What we're about

Welcome! As the name suggests, this group aims to explore the history of ideas through some of the most influential texts in science, philosophy and literature. Each month we will choose a text or topic to read/research and discuss. The group is open to everyone and is intended as an informal way of engaging with some of the key ideas that have shaped our societies and cultures down through the centuries. No prior understanding of any of the texts or ideas is required and newcomers are always welcome!
It is not a requirement to have read the assigned text to join in the discussion. For those with less time, I will post links to abridged versions, as well as short videos and podcasts providing a general overview of the topic.
Members are welcome to suggest texts/topics and share links to resources such as study guides, podcasts, documentaries, etc.
The current reading list is available here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/166PSEMWjTkdBtQD-GvPFWjH65DayZU_3jcA6mM0evuo/edit?usp=sharing

Upcoming events (1)

The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James discussion

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The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) is William James's classic survey of religious belief in its most personal, and often its most heterodox, aspects. Asking questions such as how we define evil to ourselves, the difference between a healthy and a divided mind, the value of saintly behaviour, and what animates and characterizes the mental landscape of sudden conversion, James's masterpiece stands at a unique moment in the relationship between belief and culture. Faith in institutional religion and dogmatic theology was fading away, and the search for an authentic religion rooted in personality and subjectivity was a project conducted as an urgent necessity. With psychological insight, philosophical rigour, and a determination not to jump to the conclusion that in tracing religion's mental causes we necessarily diminish its truth or value, in the Varieties James wrote a truly foundational text for modern belief.

As it's a fairly long text, we'll focus primarily on the first eight lectures which cover James' approach to the topic, his definition of religion, and the concepts of healthy-mindedness and the sick soul. For those with less time, there's a link to a squashed/abridged edition available below.

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Past events (34)

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill discussion

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Photos (36)