CFI UK events at Oxford Literary Festival 2015 (March)
Saturday 21 March
Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience
2pm / Oxford Martin School: Lecture Theatre / £12
Psychology professor Christopher French explains why some people think they have been abducted by aliens or that they have seen a ghost. He looks at the reasons why belief in the paranormal has been reported in every known society since the dawn of time, and wonders whether there is any room for superstition in modern science. Reports of ghosts and alien encounters grab the headlines, but French says the science behind those claims can be even more fascinating.
French is professor of psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and co-author of Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience with Anna Stone, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of East London.
Sunday 22 March
Keith Ward and Stephen Law
The Evidence for God: The Case for the Existence of the Spiritual Dimension
4pm / Oxford Martin School: Seminar Room / £12
One of the UK’s bestselling authors on religion Professor Keith Ward talks religion and belief in God with well-known atheist and humanist writer Stephen Law.
In his latest book, The Evidence for God, Ward argues that there is a huge amount of evidence for a spiritual dimension to the world. He explores the arts, morality, philosophy, science, religion and personal experience to argue the presence of more than physical facts. Ward is regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus, University of Oxford, and a research fellow at Heythrop College, London. He has written many popular books on philosophy, religion and Christian theology, including The God Conclusion, Why There Almost Certainly is a God, and The Big Questions in Science and Religion.
Law is senior lecturer in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London. He is also a well-known atheist and humanist writer and blogger, as well as the author of many popular philosophy books including The Philosophy Gym, The Great Philosophers and, for children, The Complete Philosophy Files. He has debated a number of Christian apologists including William Lane Craig.
Monday 23rd March
Richard Layard and David Clark
Thrive: The Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies
2pm / Corpus Christi College / £12
Two leading experts on mental health Professors Richard Layard and David Clark argue that doing much more to help people recover from mental ill-health and to stay well would not only increase wellbeing but would also create massive savings for the economy. Layard and Clark have been major contributors to Britain becoming a world leader in psychological therapies, but they say that mental ill-health still causes more suffering in our society than physical illness, poverty or unemployment. They explore new effective therapies to mental illness and argue that, while the costs of mental illness are high, the cost of effective treatment is relatively low.
Layard is one of the world’s leading labour economists. As a member of the House of Lords, he was worked hard to raise the profile of mental illness. His book, Happiness, has been translated into 20 languages. Clark is professor of psychology at the University of Oxford and one of the world’s leading experts on cognitive behavioural therapy. Together, Layard and Clark were the main drivers behind the UK Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme.