The next meeting of Talking Allowed in Leeds is on Monday, February 11th, at 1.45pm in Veritas Bar.

Ian will introduce a discussion on “Cults and Conspiracies.”

Is it possible for groups to hold unorthodox or unfashionable views without creating a cult? Can one have suspicions about the motives of the rich and powerful without subscribing to fanciful conspiracy theories? What connect cults with conspiracies?


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

Our topic is “Nationalism v. patriotism.”

Emmanuel Macron, in November, said in a speech, “Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism”. What did he mean, and do we agree?

Discussions are at The Sportsman, an excellent real ale pub at 1 St. John’s Road, at 7pm-9pm on the first Monday in the month, apart from the Bank Holiday in May.

January 7th. What did the Sixties protests, riots, assassinations and counter-cultures achieve?

February 4th. What won’t computers ever be able to do?

March 4th. How can you protect yourself from crooked thinking and learn to think straight? (Robert Thouless’s book).

April 1st. How can you practice philosophy as a way of life? (Following from the debate/discussion at the PIPs National Conference 2018).

May 13th. Can socialism be re-created to succeed in the 21st century?

June 3rd. What are our ‘selves’ – brains, regenerating bodies, social constructions, souls – or something else?

July 1st. Priests and politicians claim to be virtuous. How are they virtuous and how should they be virtuous?

August 5th. What kinds of jobs are the ‘bullshit jobs’ which could be removed or perhaps replaced by a computer system, with little negative impact? (David Graeber’s book 2018).

September 2nd. How can we achieve happiness?

October 7th. What is good, or bad, about the surveillance and punishment of what some people say on social media and elsewhere?

November 4th. Jeremy Bentham (1824) wrote wittily about fictions and fallacies based on what he learned when studying the House of Commons. What are the most entertaining fictions and fallacies today?

December 2nd. What is literature? Should Bob Dylan have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature?

The next meeting of Talking Allowed in Leeds is on Monday 10th of December at 1.45pm. The venue is Veritas, Great George Street, Leeds.

At this time of year we can’t book the small room at the back of the pub and have to find space in the main bar. So instead of our usual discussion we review the past year and make our plans for future meetings.

If you have a topic you would like to introduce, come and share your idea with us. Or just come and be sociable at this last meeting of the year.

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

In her novel “North and South”, Elizabeth Gaskell contrasted the industrial revolution and poverty in the north of England with the tranquillity and prosperity of the rural south. An economic and cultural divide still exists between north and south but what has changed and what remains the same? What is your experience of the difference? How much is reality and how much perception?

We will also review this year’s TAiL discussions and make plans for next year.

The topic for discussion is “Work Experience”. The leader of the TUC believes that a four-day working week could come about in “this century”. Is this possible or even desirable?

In 1930 Keynes predicted a 15 hour week but this has proved elusive. Is a shorter working week economically feasible? What does it mean for those in part-time work or on zero hours contracts? And what if it is work that provides structure and meaning to people’s lives?

Tell us about your experience of employment. (Or unemployment.)

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

Last month we discussed the argument put forward by W.K. Clifford that our beliefs must be backed up by reason and evidence. It is not enough, he says, to rely on inner certainty, dogma or received wisdom.

For September’s meeting we will continue the discussion by looking at the other parts of Clifford’s text: how do we judge the views of experts and authorities, and is it acceptable to use inference to back up our beliefs.

Gifford summarises his views as follows:-

  • We may believe what goes beyond our experience, only when it is inferred from that experience by the assumption that what we do not know is like what we know.
  • We may believe the statement of another person, when there is reasonable ground for supposing that he knows the matter of which he speaks, and that he is speaking the truth so far as he knows it.
  • It is wrong in all cases to believe on insufficient evidence; and where it is presumption to doubt and to investigate, there it is worse than presumption to believe.

The full text of “The Ethics of Belief” can be found here: