Programme

Monday - Do You Believe The Facts Or The Myth?

  • When?
  • 4th Feb, 7:30PM
  • Where?
  • Friends Meeting House, St Giles
  • With?
  • Stephen Law and Miguel Farias

A discussion about belief. Humans believe in many different things, but what do we prefer? The science and facts, or stories and myths? Why are our minds inclined this way? And if we do prefer myth over fact, how can we change the nature of our belief? Philosopher Dr Stephen Law, author of ‘Believing Bullshit’, and Experimental Psychologist of Belief, Dr Miguel Farias, will present their ideas about these questions and discuss their thoughts. Audience questions are also welcome!

Tuesday – The Mind and it’s Stories

  • When?
  • 25th Feb, 7:30PM
  • Where?
  • Oxford Town Hall
  • With?
  • Professor Gregory Currie

Gregory Currie is a professor of Philosophy at the University of York who has recently published a book on ‘Narratives and Narrators: A Philosophy of Stories’ is to give a talk about ‘The Mind and Its Stories’Here are two puzzles about human beings. First, they spend a great deal of time thinking about things they know didn’t and won’t happen and about people who they know don’t exist. Why? That’s the problem of fictional stories. Secondly, they spend no time inventing fictional scientific theories, or legal systems, or recipes, instead their fictions are always narratives, and almost always narratives of people or creatures with minds like people. Why? That’s the problem of fictional stories. Discussing these two problems will give us an insight into our psychological present and our evolutionary past. I’ll also ask whether our taste for stories distorts our view of the worlds.

Wednesday – Greek Myth and Modern Culture (with Skeptics in the Pub)

  • When?
  • 26th Feb, 7:30PM
  • Where?
  • The Wig and Pen Pub
  • With?
  • Natalie Haynes

Greek Myth and Modern Culture: how Oedipus, Aeneas and Medea have changed our lives- an event with Natalie Haynes and Skeptics in the Pub Oxford.Greek Myth provides the material for tragedy, epic and comedy in the ancient world. In turn, Greek tragedy has shaped drama and fiction ever since – from opera to soap opera, and from murder mysteries to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Our high culture and pop culture owe a great deal to Homer, Euripides and the rest. Come and find out how soap writers pilfer their stories from Aeschylus, and how Greek heroes have shaped our fictional world.About Natalie Haynes:
English comedian, Natalie Haynes has performed several live shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and across the country. Natalie studied Classics at Cambridge University, developing a keen interest in Ancient history, and is the author of ‘The Ancient Guide to Modern Life’, published in 2010.

About Skeptics in the Pub:
Skeptics in the Pub are a group of like-minded people who meet in a pub once a month to drink and talk skepticism and rationality. The organizers often provide fantastic speakers who cover topics from medicine to religion.

Thursday – Myth and Philosophy

  • When?
  • 27th Feb, 7:00PM
  • Where?
  • Wesley Memorial Church
  • With?
  • A.C. Grayling

A lecture of Mythology and Philosophy to take place in the main hall of the Wesley Memorial Church. Mythologies are rich in philosophical insight and may embody some of mankind’s earliest philosophical reflection. This will be a 40 minute talk followed by a 20 minute Question and Answer session. A. C. Grayling is the Master of the New College of the Humanities and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford. Until 2011 he was Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has written and edited over thirty books on philosophy and other subjects, among his most recent are “The Good Book”, “Ideas That Matter”, “Liberty in the Age of Terror” and “To Set Prometheus Free”.

Friday – Future Discoveries

  • When?
  • 28th Feb, 7:30PM
  • Where?
  • Friends Meeting House, St Giles
  • With?
  • Anders Sandberg

Think Week welcomes Anders Sandberg from the Future of Humanity Institute to discuss future discoveries.We have good reasons to expect that in the future we will know vastly more than today about the world. Yet, can we say anything about *what* we will discover and how it will change our worldview? What technologies can we predict? Can we say anything about where the next Einstein will occur?
Anders Sandberg is a James Martin Research Fellow at the FHI, a science debater, futurist, transhumanist, computational neuroscientist and author. His research focusses on the societal and ethical issues surrounding human enhancement and new technology, as well as on assessing the capabilities and underlying science of future technologies. He has worked on cognitive enhancement, on a technical roadmap for whole brain emulation, on neuroethics, and on global catastrophic risks.

A self-experimentalist, he has admitted to using cognitive enhancers such as modafinil and to have carried out sequencing of his own genome, whose findings he is open to sharing.

Saturday – Saturday Symposium: A day of wonder, inspiration, poetry, and stories

  • When?
  • 1st March, 10AM
  • Where?
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre, Oxford
  • With?
  • Various

After last year’s successful all-day symposium, we have decided to hold another one! Join us for a day of workshops, poetry and story telling as we explore the power behind myths and traditional stories. The day is open to all who are interested in how stories affect our lives, and is designed to appeal to kids from 7 to 70+!

Workshop on stories, philosophy for children, and myths in contemporary society

We begin the day with a set of workshops run by the folks at Camp Quest. Amidst activities such as ‘evolve your own mythical creature’ and summer-camp style activities designed to promote critical thinking, we will look at how myths, fairy tales, and traditional stories convey ethics and morals.

Children have their own innate sense of morality. In a session titled “Myths and Fairy stories: Do Adults get the point?”, we’ll use examples to look at how young people engage with these stories and how the discipline of “Philosophy for Children” works with this.

Many cultures still pass on traditional stories. But are they relevant in an age where technology dominates our lives and the lives of our kids? In another session, we’ll use an old folk myth from South-East Europe in which the month of March is associated with Granny Marta – the only sister of the other 11 months of the year to ask if we can ‘read’ contemporary meaning into traditional stories – and what they say about the ability of human societies from all times to pack knowledge into various forms of metaphors and allegories. This short workshop will also show young and old participants how to make MARTENITSA – a small tinsel to great Granny Marta.

Panel Discussion: “That feeling of Wonder”

After a short lunch break, participants can engage with a panel of non-religious and religious speakers who will lead a discussion on where we find our inspiration. What gives you that feeling of wonder?

Andrew Copson (Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association), Liz Rothschild (Founder of the Westmill Woodland Burial Grounds), Dr. Alison Murdoch (Founding Director of the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom).

Poetry, stories and an open mic session

Interspersed throughout the day we will have poetry readings on the theme of “Myth and Discovery”, and finally we will open the session to all participants who fancy sharing a story or reading. Led by two members of Oxford Humanists who will open the session, audience members will have a chance to share their favourite myths, traditional stories, tales of famous or not-so-famous discoveries, or readings that have inspired them.

Refreshments will be available throughout the day. Participants are welcome to join us for whichever session inspires them the most, but we hope you will come for the whole day! This is the prefect round-up of a week examining how narratives, creativity and wonder still infuse our lives in an age where technology dominates. But don’t forget a very special session of the Oxford Sunday Assembly the following day. Together, these two events will make for a most brilliant and inspirational weekend!

10:00am – The Power of Stories with Camp Quest

12:00pm – Poetry reading

12:20pm – Informal light lunch

1:00pm – “That Feeling of Wonder” – Interfaith discussion on where we find inspiration.

2:10pm – Poetry reading

2:30pm – Story Telling and open mic until they kick us out!

Time slots in the open mic will be 5-7mins for stories, 2-3mins for readings. Can you inspire us in under 10 mins?
For more details or to register intent to participate, write to us at contact@thinkweek.co.uk.

Sunday – Sunday Assembly

  • When?
  • 2nd March, 11AM
  • Where?
  • Old Firestation, Oxford
  • With?
  • The Sunday Assembly

A special Sunday Assembly to celebrate the wonders of Myth and Discovery! Sunday Assembly Oxford is a godless congregation that is an exuberant celebration of life. People attend to sing great songs, hear inspiring talks, listen to interesting readings and, everyone’s favourite, have a cup of tea and slice of cake at the end.