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Sunday, 15 November 2020 - 5:18pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 15/11/2020 - 5:18pm in

This fortnight, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 1 November 2020 - 4:28pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 01/11/2020 - 4:28pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 25 October 2020 - 5:08pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 25/10/2020 - 5:08pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

A Pandemic Ethics Book Club with the General Public (guest post by Jesse Hamilton)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/10/2020 - 11:53pm in

“If philosophy is to thrive, it must be sensitive and responsive to the world it is meant to engage with. The non-philosophers in our reading group shed light on a world that may be difficult for us philosophers to see and point out aspects of  lived experiences that we may not have access to.”

In the following guest post*, Jesse Hamilton, a Ph.D. student in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, talks about a novel way to bridge the gap between academic philosophy and the general public.

A Pandemic Ethics Book Club with the General Public
by Jesse Hamilton

Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.
-Karl Marx, Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach

I am a Ph.D. student studying moral and political philosophy, and I know a moral dilemma when I see one. I am also an Iraq War veteran who knows what it is like to be on the front lines and live with the consequences of my moral decisions. The pandemic has put us all on the front lines of a morally murky world and left the general public with questions about what they ought to do. The University of Pennsylvania Philosophy Department’s “Pandemic Ethics” Book Club attempts to help them answer those questions.

Engaging with the general public on topical moral and political issues is vital in a liberal democracy. Moreover, if there was ever a time when our communities needed this type of engagement, it is now. But this initiative aspires to do more than than just deliberate about a topical issue. Our current book club is the first step in a series of public reading groups that aim to bridge the gap between academic philosophy and the general public. The mission is simple: Bring together a diverse group of graduate students and philosophy professors with a diverse group of people outside of academia and discuss topics of philosophical interest.

Accessible philosophy writing is critical to public engagement. Our group is  currently  reading  Pandemic Ethics by Ben Bramble (ANU) and holds weekly meetings over Zoom. We have twenty-five total participants—five philosophers and twenty non-philosophers. The philosophers contribute the theoretical perspective and lead the breakout room discussions. The non-philosophers are a diverse group of working professionals—teachers, nurses, lawyers, corporate executives, local legislators, and retirees—and contribute their real  world perspective. Some participants in the group make pandemic-related decisions that affect thousands of people. Indeed, many joined because they acknowledge the moral importance of their daily decisions. Others joined because they have a general interest in discussing philosophy. Regardless of why they joined, each book club participant will be well-prepared for an inevitable Thanksgiving Day pandemic debate with their crazy uncle.

This public engagement is more than just philosophy shifting the world. How can the world shift philosophy? This is a question worth exploring and requires us to get our hands dirty. If philosophy is to thrive, it must be sensitive and responsive to the world it is meant to engage with. The non-philosophers in our reading group shed light on a world that may be difficult for us philosophers to see and point out aspects of lived experiences that we may not have access to. This allows us to see how our ethical theories, concepts, and arguments play out in real-time in a real crisis.

Dr. Bramble made his book available free of charge, and our team is making all the materials we have used to get our book club up and running available to anyone who wants them. Please contact Jesse Hamilton (jesseham@sas.upenn.edu) to receive more information or to join a session, held on Thursdays, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM ET. All are welcome, and feel free to invite a non-philosopher, too—the more, the merrier.

Special thanks to Chetan Cetty, Karen Detlefsen, Allauren Forbes, Julian Gould, Sukaina Hirji, Paul Musso, Tyler Re, Jacqueline Wallis, Daniel Wodak, and Elise Woodard for inspiration, support, feedback, and participation.

The post A Pandemic Ethics Book Club with the General Public (guest post by Jesse Hamilton) appeared first on Daily Nous.

Sunday, 18 October 2020 - 4:38pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 18/10/2020 - 4:38pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 11 October 2020 - 4:36pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 11/10/2020 - 4:36pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 4 October 2020 - 9:41pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 04/10/2020 - 9:41pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 27 September 2020 - 3:59pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 27/09/2020 - 3:59pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 20 September 2020 - 7:14pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 20/09/2020 - 7:14pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Live Event: The Social Life of Books: A History of Reading Together at Home

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/09/2020 - 3:52pm in

Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities. If we were able to step inside the parlours and drawing rooms of the eighteenth century we’d find homes busy with home-made culture - book groups and tea table parties; amateur dramatics; groups of women reading and weeping their way through popular sentimental fiction; children stumbling through poems before their maiden aunts, and men at punch parties singing songs about dogs. We used to read aloud, and we used to do it together, at home. This event, presented by Professor Abigail Williams, gives us a glimpse of that older world of domestic culture and performance, with some thoughts on its revival in the current climate. In a short 'masterclass' with Giles Lewin, Abby will also give some tips on what eighteenth-century reading aloud might have looked and sounded like.

Biographies:
Abigail Williams is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature at St Peter's College, University of Oxford. Her monograph on reading aloud, The Social Life of Books was published by Yale in 2017. She is currently working on a book on the history of misreading.

Giles Lewin is a performer and composer, primarily a violinist, specialising in medieval music and the traditional music of Europe and the Middle East.He has written and performed music for theatre and radio, and played on many film and television scores. He is a founder member of the folk band Bellowhead, and the early music groups The Dufay Collective, Alva, and The Carnival Band.

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