Sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy

The Royal Institute’s charitable mission is to educate the public in philosophy, and they do this by putting on public events (lectures, debates, and discussions), publishing books and journals, funding philosophy courses in schools for children and adults, sponsoring conferences, funding postgrads, working in prisons, establishing professorships, and much else besides. The institute sponsors public philosophy events all over the country and you can find details of the sponsored events at Stirling below.

Whatever we know, there is more: the Cyborg Enhancement of Human Experience

What would it be like to have an extra sense for experiencing the world, something in addition to the usual biological endowment of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste?

And what would it be like to have a piece of intelligently designed technology physically, permanently and intimately anchored to your body that gave you that extra sense? How would that change the way you encounter, remember and think about reality?

Liviu Babitz can tell you, because for well over a year now he has been a real, living cyborg, a technologically enhanced human being. Liviu’s sensory capacities have been augmented by the North Sense, an artificial exo-sense that is fixed onto the upper part of his chest, and that enables him to sense – to experience, not merely to detect – the magnetic field of the planet, and this to perceive directly where north is.

Liviu will be joined by Professor Michael Wheeler (Philosophy, University of Stirling) and Dr Alisa Mandrigin (Anniversary Research Fellow in Psychology and Philosophy, University of Stirling). Everyone is welcome and there will be time to ask questions and join in the discussion. So come along and glimpse our species’ future.

Liviu Babitz is the co-founder of Cyborg Nest, the world’s leading company selling intelligently designed senses. In his previous role, Liviu was the Chief Operating Officer of Videre est Credere, lived undercover and built undercover networks of people who use technology to document human rights violations in places where no one has access.

Impartiality in Journalism: A philosophical Approach Public Lecture by Jonathan Coffey, BBC Panorama

Journalism can be a tawdry old business, but good journalism is governed by morally significant
and philosophically challenging normative ideas such as the public interest and impartiality. These concepts are part of the everyday language of newsrooms and big journalistic organisations. They’re also ubiquitous in journalistic codes of conduct, such as the Ofcom code and the BBC’s own Editorial Guidelines.

And yet, many journalists would probably struggle to articulate a philosophically thorough and coherent account of what these important concepts mean. In today’s increasingly fractious and factually unreliable public space, thinking about the practical meaning of impartiality has become more urgent. Some journalists say it’s an anachronistic concept that’s past its sell-by date.

For the BBC, by contrast, impartiality is fundamental – part of the bedrock of what BBC journalism is supposed to do. So what is impartiality in journalism?

Is it valuable? And if it is, how should journalists go about trying to satisfy its demands?

In this presentation, BBC Panorama journalist Jonathan Coffey explains some of the uncertainties and challenges that face journalists who strive to be impartial. He’ll explore the relationship between the values of impartiality and fairness, and he’ll argue for an intellectual discipline or ethic that he calls radical open-mindedness. Jonathan will also ask what role moral criteria can or should play in impartial journalism and whether journalism that offers highly specified and controversial answers to moral questions can be impartial.

The event features a talk by Jonathan Coffey, with discussion led by Professor. Rowan Cruft

Jonathan Coffey is an investigative producer for the BBC’s Panorama programme. His recent films include investigations into Donald Trump’s treatment of women, the repression of the political opposition in Putin’s Russia, and the Paradise Papers. In 2011, Jonathan helped the BBC obtain the 250,000 US embassy cables initially leaked to WikiLeaks, and in 2016, he was one of the winners of the Investigation of the Year category at the British Journalism Awards for his work on the series of revelations known as the Panama Papers. Jonathan has written for The Wagner Journal, The Spectator, and Standpoint magazine, and has also presented several documentaries for BBC Radio 3 – the latest being a 45-minute exploration of the FBI’s interest in the composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. Jonathan is currently embarked on a series of talks on the subject of impartiality. This reflects his ongoing interest in the future of broadcasting and new possibilities for investigative journalism presented by the increasing sway of identity politics, competing ideas of what counts as “fake news”, and the so-called “culture wars”.

Professor Rowan Cruft’s research is on the philosophical foundations of rights. He has worked on the role of the media in shaping a democratic public sphere in which citizens can participate as equals, and he was an invited expert at the 2012 Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press.