Upcoming talks: Buddhism, Halloween, Blues, Stupidity..

I really am not sure what is wrong with me.. I resolved to not give any more talks Screen shot 2015-09-28 at 13.32.40
until the manuscript of The Circle of Stupid was completed. It isn’t (quite). And here I am – posting information about three upcoming talks I’m doing – on the 9th October in Swindon, the 26th of October here in Cheltenham and Friday 20th November in London.

On the 9th October, I’ll be at Swindon Philosophical Society, to give them a sneak preview of my new book’s material, when I talk about The Circle of Stupid: Ethics Beyond BeliefInfo about the event is here : https://swindonphilosophicalsociety.wordpress.com/about-2/ 

For the October 268h event – see the University publicity, or click HERE:

Dr David Webster will be presenting a public lecture with a Hallowe’en theme at the University of Gloucestershire on October 28. The free event at The Park campus is the latest in the University’s annual Public Lecture Series.

The Hallowe’en Lecture: Re-enchanting culture in a cynical world: Pagans, Satanists, Atheists, Fictional Religions and more, will explore issues from the secular adoption of Hallowe’en to emerging spiritual trends around the world.

Dr Webster said: “The lecture will consider whether these emerging trends can be seen as the means by which our cynical, suspicious and complex culture expresses its need for life to be something more than a drab series of repeated commercial transactions, culminating in pre-paid funeral plans.”

The event starts with registration and refreshments from 5pm. The lecture is from 6pm until 7pm. Please visit http://bit.ly/1Kx7y4f to book a place.

Then I’ll be spending the evening of November 20th at King’s College, London – with their Buddhism Research seminar series – on this topic:

Buddhism, Existentialism and The Blues: a meditation on the place of suffering in the intellectual imagination.

Buddhist thought is often characterised as excessively gloomy, spending its energy investigating the nature of dukkha, and the myriad ways in which both we and the universe we inhabit are flawed, imperfect and liable to get tangled in conditional processes with less than blissful outcomes.  Existentialist thought sees our impending death rush at us, through its haze of wine and Gauloises, with a terrible and absurd haste. The blues drags the wretched human condition over three to five minutes, from how I woke up this morning, to my beloved’s departure on the midnight train. This talk will seek to interweave these narratives such that we might find a common thread within them, and stumble along it towards something akin to the hope of human happiness and contentment.

Contact Pyi Phyo Kyaw on pyi.kyaw@kcl.ac.uk for time/location details!

Episode 7: Is Atheism a Religion?

Unorthodoxy with Witch Zaftig

Episode 7 of Unorthodoxy with Witch Zaftig asks: Is Atheism a Religion?

First, we discuss how atheism is defined, then examine how various groups and individuals with competing interests have amplified that definition.

One example provided is by Sam Harris, of the so-called “new atheist” movement, who advocates for a particular kind of atheistic “spirituality” in his book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion.

To refute this obfuscation of the words “atheism” and “spirituality” is scholar of religion David Webster in his book, Dispirited: How Contemporary Spirituality Makes Us Stupid, Selfish, and Unhappy. Webster argues that “spirituality” is a superficial and meaningless concept that modern society has adapted as a response to institutionalised religion, reflective of our current anti-religious sentiment in the western world. Webster claims that this all-too-broad and new-age concept is actually toxic, and no better or worse than fundamentalist religion.


Finally, we bring up the growing atheist…

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Cotswold Life? (and pending announcement)

It may amuse some to see my recent profile in a local magazine, more normally reserved for expensive property ads and equine news: click to see Cotswold_Life profile..

On another note – I’ve agreed to write a book which follows up some of the themes, and style, of Dispirited, but also looks to a focus on the Atheism/Theism debate, and the place of ethics…  More details soon…

Resilience & Melancholy – talking to Dr Robin James about her new book…

From my other site – may be of interest…

Philosophy & Religion Video Interviews

Dr David Webster from the Religion, Philosophy & Ethics team at the University of Gloucestershire in conversation with Dr Robin James about her new book Resilience & Melancholy: pop music, feminism, and neoliberalism 

71DZx1fVCZL Robin James is Associate Professor of Philosophy at UNC Charlotte. She is author of two books: Resilience & Melancholy: pop music, feminism, and neoliberalism  and The Conjectural 225._altBody: gender, race and the philosophy of music.Her work on feminism, race, contemporary continental philosophy, pop music, and sound studies has appeared in The New Inquiry, Noisey, SoundingOut!, Hypatia, differences, Contemporary Aesthetics, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. She is also a digital sound artist and musician, and often works as a member of citation:obsolete.

See Robin’s blog at http://www.its-her-factory.com/


Discover the RPE course : http://r-p-e.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-rpe-course.html 

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Mysticism, Abuse and Connections: An interview..

This is from our other blog – but may interest those here..

Philosophy & Religion Video Interviews

Dr David Webster from the Religion, Philosophy & Ethics team at the University of Gloucestershire asks Catherine Tomas, a DPhil student in Theology, at Christ Church, Oxford, about a recent paper she gave, where she examines the lives of Christian mystics, and makes comparisons with the analysis often given of abusive relationships:

Discover the RPE course : http://r-p-e.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-rpe-course.html 

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“Eugene Park Was Right: Academic Philosophy Is Failing Its Cosmopolitan Values”

Feminist Philosophers

Bharath Vallabha has a post here about philosophical traditions, cosmopolitanism, and universality.

“The power of philosophy is that, by raising abstract questions about human beings, it generates inquiry to which any person can contribute, irrespective of their local, contingent situation. Universality is intrinsic to philosophy, and most philosophy classes in the Anglo-American tradition are taught with this aim of universality firmly in mind. How can ignorance of non-Western philosophy be compatible with this universal impulse of philosophy? How can Anglo-American philosophers claim to seek universal philosophical truths and concede that they are only aware of the Western philosophical tradition?”

“If most Anglo-American philosophers have “no opinion at all about non-Western philosophy because they are simply ignorant of it,” then in what sense can they speak about philosophy itself, rather than just about Western philosophy?”

“So why are most Anglo-American philosophers content to just continue the debates they inherited from their teachers…

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