This event has already taken place.
Host: University of London
Location: Beveridge Hall, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Speaker: Richard Campanaro, Dr Sarah Rauchas, Professor Ken Gemes, Dr Sarah Barnsley, Dr Sarah Ansari
From Nihilism to Gandhi, with Alan Turing and Frankenstein in between, London's university luminaries bring you seven short lectures to inspire and excite.
This event is free but registration is required.
Timetable of Events
4.00 – 4.50pm: Opportunity for individual meetings to find out more about University of London degrees available by distance learning.
4.50 – 5.00pm: Introduction to the University of London International Programmes and our taster lectures.
5.00 – 5.15pm: Three little words: country, nation, state
Mr. Richard Campanaro – Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science
How to think about what you read, hear, and see on the news. How we often make life difficult for ourselves by confusing countries, nations, and states – three little words with big meanings. A quick and amusing romp through the world of international relations.
5.15 – 5.30pm: Gift of fire: why computer scientists need philosophers
Dr Sarah Rauchas – Programme Director, Combined Degree Scheme, Goldsmiths, University of London
From the first beginnings of computing machines, where logic (as developed by Philosophers such as Aristotle as well as the Stoics) underpins everything regarding how they successfully work, to the modern day and applications of computer technology in the workplace and even on Facebook. Where issues such as privacy and ethics are paramount, computer scientists have turned to concepts from philosophy to do their work better. Sarah Rauchas talks about Propositional and Syllogistic Logic and its relevance in computation, and Moral Philosophy and its role in software development.
5.30 – 5.45pm: Nihilism and the death of God
Professor Ken Gemes, Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London
Can a secular society provide ultimate values that are capable of providing structure, and giving meaning, to our lives? With no external authority must we as individuals provide the grounding for or our own personal ultimate values or can we simply live free of all such values? And, in case we live without such values how can we be truly capable of affirming life?
5.45 – 6.30pm: Opportunity for individual meetings to find out more about University of London degrees available by distance learning.
6.30 – 6.45pm: Frankenstein on the couch: how literary critics help us explore our dreams, secrets and fears
Dr Sarah Barnsley – Programme Director of English, Goldsmiths, University of London
We all know the famous story of Victor Frankenstein and his Monster, but have you ever thought about why he created the Monster in the first place? This lecture will examine the motivations of Mary Shelley's best-known character through the eyes of different kinds of literary critics. Considering perspectives from psychoanalytical critics, to feminist critics, through to Marxist critics, not only will the lecture enrich understanding of Shelley's novel, it will show how literary criticism enriches understanding of human nature.
6.45 – 7.00pm: Alan Turing, mathematician, philosopher, computer scientist
Dr Sarah Rauchas – Programme Director of the Combined Degree Scheme, Goldsmiths, University of London
This year is the centenary of Turing’s birth. Turing is seen as the 'father of modern computing'. He took a strongly philosophical approach to things like 'what is intelligence' and 'what is computation' and 'how do you make an intelligent machine'. Sarah Rauchas talks about some of his contributions, which include the Turing Test (for artificial intelligence) and the Turing Machine (which is one of the most basic computational devices that can compute anything that is computable).
7.00 – 7.15pm Gandhi: Saint or politician?
Dr Sarah Ansari – Head of the History Department at Royal Holloway, University of London
Gandhi’s assassination in early 1948, less than six months after British India received its independence, sent shockwaves around the world. The brutality of his death contradicted very starkly with the message of non-violence and tolerance preached by him. Sarah’s talk will focus on Gandhi’s reputation as both ‘saint’ and ‘politician’, and how understanding both can help us to contextualise his role in the struggle for Indian freedom from colonial rule.
7.15pm – 8.00pm: Opportunity for individual meetings to find out more about University of London degrees available by distance learning