TAiL Meeting October 2019

The next meeting of Talking Allowed in Leeds is on Monday, October 14th, at 1.45pm in Veritas Bar.

We will consider the question of “Science vs Religion”.

Richard Dawkins has published a new book in which he attacks creationism and other literal interpretations of religious texts. He criticises these views as unscientific. But is he right to extend this  critique to religion more generally and to religious education in schools?

Alternatively, science claims to be neutral and objective. Does this exclude questions of ethics and morals, which might be seen as the concerns of religion?


TAiL Meeting September 2019

The next meeting of Talking Allowed in Leeds is on Monday, September 9th, at 1.45pm in Veritas Bar.

We will look at the poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Masque of Anarchy”.

Written in 1819 in response to the Peterloo Massacre of that year, the poem was only published in 1832. It is a biting critique of the social conditions of the time and a call for change through mass action. It remains a point of reference for left wing politicians but does it still have relevance for today?

The text of Shelley’s poem is attached and here is the analysis of John Mullan:

Masque of Anarchy.doc

Masque Title Page

Philosophy and Film

On Thursday 15 Aug 2019 at 8:30pm, Hyde Park Picture House is showing Moon as part of its series Philosophy and Film.

Ten years after its release, Duncan Jones’ phenomenal debut returns to the big screen – as impressive and thought-provoking as ever. Moon follows the story of Sam, a solitary worker on a lunar mine, counting down the days until he returns to earth and is reunited with his family. However after a serious accident Sam soon discovers he is not alone, causing him to question his sanity, his past and his very existence.

Following the film, Dr Joe Saunders (Durham University) will provide a short talk exploring philosophical themes within the film, as well as exploring the way space is depicted on the big screen.

TAiL Meeting August 2019

The next meeting of Talking Allowed in Leeds is on Monday, August 12th, at 1.45pm in Veritas Bar.

Derrick will introduce a discussion on “Who Owns England”.

Guy Shrubsole – lives in Berkshire a county in which 44,000 people own just 2.4% of the land and just thirty individuals and organisations own 44% of the county. Presumably a substantial proportion of the remaining 60% own nothing and are in rented accommodation. A pattern of ownership typical of the country as a whole.

What are the pros and cons of this inequality and who are the owners of the land?  Notes

Futher reading: Who Owns England?: How We Lost Our Green and Pleasant Land, and How to Take It Back by Guy Shrubsole

Reviewed here.

TAiL Meeting July 2019

The next meeting of Talking Allowed in Leeds is on Monday, July 8th, at 1.45pm in Veritas Bar.

The topic for discussion is “Anniversaries”.

Fifty years ago a man set foot on the Moon. Seventy five years ago Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. One hundred years ago women in Britain were enabled to vote. Two hundred years ago, in Manchester, peaceful protesters were killed while demanding the vote. All of these events have been celebrated, in film and on the stage and in ceremonial gatherings. But which events are selected for commemoration and by whom? Do anniversaries expand our knowledge of history or limit it? What historical or personal event would you choose to remember?

TAiL Meeting June 2019

The next meeting of Talking Allowed in Leeds is on Monday, June 10th, at 1.45pm in Veritas Bar.

Following on from the Headingley Festival of Ideas and in particular John Douglas’s introduction to a discussion on borders and nation states we will consider the prospects for “Western liberal democracies”.

In the 90’s Francis Fukuyama in “The End of History and the Last Man” claimed that this model had no competitors and was the historically discovered form of government. Now the existing liberal democracies are threatened by independence movements like those in Scotland, Catalonia and Ukraine. Institutions such as a free press, an independent judiciary, separation of powers and representative democracy are under assault from right wing populists. The Western form of government has proved difficult to export through regime change in Iraq and Libya and unsustainable in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

Meanwhile borders are again in the news: the Irish border, the border between Mexico and the US and the external border of the EU as well  as those between EU states. The Dutch historian Rutger Bregman has offered a radically different take on the problem in “Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There” . He suggests that borders should be removed alongside the introduction of a universal income and a 15 hour working week.

John Douglas

Headingley Festival Of Ideas

Next week the Headingley Festival of Ideas features two meetings of interest.

On Wednesday the 22nd of May, a meeting of THINK, the Headingley PIPs group, is called “A Focus on Veganism”. Pauline will ask,  ‘What boundaries do we set ourselves on what we are prepared to eat?’.
This will be held in Heart cafe from 7pm to 9pm

On Friday the 24th of May, John Douglas will give a talk on “Memory, Amnesia and Nation States”. John will explore three approaches to nation states and their borders – the realist, idealist and critical; providing the basis for a participatory and lively discussion.
The venue is the New Headingley Club, 7.30pm to 9pm.

Festival of Ideas

TAiL Meting May 2019

The next meeting of Talking Allowed in Leeds is on Monday, May 13th, at 1.45pm in Veritas Bar.

The topic is “The Gender Question”.

While in our society there is the acceptance of same-sex relationships and few roles are considered to be exclusively male or female, the issue of gender identity is still in dispute. The attached text sets out the background and some of the questions which are raised.

Gender – Its Meaning and Future.doc

TAiL Meeting April 2019

The next meeting of Talking Allowed in Leeds is on Monday, April 8th, at 1.45pm in Veritas Bar.

We are looking at the ways in which discussions and debates often lead to polarisation and deadlock instead of agreement and resolution.

Putting aside fake news and alternative facts, we will try and identify the rhetorical tricks, dodgy analogies and errors in logic which frustrate reasoned argument.

A popular introduction to this subject is “Straight and Crooked Thinking” by Robert Thouless. The full text is available on line. An edition updated by C.R. Thouless (his grandson) is in print.


This site deals with the related topic of fallacies: http://www.fallacyfiles.org