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I drink therefore I am... at new pub philosophy society in Oxford
THE 17th century French philosopher René Descartes once said: “I drink therefore I am” — at least that’s probably what he meant to say.
If you Kant work out what life is all about and you fancy discussing it over a pint and a Plato chips a new Oxford club may be for you.
Philosophy in Pubs (PIP) is all about discussing big questions while having a little drink.
Ben Clark, 32, moved to Oxford last year from Bradford, where he was part of the city’s PIP club.
He was reading a book on logic on a bench in the city when a stranger asked him to join a new society.
Mr Clark’s curiosity was spurred and he went along.
The group discussed topics ranging from ‘How much money should you give to charity?’ to ‘Are there inherent contradictions in quantum physics?’ Now he wants to set up a similar group in the city of dreaming spires.
Mr Clark, a data analyst for Oxford University, said: “It is supposed to be entertaining but the idea is based around a community of enquiry.
“That means getting together to try and discover a better answer to your questions than you came in with.
“Ideally you come out the other end having some of your assumptions challenged.
“For example, the first topic would have to be ‘What is Philosophy?’ “It’s not as easy as you might think, and it will get people talking.”
Mr Clark said when he moved to the city he expected to find a PIP club and was surprised not to find one.
He said: “There is a lot of philosophy here but it’s either academic or personal philosophy – self help-type groups.
“I am definitely expecting it to be popular.”
He explained that the reason for going to the pub was that questions should be discussed in a relaxed atmosphere.
He hopes to run a monthly club in the Jam Factory, in Park End Street, where people can discuss philosophy over a coffee, beer or a glass of wine.
Anyone interested in talking Plato in a pub should email him on email@example.com
Mr Clark added: “It’s not my group, it belongs to everybody who attends meetings.
“Only rule is that everyone shows respect for other people’s opinions and lets others talk. I’m sure that’s not too much of an ask. This is Oxford, after all.”
Topics on the table
- What’s wrong with genetically enhancing your offspring?
- In this age of information, do we know any more?
- Can I buy myself a beer, or would it be better that the money went to charity?
- Does anything exist that cannot be conveyed precisely?
- On what basis should we decide whether austerity cuts are right?
- Can machines ever develop consciousness?
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