What we're about

Philosophy in Pubs is a community philosophy group addressing big questions on a variety of topics in a relaxed, informal environment. We hold discussions twice a month in central Oxford and once a month in Headington. No experience of philosophical enquiry is necessary - the idea is that it is possible to talk about philosophical ideas without having to know a lot about what the ‘great’ philosophers thought about things. We are more interested in making progress through sensible conversation than having a heated debate where there are ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. We welcome anybody from any background, age, gender, faith, ethnic group, educational or social background etc. See http://www.meetup.com/Philosophy-in-Pubs-Oxford/about/ for more information about our meetings and please get in touch with any thoughts, concerns etc. To join the Headington Philosophy in Pubs Group, please see https://www.facebook.com/groups/150326685633781/ , though all events will be posted here too.

Upcoming events (5)

What is 'A Sense of Agency' ? Can artificial intelligence ever have it?

(Can spiders have it - when they spin Webs ?) ●□●●□ On considering the possibility of Agency in an artificial device bear in mind the following entry from Stamford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; 'Agency' (section 2.5) Finally, we turn briefly to the question of whether robots and other systems of artificial intelligence are capable of agency. If one presumes the standard theory, one faces the question of whether it is appropriate to attribute mental states to artificial systems (see section 2.4). If one takes an instrumentalist stance (Dennett 1987: Ch. 2), there is no obvious obstacle to the attribution of mental states and intentional agency to artificial systems. According to realist positions, however, it is far from obvious whether or not this is justified, because it is far from obvious whether or not artificial systems have internal states that ground the ascription of representational mental states. If artificial systems are not capable of intentional agency, as construed by the standard theory, they may still be capable of some more basic kind of agency. According to Barandiaran et al. (2009), minimal agency does not require the possession of mental states. It requires, rather, the adaptive regulation of the agent’s coupling with the environment and metabolic self-maintenance. This means, though, that on this view artificial systems are not even capable of minimal agency: “being specific about the requirements for agency has told us a lot about how much is still needed for the development of artificial forms of agency” (Barandiaran et al. 2009: 382). Full details later. ●●●●● Anyone can attend this session. No experience in philosophy or knowledge of the subject is required in advance. Just come along and enjoy. People come along from a wide range of ages, social and educational backgrounds etc. Almost no-one has a philosophy degree. Occasionally, attendees will be asked to watch, read or listen to a short piece of material in advance of the session (as the 'stimulus' for discussion), but this will be minimal and will be made clear in the description of the session. See our Format of the Evenings (https://www.meetup.com/Philosophy-in-Pubs-Oxford/pages/22505971/Format_of_the_Evenings/) for more of an overview and schedule for our sessions. There are some notes of advice on how to discuss at How Should I Participate in a PIPs Session (https://www.meetup.com/Philosophy-in-Pubs-Oxford/pages/22611856/How_Should_I_Participate_in_a_PIPs_Session/) page.

Book Group: Self-Locating Belief and the Sleeping Beauty Problem

Please read the 6-page paper before attending. It's available here: http://www.princeton.edu/~adame/papers/sleeping/sleeping.pdf The Sleeping Beauty problem is a problem in mathematics/probability which is simple to state, but has two different answers... "Some researchers are going to put you to sleep. During the two days that your sleep will last, they will briefly wake you up either once or twice, depending on the toss of a fair coin (Heads: once; Tails: twice). After each waking, they will put you to back to sleep with a drug that makes you forget that waking. When you are first awakened, to what degree ought you believe that the outcome of the coin toss is Heads?" Some people think the answer is a half, others think that it's a third! Why is this? Why is such a simple probability problem so contentious? *About the Philosophy in Pubs Book Group* Please read the with the book or text in advance of attending the session (even if you don't feel like you've perused it or understood it fully!) as this makes for a better conversation. The point of the sessions is not for 'experts' to educate novices about the book. It is not fair for those who have read the book to have to explain things to people who haven't. The group will then meet up to discuss the book, what they think the author is trying to say, what their key points are etc. and then to critique the arguments. As this requires substantial prior engagement, these sessions are not formally part of the Philosophy in Pubs organisation, but the large overlap means that we can use the same Meetup group and the sessions have a similar friendly and engaging feel. Current calendar of books: 21st August: John Searle, Minds, Brains and Science 18th September: Simone de Beauvoir, selections from The Second Sex 16th Oct: William James - Pragmatism 20th Nov 20: Aristotle - Rhetoric 15th Jan (2020): Galen Strawson - Against Narrativity 19th Feb: Paul Feyerabend - Against Method 18th Mar: Philippa Foot - Natural Goodness 15th Apr: Schopenhauer - Essays: (XX) On Judgement, Criticism, Appropriation and Fame, (XXI) On Learning and Learned, (XXII) On Thinking for Oneself, (XXIII) On Authorship and Style, (XXIV) On Reading and Books, (XXV) On Language and Words To volunteer a book for subsequent sessions, please send a message to either Ben Clark or Mike Vousden by using the 'messages' tab which is found by choosing the 'members' tab at the top of the home page. If you volunteer a book, please pick a date when you would be able to attend a session. Whoever suggests the book commits to attending the session and being a ‘point of contact’ for attendees when they arrive.

PIPs Meeting: Topic Coming Soon

The Jam Factory Restaurant and Gallery

Anyone can attend this session. No experience in philosophy or knowledge of the subject is required in advance. Just come along and enjoy. People come along from a wide range of ages, social and educational backgrounds etc. Almost no-one has a philosophy degree. Occasionally, attendees will be asked to watch, read or listen to a short piece of material in advance of the session (as the 'stimulus' for discussion), but this will be minimal and will be made clear in the description of the session. See our Format of the Evenings (https://www.meetup.com/Philosophy-in-Pubs-Oxford/pages/22505971/Format_of_the_Evenings/) page for more of an overview and schedule for our sessions. There are some notes of advice on how to discuss at How Should I Participate in a PIPs Session (https://www.meetup.com/Philosophy-in-Pubs-Oxford/pages/22611856/How_Should_I_Participate_in_a_PIPs_Session/) page.

Headington PIPs - Topic to be Confirmed

The White Hart

Anyone can attend this session. No experience in philosophy or knowledge of the subject is required in advance. Just come along and enjoy. People come along from a wide range of ages, social and educational backgrounds etc. Almost no-one has a philosophy degree. Occasionally, attendees will be asked to watch, read or listen to a short piece of material in advance of the session (as the 'stimulus' for discussion), but this will be minimal and will be made clear in the description of the session. See our Format of the Evenings (https://www.meetup.com/Philosophy-in-Pubs-Oxford/pages/22505971/Format_of_the_Evenings/) for more of an overview and schedule for our sessions. There are some notes of advice on how to discuss at How Should I Participate in a PIPs Session (https://www.meetup.com/Philosophy-in-Pubs-Oxford/pages/22611856/How_Should_I_Participate_in_a_PIPs_Session/) page.

Past events (330)

Does Language Affect Our Experience of the World?

Online event

Photos (184)

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