Our goal is to add momentum to the North-East's philosophical and cultural scene by running events and attracting speakers to the region, as well as one-off events in other parts of the country.

For past events, click here

Tuesday 25th September

Diana Coole: Should We Control World Population?

Christopher Bertram: Do States Have the Right to Exclude Immigrants?

Christopher Finlay: Is Just War Possible?

A political theory special featuring talks by Diana Coole (Birkbeck, University of London), Christopher Bertram (University of Bristol), and Christopher Finlay (Durham University) on population, immigration and war. Their new books are all published by Polity (

Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Event Details

Saturday 29th September

The Art of Reason: Curiosity, Creativity, Mystery

From understanding to explaining, from recognizing to interpreting, from noting connections and law-like behaviours to uncovering fundamental realities and general truths, the human sense-making capacity is truly remarkable!

The Great Debate celebrates its 20th birthday this year, and as part of our celebrations Bigg Books has teamed up with them as well as three other local organizations (the North-East Humanists, the Newcastle Philosophy Society and the PSE) for a special one-off day-long event dedicated to exploring the uniquely human gift of reason and rationality in all its various forms.

We are absolutely delighted to welcome two of the UK's leading philosophers to the North-East to help us facilitate a day of lively discussion and debate, to encourage critical thinking and a willingness to challenge current orthodoxies.

Timothy Williamson is a top professor of philosophy at Oxford University and his latest book. Doing Philosophy: From Common Curiosity to Logical Reasoning ( is a highly accessible overview of what philosophers are up to when they do philosophy.

Raymond Tallis is author of over 30 books and his latest book Logos: The Mystery of How We Make Sense of the World ( is a compelling exploration of the nature and scope of human reason. Join us for talks, discussions, debates, philosophical bingo, philosophy book stall, and much more!

For more details, visit or

This event is open to everyone and no previous knowledge of philosophy is required.

Talks, discussions, debates, philosophy book stall, prizes, philosophical bingo...

Venue: The Black Swan, 67 Westgate Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 1SG.

Sat 29th September 2018, 10am to 5pm.

Tickets: £15 including lunch, tea and coffee (£10 for students/unwaged). Advance tickets are available through Eventbrite (

Event Details

Tuesday 9th October

Emily Thomas : Does the Future Exist?

Emily Thomas is an Assistant Professor in Philosophy at Durham University. She has written on space and time in the history of philosophy, from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, as well as other issues in metaphysics, including substance, change, idealism, process, identity, and God. In 2016 she was shortlisted for the BBC New Generation of Thinkers competition. She is currently engaged in a new project on early twentieth century metaphysics of time. Does the present moment move? Is the future real? Does time have a direction? Why did philosophers become worried about these questions?

Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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Tuesday 23rd October

Carl Cederstrom: The Happiness Fantasy

Carl Cederstrom is Assistant Professor at Stockholm University. He will be tracing our present-day conception of happiness from its roots in early-twentieth-century European psychiatry, to the Beat generation, to Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. He argues that happiness is now defined by a desire to be "authentic", to experience physical pleasure, and to cultivate a quirky individuality. But over the last fifty years, these once-revolutionary ideas have been co-opted by corporations and advertisers, pushing us to live lives that are increasingly unfulfilling, insecure and narcissistic.

In an age of increasing austerity and social division, Cederstrom will argue that a radical new dream of happiness is gathering pace. There is a vision of the good life which promotes deeper engagement with the world and our place within it, over the individualism and hedonism of previous generations. Guided by this more egalitarian worldview, we can reinvent ourselves and our societies.

Carl Cederstrom's new book, The Happiness Fantasy, is published in October by Polity (

Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Event Details

Tuesday 6th November

Brian O'Connor: Idleness as Freedom

Brian O'Connor is Professor of Philosophy at University College, Dublin. For millennia, idleness and laziness have been regarded as vices. We're all expected to work to survive and get ahead, and devoting energy to anything but labor and self-improvement can seem like a luxury or a moral failure. Far from questioning this conventional wisdom, modern philosophers have worked hard to develop new reasons to denigrate idleness. O'Connor will argue that the case against an indifference to work and effort is flawed, and that idle aimlessness may instead allow for the highest form of freedom.

Brian O'Connor's new book, Idleness: A Philosophical Essay is published by Princeton University Press (

Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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Tuesday 20th November

Clare Chambers: Against Marriage

Clare Chambers is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at University of Cambridge. She is a political philosopher specializing in feminist philosophy, contemporary liberalism, theories of social justice, and social construction. She will argue for the abolition of state-recognised marriage on the grounds that it violates both equality and liberty, even when expanded to include same-sex couples. Instead she will defend the idea of a the marriage-free state: an egalitarian state in which religious or secular marriages are permitted but have no legal status.

Clare Chambers's award-winning book Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defense of the Marriage-Free State was published last year by Oxford University Press (

Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Event Details

Thursday 6th December

Sarah Richmond: Sartre in the 21st Century

Sarah Richmond is Professor of Philosophy at University College, London. She specializes in existentialism and the work of Jean-Paul Sartre and has recently completed a highly acclaimed translation of Sartre's masterpiece Being and Nothingness, the first in 60 years ( She will be discussing the relevance of Sartre and his magnum opus as we negotiate our way through the 21st century.

Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Event Details