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Faculty of Philosophy


Professor Alex Oliver gives the Mind Senior Research Fellow Lecture. This lecture explores reasons to talk about nothing, suggesting two quite different ways to do it, both used in the common saying ‘nothing comes from nothing’. The logical pitfalls in this territory will be illustrated using jokes in sources ranging from The Odyssey through medieval parodic sermons to Through the Looking Glass. But the topic is no laughing matter: philosophers from the pantheon — Descartes, Locke, Hume, Heidegger — have all been found guilty of mishandling ‘nothing’ by taking it to be a name of something peculiarly mysterious. The second part of the lecture examines whether this verdict is just.

This lecture is free and open to the public. There is no need to book.

Friday, 11 October, 2013 - 17:00 to 18:00
Event location: 
Little Hall, Sidgwick Avenue