolved To Be So Different'

When: November 18,[masked]:30 PM

Voluntary contribution: GBP2.00 per person

Conference Room, Canterbury Hall
11 ? 18 Cartwright Gardens WC1H 9EE

The CLHG is pleased to host a talk from philosopher, poet, novelist, cultural critic and (until recently) physician and clinical scientist, Professor Raymond Tallis.

In his talk, Tallis will discuss how Darwinian thought has increasingly invaded the humanities and, indeed, our thinking about human nature. He will suggest that we have escaped the prison of a supernatural understanding of ourselves only to embrace an entirely naturalistic one that sees us as mere animals, subject to the same laws as those that govern the lives of other animals. In this talk for the CLHG, Tallis will argue that we are fundamentally different from other living creatures but that our escape from biology was by biological means, which he will describe. Tallis will argue that we can therefore be good Darwinians without succumbing to 'Darwinitis'. Humanism does not require us to deny our biological roots, only to acknowledge that our biological roots do not explain our cultural leaves.

The talk will start at 6.30pm and will last approximately 45 minutes. A good period of time for audience Q&A will follow.

Then, in CLHG tradition, discussion will follow in The Lord John Russell, a pub down the road from the venue.

This promises to be a very interesting talk from a highly distinguished public intellectual and thoughtful humanist. I hope to see you there.


About the speaker

Born in Liverpool in 1946, one of five children, Raymond Tallis trained as a doctor at Oxford University and at St Thomas' in London before going on to become Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester and a consultant physician in Health Care of the Elderly in Salford. Professor Tallis retired from medicine in 2006 to become a full-time writer, though he remains Visiting Professor at St George's Hospital Medical School, University of London.

Over the last 20 years Tallis has published fiction, three volumes of poetry, and 18 books on the philosophy of mind, philosophical anthropology, literary theory, the nature of art and cultural criticism. Together with over a hundred articles in Prospect, Times Literary Supplement, Philosophy Now, The Reader, PN Review, The Lancet and many other outlets, these books offer a critique of current predominant intellectual trends and an alternative understanding of human consciousness, the nature of language and of what it is to be a human being.

His recent books include The Enduring Significance of Parmenides: Unthinkable Thought (Continuum, 2007) which examines the nature and origin of the cognitive revolution the inaugurated Western thought; The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Round Your Head (Atlantic, 2008) in which he reflects on the mystery of embodiment; and Hunger (Acumen, 2008) which explores the complex drives that make human life what it is.

Professor Tallis has been awarded two honorary degrees: DLitt (Hon. Causa) from the University of Hull in 1997; and LittD (Hon. Causa) at the University of Manchester 2002. In 2004, he was identified in Prospect Magazine as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the UK. Tallis is also a Distinguished Supporter of the BHA.

More information including a comprehensive list of his writings can be found on Raymond?s website -


About the venue

The event will take place in the Conference Room of University of London?s Canterbury Hall. The Hall is located by Cartwright Gardens close to Russell Square in Bloomsbury. For those who attended our last meeting at Hughes Parry Hall, Canterbury Hall is the building next door.

Russell Square (Piccadilly Line), Kings Cross (Northern, Victoria, Piccadilly, Circle and Metropolitan Lines and Mainline Rail) and Euston Station (Victoria & Northern Lines and Mainline Rail) are all within walking distance of the venue.

A map can be found here:

Unfortunately this venue is not wheelchair accessible. There is a small chance that another room which is accessible will become available which we?ve asked the venue to switch us to if it does. I will send a message to CLHG members should this happen.


Cost and booking

Please RSVP to book your place using the function on the right hand side of this page.

A suggested donation of ?2 will be collected at the end of the meeting to cover costs of the room.


This meeting is organised by Alice

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