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In 2014, Thinking on Sunday was launched as a new series of events. These interesting and stimulating sessions have a talk or presentation followed by Q&A, debate and discussion. The speakers are experts in their field, and/or have a passion for subject. Especially popular with our ethical society members, Thinking on Sunday is open to the public and promises to motivate and nourish the mind!

December 2017

Dr Henry Marsh, renowned for his outstanding contributions as a leading neurosurgeon and also for his bold and highly regarded commentaries and writings on the NHS will address this critical question head-on, providing insights into the future for our health service.

In the nineteenth century positivism was founded by August Comte (1798-1857) as a challenge to what he saw as obscurantist ways of thinking. IT saw that the natural sciences could be use as a model for how we understand society: thus sociology was born. This talk from Fabian Tompsett will…

January 2018
Evidence-Based Policing

Evidence-Based Policing is the use of the best available research to inform police policy and practice. It is a systematic method to determine “what works” (and what doesn’t) to improve policing, crime reduction and to protect the public. In this talk, Richard Honess will explain how the concept of Evidence-Based…

Physicalism debate - radio telescope

Ian Buxton and Raymond Tallis debate Physicalism: the thesis that nothing other than physical laws are needed to account for everything in the universe and that all physical laws can be discovered by scientific means.

Is the Universe a simulation?

This talk from Bill Turner will explain in an easy to understand way “The Simulation Argument’ by Nick Bostrom (Oxford University) which is an argument to say that we are probably living in a computer simulation.

February 2018

Vladimir Dirsh will illustrate (with examples from history) the thesis that continuous historical progress is an illusion, although certain advances are never lost for ever.

Thinking on Sunday: Wisdom and Cleverness

Speaker Ralph Blumenau contends that “Much contemporary philosophy is merely clever but does little to advance human welfare.”

John Rawls

Sam Fremantle‘s talk on “Contractualism, Liberalism and Utilitarianism” will be about how John Rawls, in A Theory of Justice, set out to provide a more robust foundation for liberal rights than that provided by the utilitarian liberalism of John Stuart Mill.

Free Will and Moral Responsibility

The talk from Robert Lockie will address some classic issues in the determinism/free-will/moral responsibility debates. It concerns the relationship between free will, determinism-indeterminism and moral responsibility. We will ask whether moral responsibility is compatible with any position on determinism/indeterminism – whether moral responsibility is even possible.

March 2018
Plasma Ball - electromagnetism

Dr Peter Ford MBE asks: Is there any other form of intelligent life out there?


Democracy, like all powerful terms, is a slippery word to get a grip on. What is the essence of democracy? What are the ideals? Brett Hennig will take us on a voyage back in time through democracy’s intriguing and complicated history to explore these questions and discover how we got to where we are.

Fake Information

Thomas Jefferson once observed that “information is the currency of democracy.” If this is right, what happens when that currency is corrupted by bad information — alternative facts, fake news, conspiracy theories and pseudo-science? This is the question that Mike Flood will pose in this talk.

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