What’s it all about? A proposal for ‘the rules of the game’.

After our first session in December, we thought it would be sensible to go ‘back to basics’ about how we would like this community group to function. As a starting point, we would like to propose the follow ‘rules’ as a framework for the operation of the group. Since we also see the group as democratic, we would like to use the next meeting on Wednesday 13 January to discuss them further.

The first rule of THINK

1. Everyone has the right to express a view with the expectation of being treated with respect.

That is to say, you should be free to express a view, even if it is not your own, in order to further the conversation. You should not have to contend with aggression or belittling from anyone else. Though a view can be more or less thought through, they are not worthless.

The second rule of THINK:

2. Everyone has the right to speak but this must be fair. For this reason, everyone must stick to the mediation method, and express their interest to speak to the mediator, who may even keep time. People should avoid heading off topic and keep anecdotes relevant.

This is all self-evident for most, treat people with respect. This will also help to ensure everyone is able to take part.

The third rule of THINK:

3. The aim of a discussion is not to “win” or make someone agree with you of what is “right”, but about the process of thinking and engaging with the views of others (including long dead philosophers). All experiences and views are welcome so long as you are willing to discuss and explore them in an open minded way.

We are interested in exploring an idea, and though some choose to do this with competitive debating, other groups exist for this (if this interests you, please contact the debating groups in Leeds)

To understand the motivations behind the Philosophy in Pubs movement from a more eloquent source, please see the About section of the Philosophy in Pubs website.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday 13 January.

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Our first meeting – the trolley problem

We were reasonably successful in attracting people to the first meeting of THINK on Wednesday 9 December (thanks mainly to the HEART centre publicity). Thanks to all those who turned up, especially Phil and Ian from the TAIL PiPs group, your support was much appreciated.

Our discussion was on the so called ‘trolley problem’, a seemingly academic and pointless exercise given how unlikely it is to ever have to make a decision of that nature and the unlikelihood of a long internal or external philosophical debate occurring on noticing an out of control tram racing out of control toward some hapless work men.

The expected positions were discussed, from the utilitarian position of saving as many lives as possible to the view that the taking of any human life is immoral and should be avoided at all costs, that it is essentially a slippery slope.

We discussed the application to everyday life, from pilots to smart cars, where the consideration of passenger and pedestrian safety must be weighed up. This question is also important when considering the society we live in and how needs are weighed up.

We hope to see you all soon at our next meeting on Wednesday 13 January (details of the topic for discussion will follow shortly).