Vol. 116 No. 7

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Theatre review: EMPEROR AND GALILEAN Tom Rubens
This is a review of Ibsen’s play of the above name. Commentary focuses on the play’s intellectual and philosophical content: its exploration of pagan-classical moral values and those of Christianity. In this regard, a comparison is made between Ibsen and Nietzsche. But comments are also made on the play’s geographical scope, its use of visual effects and stage-space, and the fineness of the acting.

THE BRITISH ENLIGHTENMENT DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY Jim Herrick
A richly detailed account of the period. Intellectual developments are seen in relation to their social and political contexts. Figures examined range from Newton and Locke to Hume and Gibbon, with reference also to less prominent but still important figures. Locke and Hume were leading empiricists, while Hume and Gibbon were notable for their divergence from religious orthodoxy. It is pointed out that, while there was major intellectual advance and a growth in social flexibility, there was little political progress in the fields of parliamentary democracy and human rights. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

OBITUARY – PROFESSOR RICHARD S. SCORER (1920 – 2011) Norman Bacrac
Professor Scorer lectured in Applied Mathematics at Imperial College, London. Also, he was for many years an Appointed Lecturer at SPES, where he delivered many talks, on a wide range of subjects, during the 1980s and 90s.

A CHILD OF TWO ATHEISTS – VIRGINIA WOOLF’S HUMANISM Sybil Oldfield
A very moving account of the various aspects of Virginia Woolf’s humanism, which was deeply influenced by that of both her parents, and especially of her father–the author Leslie Stephen. The negative aspect of her outlook focussed on what she saw as the godless, indifferent and value-void character of the universe in which human beings were precariously situated. The positive aspect concentrated on the human capacities for creativity, love, making the most of the present moment, and valuing the past. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

VIEWPOINTS: John Edmondson; Dorothy Forsyth

UNDERSTANDING GRAMMAR A FIRM BASIS OF RESPECT FOR OTHERS Nicholas Ostler
In Europe prior to the 16th century, non-European languages were thought to be grammar-less and therefore inferior. But subsequently, as a result of Europe’s global exploration, it came to be realised that all languages have grammars, and are therefore all equally worthy of respect and study. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

MY HUMANIST VERSE Jay Marcham

MARXISM 2011 Tom Rubens
A many-sided view of the political event organised annually in London by the Socialist Workers Party. Praise is given for the extensive information on current economic developments which the event provides. But criticism is made of the tendency to view modern society too much in terms of its economic system, and too little in terms of its social and cultural variety and complexity: things which are only partly, or not at all, amenable to economic explanation.

ETHICAL SOCIETY EVENTS

 

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