This topic will examine how philosophical thought has developed over time regarding belief in God, the existence of God, and the shifting nature of belief due to the rise of secularism. Some of the issues that will be discussed include: Is there is a moral necessity for faith? Does secular humanism fill the faith gap? Why is religion so pervasive? The thoughts of philosophers of the Enlightenment start this journey from the early 17th century which progresses through to current times. Descartes, Leibniz, Paley, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Taylor are the key players in the development of western philosophical thought on religion. The presentation will conclude with the question “Will the religious inherit the earth?”
Gary Dowling is a mature age student at Macquarie University studying philosophy and politics. Gary has lectured at the Philosophy Forum and the University of the Third Age on philosophy and is a founding member of the Port Macquarie Philosophy Forum.
Sunday 24th May 2020
The topic: Climate Change and Individual Responsibility
What moral obligations do individuals have to help reduce emissions in the face of climate change? Do individuals have strong reasons to 'do their part,' even though any one individual will make little or no difference? Or does the fact that no single individual can make much difference mean that we should look only to large-scale governmental action? We'll look at the logic of collective action through the lenses of the Prisoner's Dilemma, Kant's ethical framework, and recent insights from utilitarianism. I'll argue that in fact, individuals do have strong moral reasons to do their part to reduce emissions and combat climate change.
Brian Hedden is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sydney. Before that, he was a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a junior research fellow at Oxford. His main research concerns rational belief and rational decision-making, and he also has interests in ethics, political philosophy, and law. He is the author of Reasons without Persons: Rationality, Identity and Time (2015).