Winter - Spring 2021 Programme

In the first term of 2021 we shall be discussing Michael Sandel's new book The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good? Allen Lane (2020).

Initially, at least, we shall be meeting on Zoom.

Our programme (as of 05/01/21) is below: -

Winter - Spring 2021 Programme
Date Author Chapter Led BY

6 January

Sandel Introduction & Ch 1 Winners & Losers Renny
13 January Sandel Ch 2 'Great Because Good' a Brief Moral History of Merit Simon
20 January Sandel Ch 3 The Rhetoric of Rising Pamela
27 January Sandel Ch 4 Credentialism - the Last Acceptable Prejudice Anita

3 February

Sandel Ch 5 Success Ethics Judy
10 February Sandel Ch 6 The Sorting Machine Barbara
17 February Sandel Ch 7 Recognizing Work & Conclusion: Merit and the Common Good Steve
24 February To Be Arranged To Be Arranged Pat
3 March To Be Arranged To Be Arranged tba
10 March To Be Arranged To Be Arranged Dee

The Philosophy Workshop in December 2016:-

Philosophy Group 2016 (2)


What We Have Studied

When Author Topic Led By Comments
2006 - 2007 Hayakawa Language in Thought and Action Peter Jones This stimulating text on semantics was used by Peter to introduce his own slant on Philosophy.
2008 Jayne Waterworth A Philosophical Analysis of Hope Jayne Colvin Led by the author!
2008-9 Ray Billington Living Philosophy Peter Stevenson. Lively text with ethical  slant
2008-9 Nigel Warburton Philosophy: the Classics Peter Stevenson. Useful overview of the classic texts
2009-10 Gordon Graham Eight Theories of Ethics Group Effort Excellent treatment of Ethics
2010 Mary Warnock Women Philosophers Group Effort Earlier extracts were tough but we got a lot out of the book
2011 John Hosper Introduction to Philosophical Analysis Group Effort Was our least favourite text until Hartman (below).
2011/12 Michael J Sandel Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? Group Effort

We watched the Harvard lectures from the internet & read the book - highly recommended.

2011/12 Plato Republic Jayne Colvin By a beginners group
2011/12 John Stuart Mill On Liberty Jayne Colvin By a beginners group
2011/12 Jayne Wateridge A Philosophical Analysis of Hope. Jayne Colvin By a beginners group
2012 Johnathan Wolff Ethics and Public Policy Group Effort Good linkeage of philosophy to current politics and ethics


Bryan Magee Talking Philosophy Group Effort We watched some programmes of the BBC series Men of Ideas on which the book is based
2013 Ronald Dworkin Sovereign Virtue Group Effort We gave up on this - good stuff but too densely written for a group like us
2013/14 Scott M James An Introduction to Evolutionary Ethics Group Effort Good beginners guide to the philosopical implications of evolutionary psycholgy
2014 Aristotle Nichomachean Ethics Group Effort Surprisingly readable - we recommend Penguin 2nd ed.
2014/5 Contemporary Philosophers Overview of Individual Authors Group Effort Stimulating Variety
2015 Edward Feser Philosophy of Mind Group Effort Tough going - but we enjoyed it!
2015/6 Nicholas Fearn Zeno and the Tortoise Group Effort Lively selection of topics illustrating different philosophical methods
2016 Peter Singer (ed.) Applied Ethics Group Effort Stimulating collection of classic articles on Ethics - recommended
2016/17 Victoria Harrison Eastern Philosophy: the Basics Group Efffort We enjoyed this excellent introduction to Eastern Philosophy
2017 Vicent Geoghan & Rick Wiford (eds.) Political Ideologies Group Effort Good Introduction to the topic.
2016/7 Naomi Scheman Engenderings Jayne Colvin We enjoyed discussing feminist philosophy over lunch, but in places knowledge was assumed in the text we did not have.
2017 Kwame Anthony Apiah Mistaken Identities Group Effort We listened to, and discussed the 2016 Reith Lectures
2017 A H Basson David Hume Group effort We found Hume stimulating but preferred the Stanford Encyclopaedia articles on Hume to Basson's book.
2017/19 Stephen Cahn & Christine Vitrano (eds.) Happiness: Classic & Contemporary Readings in Philosophy Jayne Colvin Generating some lively discussions. Recommended.
2017/8 Julian Baggini

Ethics: the Big Questions Paperback Title: Without God Is Everything Permitted?

Group Effort We didn't always agree with Julian but found his essays stimulated some great discussions.
2018 Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince Group Effort Still very relevant in the C21st.
2018/9 Ralph A Hartman Philosophies of Language and Linguistics Group Effort Interesting topic and discussions but we do not recommend the book.
2019 David Benatar The Human Predicament Group Effort A pessimistic look at life which generated very lively discussions.
Summer 2019 Jonathan Sumption 2019 Reith Lectures Group Effort Discussion of the 2019 Reith Lectures on Law, Politics and Constitutions
2019 Thomas Hurka The Best Things in Life Group Effort A more optimistic look at some of the basic things in life which contrasted well with Benatar's approach
2019 Nigel Warburton Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction Group Effort Thoughtful introduction to a key contemporary issue.
2020 Seneca (ed. Campbell) Letters From A Stoic Group Effort Very readable, insight into Roman life & relevant to today
2020 Massimo Pugliucci et al. How To Live A Good Life: A Guide To Choosing Your Personal Philosophy  Group Effort Practitioners of 13 personal philosophies / religions tells us what and why they believe. Generated good discussions. A rather American and conservative selection. Little on how to choose, despite sub-title!
2020 Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet) Candide or Optimism Group Effort A brief literary excursion
2020 Hubert Drefus & Sean Dorrance Kelly All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age Group Effort A longer literary excursion from Homer to Moby Dick focussing on the alleged Nihilism of modern times
If only we could remember all this, how well-informed - possibly even wise - we would be!      
In addition, in most summers in recent years, we have discussed a selection of philosophical podcasts from the Philosophy Bites web site - which we recommend.      

Philosophy Group News

One Article

More Changes to U3A Poole Philosophy Workshop schedule are on this site - the latest substantial change was on 13th. December. The schedule is subject to amendment and is frequently revised.

From January we have decided to discuss Michael Sandel's new (2020) book The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?, (Alan Lane)

Please check on this site to ensure you have the latest version.

For most of 2020 we have been meeting virtually on Zoom. This will continue in early 2021.

Philosophy Links

Listing Links 1 to 10 of 12

Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
My first port of call for introductory articles on philosophers and philosophical topics
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
High quality articles on philosophers and philosophical subjects.
400+ Free Philosophy Resources on the Web
The most useful guide to web resources for beginning Philosophy students I have found.
Philosophy Podcasts
Excellent Listing - also includes ideas more generally
Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg makes available for free on-line almost all philosophical texts which are out of copyright- and many many other books on all topics.
Ask Philosophers
91 Professional Philosophers answer a host of questions
Squashed Philosophers
Abbreviated versions of many classic texts - usually readable in c. 1 hour!
History of Philosophy
Peter Adamson's 'History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps' - 20 minute talks. Added to regularly and has now (December 2020) a very wide coverage including Philosophy in Classical India, Greece & Rome, Later Antiquity and Medieval & Renaissance Europe as well as Islamic, Jewish, Precolonial African & Afro-American Philosophy.
Justice Lectures
Michael Sandel's excellent free course on Justice with Readings and Discussion Guides.
Philosophy Bites
Short interviews with contemporary philosophers.
Please let me know of any sites which would be particularly useful for beginning Philosophy students using the feedback page.

See also Politics Links on other pages

Article Listing

One Article

The most recent pages on the site commemorate the life of Sue Tansey and describe Free Attractions in Dorset. Please let me have any suggestion for further content.