John Heil and Daniel Stoljar, both recently reviewed on 3:AM, will be taking part in a debate together in this year’s HowTheLightGetsIn philosophy and music festival. Together with figures from the worlds of science, politics, philosophy and culture they will be traveling to Hay-on-Wye to debate everything from the science of consciousness to nature of matter and discover which of today’s heresies will become the truths of tomorrow.
HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest philosophy festival, takes place over 10 days at the end of May, with a programme packed with over 500 thought-provoking debates, talks and courses aiming to bring big thinking back into public life. Other philosophers taking part this year include Hubert Dreyfus, Nancy Cartwright, Thomas Pogge, Margaret Boden and Ted Honderich.
Alongside this runs a programme of music, comedy and film Mr Scruff, Holly Burn, gypsy dance masters Molotov Jukebox, Sara Pascoe, DJ Andrew Weatherall, music pioneers Alexis Taylor and Felix Martin of Hot Chip fame, award winning songstress Phildel, Zen Hussies, Nish Kumar and hundreds more.
Other great speakers from outside the world of philosophy include scientists such as David Nutt, Laurence Krauss, Roger Penrose and Lee Smolin, politicians Michael Howard, Dianne Abbott and Hilary Benn, Sophie Fiennes, Owen Jones, Mike Figgis, Imogen Stubbs and Cory Doctorow.
Daniel and John’s event It’s An Immaterial World is part of this year’s theme, ‘Heresy, Truth and the Future’, through which the festival aims to take up views that might be seen as heretical in the current intellectual scene, bring them to the fore and put them to the test. In this case the topic under discussion is whether difficulties of the mind-body problem are down to misunderstanding not mind, but rather matter, or what it is for something to be physical.
John will also be giving a course, part of the new IAI Academy thread, on his ontology, and metaphysics of science, ‘The Universe As We Find It’. Over three lectures he will be discussing the fundamentals of his ontology and its relation to science, and how this builds up to dissolve many problems that have troubled philosophers for centuries.
The Academy itself aims to promote sharing the ideas whilst championing the perspectives of individual thinkers, rather than claiming to be able to provide any kind of objective insight. As well as courses on physics, psychiatry, feminism, economics and neuroscience, there will be sessions on global justice with Thomas Pogge, medical ethics with Janet Radcliffe Richards, and animal minds with Mark Rowlands.
We’ll be giving away tickets to all of John and Daniel’s events. For a chance to win just answer the following question:
Which controversial scientist will be joining John Heil and Daniel Stoljar in their debate at HowTheLightGetsIn?
Send your answers via an email headed ‘3:AM Competition’ to Emily at:
Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org before midnight on the 8th of May to be in with a chance to win.
The winners will be chosen at random from all correct entries. Good luck!
Check out our full programme of talks and debates, plus our fantastic line-up of music, comedy and film at www.howthelightgetsin.org
31st May – Debate – It’s An Immaterial World
We think we understand what the world is made of. Atoms and, we are now told, bosons quarks and leptons. Yet our theory of matter does not explain thought. Do we need a radically new model to explain how material things and immaterial thought are connected? American metaphysician John Heil, Biologist and author of The Science Delusion Rupert Sheldrake, and Australian philosopher of mind Daniel Stoljar think about thinking
31st May – Debate – Heraclitus’ Dream
From everyday objects to the stars, the world of things appears stable and fixed. Yet for quantum physics and the ancient philosopher Heraclitus nothing remains the same. Rather than a framework of things might the world be essentially fluid? Cambridge Professor Huw Price and theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli go in search of solidity with metaphysician Daniel Stoljar and philosopher of science Eleanor Knox.
1st June – Talk – Is Progress Possible?
Whitehead famously said western philosophy was simply a footnote to Plato. Can it actually make progress? Australian philosopher Daniel Stoljar presents the optimist’s compelling case.
1st June – Course – The Universe As We Find It
Didn’t science kill philosophy? By rethinking metaphysics, Washington University in St. Louis Professor John Heil uncovers why the greatest problems in philosophy and science may have been an illusion.
Part One: Why Metaphysics?
Are metaphysical ideas necessary for explaining what science really reveals?
Part Two: Truth and the Universe
Why should universal principles govern our world? Do we need a new way of thinking about cause and effect?
Part Three: The Big Questions
Have we been asking the wrong questions? Heil dissolves the grandest puzzles of philosophy.
First posted: Monday, May 5th, 2014.