THE COMMON INTEREST: THEN AND NOW Bernard Burgoyne
Focussing on the inter-related work of J.S. Mill, Freud and Grote, the author argues that beneficial social change and scientific progress arise from the challenging of existing opinion, and a subsequent shift in outlook. The process of challenging is called negative dialectics, and is epitomised in the thinking of Socrates. However, because the process is very demanding intellectually, it is never popular with the majority of people. Abstract by Tom Rubens.
A PORTRAIT OF THE ANDROGYNOUS ARTIST: CREATIVITY BEYOND CATHOLICISM, theatrical review by Suzette Henke
A richly and colourfully detailed account of a stage adaptation of James Joyce’s novel, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” The adaptation, by Irish playwright Tom Neill, consists of selecting certain elements of the original text and embellishing them in various ways.
THE VALUE AND VALUES OF SCIENCE Imran Khan
Scientific achievement under-pins much of modern life, but the extent to which the public actually values science is open to question. In Britain, scientific considerations are often over-ruled by political ones. Science can be valued as, among other things, one of the highest forms of cultural activity, because it is independent of dogma and committed to objectivity and rationality. This commitment is frequently connected with efforts at social improvement: a fact which should create greater public interest in it, and more political support for it. Abstract by Tom Rubens.
VIEWPOINTS: Harry Stopes-Roe, Barbara Smoker, Sue Mayer, Jennifer R. Jeynes
THE WIT OF GORE VIDAL (1926 – 2012) Jennifer R. Jeynes
THE SUNDAY CONCERTS FROM 1887 – 125 YEARS ON Giles Enders
A brief but most interesting history of the Sunday Concerts, which are the longest running concert series in Europe, if not the world. They were begun in 1887, when SPES took over management of a concert programme previously organised by the People’s Concert Society. Conway Hall (opened in 1929) was built specifically to house the concerts; its main hall has one of the best acoustics in Britain. The concerts remain among the cheapest-priced in London, and are perhaps the best way to hear classical music performed by first-rate musicians.
SCHOPENHAUER AND CHARACTER-DETERMINISM Tom Rubens
A detailed exposition and critique of Schopenhauer’s view that a person’s character is innate and unalterable; and that character is constituted by patterns of willing. Focus is placed on his contentions that we do not will or choose what to will, and that our voluntary wishes and actions are character-caused. However, Schopenhauer is criticised for insufficiently viewing will-patterns in relation to specific social and cultural contexts, and for under-estimating the individual’s moral capacity–seen as an aspect of character–for self-improvement. At the same time, it is acknowledged that he makes a very important point when he argues that the thoroughly vicious man lacks the capacity for self-reform. Abstract by Tom Rubens.
CHRISTOPHER HAMPTON (1929 – 2012) Dinah Livingstone
Christopher was a musician, poet and teacher ( the latter in higher and further education). Also, he was active on the political Left. He published books on history, socialism and literary criticism, plus four volumes of poetry. He was always noted for his earnestness, generosity, and interest in other people’s work. He is survived by his wife, daughter and grandson.
ETHICAL SOCIETY EVENTS