This is the website/blog of Philosopher Stephen Law. Stephen is Provost of Centre for Inquiry UK, Reader in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London, and editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK. He has published several books (see sidebar). For school talks and media email: think-AT-royalinstitutephilosophy.org
Centre for Inquiry UK and Anomalistic Psychology
research Unit, Goldsmiths present:
Searching for Satan: Miscarriages of
memory, fractured families and Satanic panics
Discover how the unreliability of memory has
led to grave miscarriages of justice, including panics about Satanic abuse. Can
memories really be ‘recovered’ by therapists? To what extent can we rely on the
memories of witnesses in historic abuse cases? Some deeply disturbing cases
will be investigated.
6th June 2015
Venue: Room LG02 in the Professor Stuart Hall
Building (formerly the New Academic Building),
College, University of London
New Cross, London SE14 6NW
Find us: https://www.gold.ac.uk/find-us/
PLEASE NOTE VENUE IS NOT CONWAY HALL
Title: What people believe about memory that ain’t
Speakers: Prof Chris French & Dr James Ost
French is Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University
of London. He frequently appears
on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal and related claims.
He writes for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine. His most recent
book is Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring
Paranormal Belief and Experience.
Dr James Ost is a Reader in Applied Cognitive
Psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, UK.
His research focuses on the
inherently context-dependent nature of memory and remembering, focusing mainly
on false memories for real life events (childhood memories, sexual abuse,
terrorist attacks). He has advised police forces on interview
strategy, written expert reports on memory evidence, and has served as an
expert witness at court.
Surveys show that a large proportion of the general
public hold many beliefs about memory that are just plain wrong. Even more
worrying, so do psychotherapists, psychologists, and professionals involved in
legal services, a situation that can lead to miscarriages of justice. Chris
French and James Ost summarise our current understanding of the nature of
memory. (NB: This presentation includes a quiz for you to assess your own level
of understanding - so bring pen and paper!)"
A CONFERENCE FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC AT HEYTHROP
19th and 20th June 2015
Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington
Square, London W8 5HN (very close to Kensington High St. tube)
Funds for video-recording talks have been provided by
The Templeton Foundation.
This is a free, two-day
conference aimed at the general public. It makes accessible some of the exciting,
cutting edge work recently done in religious epistemology. All speakers are
leading figures in the field (two are flying in specially from the States).
Talks will be jargon-light
and non-technical, presenting new ideas and insights to help inform and
illuminate on-going public debate.
This event will appeal to
anyone with an interest in continuing public debates about the rationality of
religious belief (particularly post The
God Delusion). A-Level students are very welcome to attend. The talks will
be of particular interest to teachers, journalists, and other writers with an
interest in religion.
This conference is free to
attend, but it is likely to be very popular. We recommend you book your place
in advance. To book a place on either one or both days contact: email:firstname.lastname@example.org tel:
020 7795 4194/4163. Some single B&B accommodation is available £60 plus
Friday 19th June
10.30-11.00 Registration etc.
11.10-12.10John Cottingham: Detachment, Rationality, and
12.15-1.10 Lunch break
1.10-2.10Trent Dougherty: Divine Hiddenness and The
Problem of Evil
2.30-3.30Duncan Pritchard: Wittgenstein on Faith and
3.50-4.50 Stephen Law: How Might Religious Belief be
Saturday 20th June
10.30-11.30 Justin McBrayer: The Problem of Evil and
11.40-12.40Charity Anderson: Divine Hiddenness: Are
12.40-1.30 Lunch break
1.30-2.30 John Hawthorne: TBA
(meals are not provided)
The conference will be of
particular interest to those interested in the following questions:
·Should a religious belief be rejected if there is little
evidence in its support?
·Can we just know God exists, or that a particular religion is true, by direct revelation?
·If God exists, why doesn't he reveal himself more
·Is religious language used in such a way that questions about truths, evidence, and so on, are inappropriate?
·Does the problem of evil pose a significant threat to