Fragment of thought on visiting Liverpool: number 2

12 Apr

In praise of ‘Philosophy in Pubs’

 After Only in England I revisited the painting I first went to the Walker to see; Daguerre’s Ruins of Holyrood Chapel. I’ve never lost the first sense of wonder that came to me on first seeing it half a generation ago, and it still touches me now.

A film crew on the street corner dominated our perceptions of Lark Lane as we walked down to Keith’s. That, and a sky precisely the colour of the painting I’d just seen …


… gave me a sense of history about the occasion.

So often in life the auguries mislead. But in this story, at least, they don’t. I”m still engaged with working out angles of understanding on the themes half-a-dozen people around a table raised in a couple of hours’ discussion.  Which puts this informal and open philosophical environment a mile ahead of most of the seminars I’ve ever seen within universities.

But for now, the point is this:

There’s a growing network of Philosophy in Pubs discussion groups, centred in Liverpool, but reaching southwards to Brighton, north to Scotland and westwards into Wales and Ireland.  They are bringing people together in a beautiful and important way. There should be more of them. Hopefully some of the vanishingly small number of readers of this blog would enjoy making something like that happen round their way.

Here’s the PiP website address.

Without attempting to question our world(s) we are poorer – often literally but always in understanding. Working out and developing ideas in isolation can be difficult for a world of reasons, whilst academia can be deeply hierarchical and conformist.  Philosophy in Pubs, from what I saw, manages to escape the straitjackets imposed by both milieu.

Just in case you didn’t see it before, here’s the website address. 


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