Personal Identity and the Brain

Date:    Monday 2oth August 2018, 7.30pm
Venue: the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG

Our August speaker was Dr Stephen Burwood of the University of Hull Philosophy department who has been a long term supporter of the Humanists UK philosophers group and has spoken to HERHG twice before, on 24th May 2014 on “Is Science Possible without God?” and before that on 19th October 2009 on “The Problem of Evil”. This time Steve will be talking about “Personal Identity and the Brain”.
Steve said of his talk:
“The diachronic problem of personal identity is the problem of determining the identity of something over time: in our case, for example, it is expressed by the question, “What makes us the same person today as yesterday, or last year, or as ten years ago?” A popular answer nowadays is often formulated along the lines; same person = same brain. One can see the philosophical appeal of this. It gives voice to a widespread feeling that the brain plays a unique role in mindedness (paying due deference to the brain sciences) and, perhaps more importantly, neatly captures in one go both psychological and physical continuity (the two traditional approaches to resolving the problem). Fundamentally, this brain-is-self view favours psychological continuity as the principal criterion of self identity but gives this a materialist twist, thereby ensuring a form of physical continuity as well. Pared down to a simple syllogism, the argument appears to be as follows: I am my mind; my mind is—in some important sense—my brain; therefore, I am my brain. However, things are never quite so simple and there are several reasons why this is not a very satisfactory or satisfying answer.”

Has Market Capitalism Delivered?


Date:    Monday 16th July 2018, 7.30pm
Venue: the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG

May 2018 saw the bicentennial of the birth of the influential thinker Karl Marx whose books, including “Das Kapital”, have influenced the intellectual, economic and political history of the world since they were written in the mid-nineteenth century. Marx’s criticisms of what he called “capitalism” have seen renewed interest in western countries since the beginning of the financial crisis ten years ago. The leading Humanist Steven Pinker’s new book “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress” includes a defence of modern market capitalism as an important component in achieving Humanist objectives in the twenty-first century. Our June meeting was a discussion led by group chair John Hawkins on the relevance of Marx to contemporary Humanist discourse and asking the question “Has Market Capitalism Delivered?”

John said of his talk:
“I will give an outline of Karl Marx’s life and work, showing that whatever the failures of Capitalism of his time, he and Engels made their living by means of it, and go on to maintain that the Russian and Chinese Revolutions which to which their ideas contributed, caused more misery and mass starvation that could directly attributed to capitalism up to 1960. I will go on to argue that Paul Mason’s recent book ‘POSTCAPITALISM’ is a heroic failure because its impressive scholarship is not matched by sufficient analysis of the global, social and economic realities of our time and the world’s ‘political infrastructure’. However, we are greatly in Mason’s debt for an account of some of the major problems that face contemporary statesmen and women.”

Monday 18th June 2018 Meeting Cancelled

The June 2018 meeting was cancelled because of the England World Cup matched being played at the same time.

AGM and Soap Box Meeting







Date:     Monday 21st May 2018, 7.30pm
Venue:  the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG

Our May 2018 meeting began with a brief AGM to elect the executive committee for the next year and was followed by our usual soap box discussion where attendees raised issues relating to Humanism.

What value, if any, is there in retaining the monarchy?

Date:        Monday 16th April 2018, 7.30pm
Venue:    the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG

Our speaker for our April meeting was HERHG committee member Dr Lisa Whitehouse who made the case for the abolition of the monarchy:

“In light of the ‘Paradise Papers’ and the upcoming Royal wedding questions are being raised (yet again) about the role of the monarchy. While acknowledging the well rehearsed arguments both in favour of and against the abolition of the monarchy, this talk will focus on assessing the legitimacy and value of the British monarchy. Regardless of whether it reaffirms your view on the monarchy or causes you to reassess it, the hope is that this timely and topical presentation will, at the very least, provoke a lively discussion.”