• Free Speech, No-Platforming, Protecting Minorities And Effecting Social Change

    WE WILL BE AT THE TABLE ON THE LEFT AS YOU COME INTO THE PUB - UNFORTUNATELY I'VE BEEN TOLD THAT THE UPSTAIRS ROOMS ARE CLOSED For some people no-platforming will be seen as a threat to free speech, but others will see it as a protection against extremism. Whilst the right to freedom of speech is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so too is the possibility of it being "subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals". Where do you think the balance should lie? Are college campuses becoming too safe or should we protect minorities even more? Background: Canada's Bill C-16 has caused controversy - Jordan Peterson is against it - because it is seen as punishing those who misuse pronouns, but has this legislation been misunderstood? (http://sds.utoronto.ca/blog/bill-c-16-no-its-not-about-criminalizing-pronoun-misuse/) Are you in favour of no-platforming? Or should campuses be at the forefront of the free market place of ideas as defined by John Stuart Mill? Background: The professor of moral philosophy at Oxford, Jeff McMahan, is opposed to no-platforming, and is starting an academic journal with anonymous contributors. Is freedom of speech necessary to effect change in society and protect it from a stultifying conservatism? Thanks to Michael for suggesting this topic. More information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech I will be interested to hear everyone's views on this debate. Please make your own suggestions for the agenda. On the night please: -Sit in a circle and speak to the whole circle; one conversation at a time -Aim for equal airtime; points should be: *Short *Clearly-structured and *On-topic -Arrive early to order drinks The host moderates but peer-moderation is encouraged

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  • Christmas Social & General Discussion

    The Westgate Pub

    Meetup groups Cafe Philo, Bath Philosophy and Debate Group and Introducing the Philosophers are happy to announce a joint social evening at 4.30 p.m. on Tuesday 18 December at the Westgate pub, Bath. We hope as many of you as possible can attend. There is food available from the pub festive menu for those who may want to eat.

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  • HOMELESSNESS, SOCIAL HOUSING & MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

    The Westgate Pub

    Here are some things we could talk about, BUT PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN QUESTIONS TOO! There has been a sharp increase in the number of people who are sleeping rough in Bath and the rest of the country. There have also been cuts to council budgets, putting pressure on social housing and mental health care. Is there a link between all these things? What do you think is driving the increase in homelessness? Could it be a lack of accommodation, mental health issues pushing some people onto the streets, or perhaps an increase in drug use? Should social housing be provided as a right, and if so, who should pay? Morally, do we have an obligation to support others, and if so, is there a limit to what should be provided? Experts say that the country should be building 300,000 new houses a year to meet demand, but the current number is about half that. Meanwhile, building companies are making a lot of money - Barratt is expected to make a profit of close to £900 Million this year. Should such companies build more affordable homes, or perhaps contribute to a central fund for housing? Is the Right to Buy a good policy, or is it a way of government funding other projects? Are we becoming a less caring society, or do you see council and government cuts as simply expedient given the national debt? Some background from Wikipedia: In December 2016 the housing charity Shelter estimated homelessness in England to amount to more than 250,000 people; Shelter calculated the figure using four sets of official sources: statistics on rough sleepers, statistics on those in temporary accommodation, the number of people housed in hostels and the number of people waiting to be housed by council social services departments. In England, it had been estimated in 2007 an average of 498 people slept rough each night, with 248 of those in London. But reportedly numbers sleeping rough have soared in recent years and doubled since 2010; figures reported for the 2015 count were 3,569 people rough sleeping in England on a single night, up 102% from 2010.

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  • Discussion on Families, Relationships and Loneliness

    The Westgate Pub

    We'll have a discussion about families, relationships and loneliness. Since this subject is one which we all have direct experience of, I suggest we each bring a discussion point along to the meetup. Here are some ideas to think about: - How cohesive is the family unit in comparison to the past? - What social forces have made the old-fashioned notion of a family unit less common? - Is our mental health challenged as a result of these changes? - Are we increasingly identifying as a single social unit - ourselves alone? - Are relationships now only expected to be short term? On the night please: -Sit in a circle and speak to the whole circle; one conversation at a time -Aim for equal airtime; points should be: *Short *Clearly-structured and *On-topic -Arrive early to order drinks The host moderates but peer-moderation is encouraged

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  • Social Evening Outdoors + Brexit Discussion Update

    Tuesday is forecast to be a good evening, so we can grab a table outdoors. Drinks and snacks/meals are available. We've discussed Brexit before, but with all the things going on at the moment, it could be a good time for a revisit. Please think of some points on Brexit you would like us to discuss. Here are some possible starting points: - What kind of Brexit is now best for the country? - Is the government still in control and will it survive until Brexit is implemented? - Should there be a second referendum? - Would you change your vote if there was another referendum?

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  • Summer Evening Outdoors + Discussion: How can we put a value on professions?

    You are welcome to join a discussion on why we reward people in different ways. Please think about the topic and bring your own suggestions. This will also be a social evening on a pleasant evening outside. The cafe has drinks and food. Here are some topics that we could discuss: - Society has placed a strange set of values on how it rewards the different professions - Is this because of relative Education, Class, Entertainment, Financial Gain or something else? - How big a role does gender play? Is there equality, and if not, how can we make things more equal? - Why do we value some professions so highly - is it because we like to have heroes who we place above others? NUMBERS ARE LIMITED FOR EACH MEETUP IN ORDER TO ALLOW EACH PARTICIPANT TIME TO SPEAK. HOWEVER, REPEATS WILL BE SCHEDULED IF NECESSARY, SO PLEASE JOIN THE WAITING LIST OR MESSAGE ME TO REGISTER YOUR FURTHER INTEREST. On the night please: -Sit in a circle and speak to the whole circle; one conversation at a time -Aim for equal airtime; points should be: *Short *Clearly-structured and *On-topic -Arrive early to order drinks The host moderates but peer-moderation is encouraged

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  • THE ABUSE OF POWER IN CHARITIES

    The Westgate Pub

    • What we'll do Following the recent scandals in Oxfam and Save the Children, how extensive and relevant do you think is the abuse of power in Charities? Is this the consequence of failure of leadership at a high level? What is the scope of leaders to override the ethical and legal framework of governance and employment law to do whatever they want? These abuses probably aren't limited to large organisations. Is there a major failure of governance and leadership going on with HR policies and processes clearly not doing what they are supposed to do? The moral maze is interesting on this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09snwn0 We can also spend time on the #metoo issue, which we covered at a recent meetup but which in many ways is strongly related to the more newly emerging issues with charities. There are some interesting questions to be answered such as: should the law be changed? Are we better behaved towards each other than previous generations? Is this also about power, rather than just sex, and if so how do we address that? How do you have a discussion around what behaviour is acceptable when 'acceptable' is defined differently by different people? • What to bring • Important to know

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  • SOCIAL MEDIA: IS IT GOOD OR BAD FOR OUR SOCIETY AND OUR MENTAL HEALTH?

    • What we'll do HERE IS A LIST OF SOME THINGS WE COULD TALK ABOUT, BUT PLEASE ALSO BRING ALONG YOUR OWN QUESTIONS: Please watch this TED talk (13:50 Minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E7hkPZ-HTk Is social media a constant but pointless distraction? Do we now confuse truth with popularity? Interesting (and short) interview with ex-Facebook executive: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/12/chamath-palihapitiya-social-media-confuses-truth-and-popularity.html Are we now detrimentally obsessed with popularity? Is this shown through the many competitive programmes on TV which are designed to test the popularity of contestants? What about the mental health of a contestant who fails? Does social media hone our social skills, or has it made society more superficial? Social influencers are having a big impact on how the world works (one of them was even elected president of the US!). So we can’t ignore them - it’s a new normal? The Bath based social influencer Elle Darby has recently received criticism for asking for freebies in return for reviews. Recently an entirely fictitious London restaurant was created and went to #1 on the Tripadvisor rankings: (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/dec/17/the-shed-tripadvisors-best-london-restaurant-you-literally-couldnt-get-a-table). Would you agree that web reviews create a false view of the world online, and is this any different from traditional advertising on TV or in print? Does internet social networking add to or subtract from the availability of truth? Traditionally, our news sources were vetted, but largely by those with an economic or social interest in keeping the established status quo. Now almost anyone can set up a news feed of truth - or fake news - depending on your viewpoint. This tends to lead to polarisation of opinion, but can it also make news more democratic? Has it enabled democratic revolution for the good in certain countries? On the night please: -Sit in a circle and speak to the whole circle; one conversation at a time -Aim for equal airtime; points should be: *Short *Clearly-structured and *On-topic -Arrive early to order drinks The host moderates but peer-moderation is encouraged • What to bring • Important to know

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  • Education: How and what should we be teaching our children?

    • What we'll do HERE IS A LIST OF SOME THINGS WE COULD TALK ABOUT, BUT PLEASE ALSO BRING ALONG YOUR OWN QUESTIONS. State or Private? Should the state subsidise private schools? Some academies have been a success and others a failure, so were they a good idea? Are faith schools a good idea? Do you think there should be limits to how and what should be taught in such schools? At home or in a school? Is it better to teach your own children, or do they miss out on social contact? Schools are a post code lottery, and the best are difficult to get into. How can we make schools more equal in opportunity for all? (Also see https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/dec/17/call-to-fine-schools-that-illegally-exclude-poorly-performing-pupils) Would it be a good idea to bring back grammar schools? Should there be vocational schools for the less academic pupils? IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION BUT ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND PLEASE MESSAGE ME WITH A SUGGESTED TIME THAT WOULD BETTER SUIT YOU. NUMBERS ARE LIMITED FOR EACH MEETUP IN ORDER TO ALLOW EACH PARTICIPANT TIME TO SPEAK. HOWEVER, REPEATS WILL BE SCHEDULED IF NECESSARY, SO PLEASE JOIN THE WAITING LIST OR MESSAGE ME TO REGISTER YOUR FURTHER INTEREST. On the night please: -Sit in a circle and speak to the whole circle; one conversation at a time -Aim for equal airtime; points should be: *Short *Clearly-structured and *On-topic -Arrive early to order drinks The host moderates but peer-moderation is encouraged • What to bring • Important to know

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  • How Important Is The Environment To You?

    The Westgate Pub

    • What we'll do The recent Blue Planet II series has provoked discussion on how human kind is impacting the environment. Most of us would agree that the environment is being destroyed by our habits - but how much are we willing to sacrifice our modern way of living to preserve the natural habitat? What are we happy to give up: food packaged in plastic, ready meals and takeaways, heating our houses, plastic toys for our children? Our whole modern agricultural system is impacting the planet - but it feeds the population. Should we allow the exploitation of the environment if it brings jobs? Would we accept a rise in petrol and energy prices to avoid damage to the environment? Should we have extreme taxes on plastic bags, industry and energy use? Is it better to use nuclear power, wind or tidal power? Will these also have an environmental impact on the beauty of the landscape? Which countries should cut the most and contribute the most to stop damage to the environment? Please think about these issues and come along with any questions you would like raise. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION BUT ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND PLEASE MESSAGE ME WITH A SUGGESTED TIME THAT WOULD BETTER SUIT YOU. NUMBERS ARE LIMITED FOR EACH MEETUP IN ORDER TO ALLOW EACH PARTICIPANT TIME TO SPEAK. HOWEVER, REPEATS WILL BE SCHEDULED IF NECESSARY. On the night please: -Sit in a circle and speak to the whole circle; one conversation at a time -Aim for equal airtime; points should be: *Short *Clearly-structured and *On-topic -Arrive early to order drinks The host moderates but peer-moderation is encouraged. • What to bring • Important to know

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