Philosophy articles

Philosophy group articles

Group report

This is an article published in the Spring 2017 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter...

During 2016 we have been somewhat distracted by world events (Brexit and the election of Donald Trump). Being a naturally very lively group, it has been quite a challenge to stick to philosophy rather than give voice to opinions on what has caused these events. Our meetings are always a couple of discussion sessions, separated by coffee and cake, and since we all have the idea of following lines of thought suggested by group members rather than following a fixed course of enquiry, we often find ourselves trying to understand current issues through 'philosophical' enquiry. In practice this just means members suggest ideas which they think might throw light on the subject.

However we proceed, the result seems to be regularly attended meetings our numbers can just about fit into our sitting room, and if someone wants to try us out we seem to be able to squeeze them in. Besides Brexit and Trump, this year we have looked at Utilitarianism (the theory that things should be valued for their usefulness), The Rational Individual (do people always act entirely rationally?), and the idea of Freedom. We have tried to find out the effects of immigration (good or bad), and considered what elements are needed to call a movement a religion as opposed to a cult or ideology.

This year, I suspect events will suggest more topics about which we will have ideas to express, but our next meeting is going to be around the changing positions of women in our society and in others. Heroically this is going to be started off by a man, should be fun! Who would think philosophy could be fun? Only on Hayling!

Mike Silvester