Monthly Archives: September 2018

Alnmouth Conference, Saturday 6th October 2018

Everyone is welcome to attend this always wonderful conference in Alnmouth, organised by Newcastle’s own, Michael Bavidge:



Philosophy Workshop

Sponsored by the PSE Northern Group

Of Sound Mind

Saturday, 6th October, 2018

10.30 am – 6.00 pm

Methodist Hall, Alnmouth,


 If you would like to join us please enrol by contacting

Michael Bavidge, 6 Craghall Dene Avenue,

Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1QR                                      

Fee: £15 payable on the day



10.00 am      Coffee

10.30 am      Context and Constraints     Ian Ground

11.40 am      Coffee

11.50 am      The Space of a Shared Life    Michael Bavidge

1 pm             Lunch

2.00 pm        Participants’ workshop

3.00 pm        Cetaceans and Conceptualisation    Ian Ground

4.15 pm        Tea

4.30 pm        Betraying animals    Michael Bavidge

5 pm             General Discussion

6 pm              Close.

Ian Ground is a Teaching Fellow in the Fine Art Department at Newcastle University. He has published on animals minds and has recently edited the formidable Portraits of Wittgenstein.

Michael is President of the Philosophical Society of England. He was a lecturer in Philosophy at Newcastle University. He struggles with theories of mind – human (adult and child) and brute.


Ian’s Discussions

A default position in our ordinary thought, the philosophy of mind and to an extent, the cognitive sciences, is that while we may now think that at least some, perhaps many other animals are” minded”, still the character of their mindedness not only is but must remain mysterious to us. In these two discussions, I try to confront default mainstream positions about animal mindedness with empirical results, in particular the known facts about the dolphin sonar system: ensonfication. My aim is not to defend a thesis but only to offer some reflections on how some mainstream constraints relating to concept possession fare when faced with the ethological findings.

Mike’s Discussions

In 1998 Ian and I wrote Can We Understand Animal Minds? The first chapter was entitled ‘The Shared World’. We inhabit the shared world as humans, but that does not mean it is an exclusively human space. In my talks I will examine the contours of our shared life. I hope to show how our world is impoverished and our philosophical theories are distorted when we forget or downgrade the mindedness of animals.












Philosophical Economics: Discussion Group

Philosophical Economics: Discussion Group

The Newcastle Philosophy Society is pleased to announce the creation of a new discussion Group: Philosophical Economics. And our first event:

Topic: Do we know what Money is? (or Towards an Ontology of Money)

Venue: Room 1 – Good Space – Commercial Union House (Floor two).

Date: Monday 17th September.

Time: 18:30-20:30.

Cost: Free; but a small donation of £2 is requested from those who can afford it to recoup the charity’s (NPS) costs.


In the post-2008 world we need a philosophical discussion of economics. We are barred by those in academic institutions, or think tanks, from knowing the intricacies of our own world – and this needs to change. We aim to give any interested individual the opportunity to present and discuss difficult topics in a group of like-minded people, with a view to look at the social impacts of belief structures that guide our age. Therefore, this is an attempt to work on the social, psychological, ontological and epistemological theories present in economics – to derive a philosophy of our world as it presently is. We aim to give those who attend the opportunity to learn and debate the systems that guide our modern world, as well as the theories that drove economics to successive heights. These groups are designed to be open to all and will commence with a talk designed to promote discussion and engagement with the theory. It should be stressed that this group will be discussing the theory of economics, not its practice, and thus should operate more like a philosophy/arts/humanities discussion than a debate on scientific principles.

This group will also be tailored by those who regularly attend, thus the topic for a meeting will be set at the one directly prior. If there is something you would specifically like to see, please come along. We are also open to a wide range of people giving talks, thus if there is something you are knowledgeable about, or want the impetus to research for a discussion, come to a group and request it.

Potential Topics:

* What is the Homo Economicus/Rational Economic Man debate?

* Should Economics become a more Sociological Discipline?

* Is there a space for Ethics in Economics?

* Are there inherent ideologies in Economics?

* What does a crypto-currency mean for the modern world?

* Also talks are planned for specific economic thinkers: e.g. Friedman, Marx, Hayek, Smith, Sen, etc..

* We are also open to discuss how cannon philosophers interact with economics (e.g. Deleuze, Foucault, Kant, Hegel, Plato, etc.) or the impacts of certain texts on philosophy (Wealth of Nations, Capitalism and Freedom, Road to Serfdom, Das Kapital, etc.).

Future Events:

It will mostly run on the third Monday of every month – there might be variation though, so if one wants to attend in the future it would be advisable to reach out to the facilitator to join the email list.

Facilitator of group and contact details: Hannes Ingo Torbohm –

Dundee Philosophy talks

Our dear friends at Dundee have put on quite a show this coming year:

26.09. Lynn Turner (Goldsmith, University of London): In Lieu of Conclusion: Derrida’s Cardio-pedagogy and / in White God
30.10. Hynek Janousek (Charles University, Prague): The Charm of Hume’s Treatise: Husserl and Deleuze on Hume’s Transcendental Empiricism
07.11. Mladen Dolar (University of Ljubljana): Masterwords of Politics
08.11. Slavoj Žižek (The Birkbeck for the Humanities): Samuel Beckett’s Art of Abstraction
29.11. Laura Cull (University of Surrey): Opening the Circle, Toward a Radical Equality: Performance, Philosophy & Animals
05.12. Charlotte Alderwick (UWE Bristol): An Alternative Virtue Ethics

French Philosophy Conference, London, September 8th 2018

Day Conference on French Philosophy
Saturday September 8th 2018
Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London, WC1R 4RL

10.30 am       Sexual Desire in Scruton, Althusser, and Lacan

Alison Assiter

University of the West of England

11.45 am       Coffee

11.50 am       The Very Idea of a National Philosophy   (Accompanying sheet)

 Michael Lewis

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

1.15 pm        Lunch

2.00 pm         The Contribution of French Philosophy since World War 2 to Aesthetics

Jean-Baptiste Dussert

Ecole du Louvre, University of Paris-Sud,

Jean Monnet Faculty

3.15 pm        Tea

3.30 pm        The exemplary impatience of Emmanuel Levinas

Paul Davies

University of Sussex

5 pm               Close

Students and Unwaged – Free
Waged – £15 payable on the day
(includes tea and coffee throughout the day)
Organiser: Michael Bavidge (

Philosophy of Improvisation

Philosophy of Improvisation Workshop: The Aesthetics of Imperfection
6th-7th October 2018, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

A collaboration between academics, musicians and arts practitioners, this two-day workshop examines a central issue of creativity in music and other arts: improvisation and spontaneity.

The idea of an aesthetics of imperfection is explored by jazz and improvising musicians, interpreters and composers in Western and non-Western music – plus practitioners from other art forms.

The contrast is between process and product, the unfinished and finished work, spontaneity and structure. The workshop explores the compositional aspects of improvisation, and the improvisatory aspects of composition.

All are welcome – free entry on the door.

Full information:
For enquiries contact Samuel Horlor:
Organised by Andy Hamilton, Lara Pearson and Samuel Horlor for Durham University Department of Philosophy. Funded by Durham University, with the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music.
Sat 6th October: The Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre, NE1 1SG
Claire Zakiewicz (visual artist)
‘Struggle and Surrender: Process and Material in Painting’

Martin Mayes (improvising horn player and alphornist)
‘ “Stardust”: Seeing and Imagining What Isn’t There’

Corey Mwamba (improvising vibraphone player)
‘The Mistake as Material’

Elizabeth Baldwin Gray (architecture and design academic)
‘Architecture of Imperfection: Unfinished Sketches and the Sublime’

Annie Kloppenberg (theatre and dance academic)
‘Moving Principles and Principled Movements: Ethics and Embodiment in Dance Improvisation’

Graeme Wilson (free improv researcher and performer)
‘Cross Purposes: Imperfect Interactions When Improvising with Others’

Philip G. Robinson (author, editor, working gardener, and researcher)
‘Still Water Moves’

David Brown (improvising guitarist and composer)
‘Rarely Heard, Small Unwanted Sounds Form the Focus’

Dave Lloyd (rock guitarist and recording engineer)
‘Perfection and Authenticity: Editing Improvised Recordings’

Ilias Giannopoulos (music researcher)
‘Stockhausen’s Flexible Concept of the Musical Work: Between Improvisation and Composition’

Sun 7th October: Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle, NE1 1SE

Andy Hamilton (philosophy academic and jazz writer)
‘The Aesthetics of Imperfection Revisited’

Pak Yan Lau (improvising pianist)
‘The Aesthetics of Possibilities’

John Snijders (pianist and music researcher)
‘ “That’s Not Freedom, That’s Taking License”: The Pitfalls in Interpreting Morton Feldman’s Graphic Scores’

Adam Fairhall (improvising pianist)
‘The Instrumental Impulse: Developing an Improvisation Vocabulary for Unconventional Keyboard Instruments’

Chris Corsano (free improv drummer)
‘The Present Imperfect’

Joe McPhee (improvising multi-instrumentalist)
Interview with Andy Hamilton

Kiku Day (shakuhachi Japanese flute player)
‘Learning Music Aesthetics through Imperfection: The Transmission of Shakuhachi Music’

Nate Wooley (improvising trumpeter)
‘Built from the Root, Ever-changing at the Bloom: The role of Imperfection in the Processes of Musical Phonology, Morphology, and Syntax’

Mark Hanslip (improvising saxophonist)
‘Processes and Outcomes: Generative Systems for Improvised Music’

Otto Willberg (improvising bassist)
‘Evading Manipulation and Control: Playing with Perspectives’

Hannes Torbohm, this Saturday at the Newcastle Philosophy Society – on Money

Philosophical Explorations

Saturday 8 September 2018

Money’s Ontic – Part One: Monetarism and the Development of New Currencies” – Hannes Torbohm

When: Saturday 8 September 2018, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Please arrive a few minutes early for a prompt start at 10.30 am.

Where: The Literary & Philosophical Society (Lit & Phil), Lecture Room, 23 Westgate Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE.

Whilst in general our meetings will be held at the Lit & Phil (with a few exceptions), the room itself within the building will switch between the Lecture Room, the Loftus Room, the Small Meeting Room, and occasionally, the Reference (aka Silence) Room.


In the post-2008 world we have seen a resurgence of scholarship purporting to discuss the existential situation of the modern human in an economic reality, at the same time we have seen a great development of technology in the fields of digital monies. However, so many of these scholars – be them neo-Marxists, Monetarists or avid Crypto-Traders – fail to consider what money is. Furthermore, this discrepancy becomes more problematic when their world views are built upon presuppositions, which are inherent to their understanding of money’s ontology. We will run two talks on this topic: which will both be 20-30 minute primers to the NPS Philosophical Explorations group and are aimed at beginners and people who have a general interest alike.

This talk aims to discuss monetarism and the developments from monetarist theory: specifically: a key monetarist (Friedman) and the development of a new currency (bitcoin) from this theory. This will instigate a discussion on the political and economic philosophy of the post Thatcher/Reagan governments. The talk will discuss what money is, what effects it has, and how it slots into a wider world-view.

It should be noted that this talk is not aiming at economic science, but rather economic philosophy. On top of this a deep/theoretical talk about bitcoin is not our aim and will be considered off topic if it arises.”


Contribution towards room hire

A contribution of £2 is requested, for those attendees who can afford it, to cover the room hire costs.

Reading for the session

A note on the reading: The talk will build and explore the ‘highly recommended reading’, and thus it is crucial you get to it in some capacity. The ‘additional readings’ go into more depth for the Crypto-Currencies, but I understand that setting 60 plus pages of reading would be considered too much. If you do fail to have the time and would like to come along anyway please do, but I would greatly appreciate at least having read the chapter by Friedman at very least.

These texts are copyrighted but they are being shared under educational leniency – as the copyrighted material fulfils both the requirements of being less than 10% and only is one section: plus, it includes the copyright of the publishers if one would wish to dispute. The links to papers are open to the public, copyright is thus not a problem for promoting distribution channels.

Highly Recommended Reading:

Milton Friedman Capitalism and Freedom: (Chapter 3 only)


o    (Contact me if the link does not work)

o    If you are struggling for time just read the second section of the chapter (entitled: A Commodity Standard) – but I really would prefer if people read the whole thing.

Additional Reading:

·         Satoshi Nakamoto’s White Paper: (the Intro, §’s 1, 5, 10 and 12/conclusion (about 1 A4 page in total))


o    I am aware their language might be difficult, which is why I recommended specific sections – leave the rest, it is not necessary bar what I will mention and explain in the talk.

·         Nick Szabo:


o    This one is long, which is why I put it in recommended, but I will be responding to his claims on money when I talk about crypto-currencies and post-monetarist developments.

A note about the speaker, Hannes Torbohm: I am a second/third year undergraduate at Newcastle University in the Philosophy department. I have been recognised by academic bodies for my work in economic sociology and my critiques of monetary theory. I am also running the newly founded Philosophical Economics group running from September 17th, with the funding and support of the NPS board. I should also clarify that I have no formal training in economics, but have spent the majority of my time as an undergraduate studying economic theories and related philosophies. I am not going into the realms of economic science, but rather wish to promote scholarship from outside the realms of economic departments into what we should think of money, and how it affects our lives.

Part two will a review of economic sociology and Georg Simmel (dates to be announced soon).

Unsubscribe from this mailing list

Please send an email with the subject line ‘Unsubscribe’ to

French Philosophy Conference, this weekend, London

Dear All,
Just to let you know about a conference on French Philosophy that’s happening in London on September 8th 2018. It’s being organised by the Philosophical Society of England, a society devoted to bringing philosophy to an audience beyond the walls of the University, and Newcastle University.
           The idea, in this case, is to introduce members of the public (and, of course, this includes students and anyone else who is interested) to a certain tradition in philosophy that they might not otherwise have had a chance to encounter, so the talks will aim to be very accessible, and to introduce certain strands and thinkers within the French tradition.
           Please contact the organiser, Michael Bavidge, to register your interest in attending. Details follow:


Day Conference on French Philosophy
Saturday September 8th 2018
Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London, WC1R 4RL


10.00 am       Coffee


10.30 am       Sexual Desire in Scruton, Althusser, and Lacan

Alison Assiter

University of the West of England

11.45 am       Coffee

11.50 am       The Very Idea of a National Philosophy

                     Michael Lewis

University of Newcastle

1.15 pm        Lunch

2.00 pm         The Contribution of French Philosophy since World War 2 to Aesthetics

Jean-Baptiste Dussert

Ecole du Louvre, University of Paris-Sud,

Jean Monnet Faculty

3.15 pm        Tea

3.30 pm        The exemplary impatience of Emmanuel Levinas

Paul Davies

University of Sussex

5 pm               Close


Students and Unwaged – Free
Waged – £15 payable on the day
(includes tea and coffee throughout the day)
Organiser: Michael Bavidge (